By Lala Touray
Dear Africans, liberate Africa.
With all its many resources, how is the richest continent in the world still the poorest?
Due to rampant corruption, most African leaders, if not all, fail to meet their people’s expectations and the needs of their various nations. Corruption, a worldwide problem, is deeply rooted in the hearts of African leaders. Thus, it has immensely contributed to the continents plight.
In developing African countries like The Gambia, corruption is the order of the day. Both government officials and the private sector have given in to taking bribes. In most cases, the police are said to be the most corrupt. But mind you, the little change taken as bribe by police officers is nothing compared to the thousands taken by top government officials. This is an issue you see nobody talking about. Even if they are talked about, they are not given much relevance. Everybody is talking about the police officer who accepts D25 bribes.
The problem here is not about awareness. Africans are fully aware of the fact that corruption is one of the main reasons why Africa is where it’s. The problem is that our laws are too lenient, because of this a lot of people especially rich ones are able to get away with corruption.
In Africa, justice is only for the rich privileged people. Well in most cases. This is when you start to wonder what bodies like the civil society are doing. CSO’s in most African countries do not function effectively like they are expected/supposed to. This is because a lot of African countries have dictators as leaders. This being the case, they tend to just keep quiet and do nothing for fear of losing their lives or going into exile.
The natural resources we brag about are unevenly distributed among African countries and African leaders are still not able to come up with strategic ways to redistribute resources with African nations. Trade and distribution of resources between African countries will help reduce the high rate of dependency for the supply of goods and services by African nations on the West.
Unlike most people, Africa I believe isn’t poor. Properly manage its resources, do away with corruption, bad leadership and nepotism and you’ll be surprise to see how fast transformation will take place.
In order for African countries to generate revenue and also decrease the rate of unemployment, African investors should be given the chance to invest in sectors vital for the continent’s economic growth. So many years after colonial era and our resources are still exploited by foreign investors who use us for all their “donkey” labour work, paying small amount of money for taxes.
Although industrialization can boost Africa’s rapid economic development, African leaders haven’t made any promising efforts to promote industrialization or support local industries. Without support, our local industries can never survive international competition.
Truth is, we are our own problem. We (Africans) would rather buy an MK bag than a locally made wax bag. We prefer to wear/use western products over ours even though ours are cheaper. All in the name of “jayy amm class” and civilization. Lolu nak moi banj sah bopa deaga.
We demand for respect when we don’t respect ourselves. We give more importance to foreigners even in our own countries.
We need to put policies in place that’ll put Africa, Africans, and African entrepreneurs FIRST. We cannot demand for the respect from the West as long as they feeding us, using our countries as dump sites, and giving us foreign aid. Come to think of it, if their intention is to really help Africa why give us aid that’ll generate them more money?
Why not introduce fair trade policies which will eventually give Africa the chance to trade with western nations, FAIRLY?
This will grow Africa’s economy faster than foreign aid will.
Africans, wake up!
Lala Touray is studying law at the University of The Gambia