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Can Africa stand on its own two feet? Part 2

SPEAKING OUT: Ghana's President Nana Akufo-Addo recently spoke on Africa’s investment dependency (Photo credit: PA)

ACCORDING TO McKinsey, since the 2008 financial crisis, global investment rates have plummeted leaving a “shortfall of…$350 billion”.

McKinsey offered a stark warning to African nations, stating that, “the size of the gap triples when we compare current investment against what would be required to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which are critical for the future of undersupplied regions such as Africa”. So, it would seem Africa is in a rather compromising position.

To emphasise this point further, consider the fact that towards the end of 2015, the European Investment Bank announced a potential “75million” Euros for Senegal to fund its “Electricity Modernisation” project.

This deal has been signed. Similarly, in November 2017, the European Investment Bank announced further infrastructure investment to improve “transport routes in Madagascar” and “35 million” euros to help provide cleaner water to “one million people” in Cote d'Ivoire. As a side note, France’s French Development Agency has contributed “co-financing” to Cote d'Ivoire water project.

On the other hand, national Sovereign Wealth Funds (GSWF) have sprung up in nations such as Nigeria, Ghana, Angola Senegal and various others. GSWF are funds that have been pooled from government surpluses that are then used to invest domestically or abroad in hope of reaping returns. In years to come this will be a vital tool for African nations to invest amongst themselves.

Should self-sufficiency ever materialise, will ‘independence’ create a new respectable image for Africa? Well that would depend on the conduct of African nations. America has the biggest economy in the world and has been relatively self-sufficient for some time.

Historically, America has invaded Somalia, Grenada, The Dominican Republic, The Philippines, Haiti, Cuba (multiple times before Castro took power), Vietnam, Iraq (twice), Afghanistan, China during the boxer rebellion, landed forces in Russia during the Bolshevik revolution, orchestrated and supported coups in Guatemala, The Congo, Indonesia (which killed 500,000 people), bombed Yemen, Libya, Pakistan, Laos, Cambodia, Serbia, Sudan and most notably, was complicit and supported open killings and abductions by Southern cone regimes during Operation Condor.

To no surprise, America has a tarnished reputation. Independence to act preponderantly on the global scene or even domestically does not guarantee a good image. African nations must do well by its people and international counterparts to shake off its negative image. Having a thriving middle class will help but ultimately the conduct at all levels of society will have the biggest impact.

However, to answer the question in a blunter manner, Africa’s image transformation will face stiff opposition. A powerful Africa may choose to allow war criminals to walk around freely instead of handing them over to be tried by The Hague. For some, Africa is an easy target for international jurisprudence to make examples out of war lords, whilst those responsible for the destruction of Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan and various other nations are free to roam the earth.

Should African countries choose to not play ball with western hypocrisy, in the same light as Russia and China, it too will have its image besmirched in the media on a grand scale. In other words, facets of Africa’s image is inexorably bound to how well it concurs with western nations and the international community.

Opposition to LGBT+ community, relative acceptance of female genital mutilation (FGM), witchcraft and religious or spiritual opposition to ‘mental health’ are additional areas that may bring western justification to admonish Africa’s image.

Mental health in particular, which in some languages does not have an equal translation, is one area that some African societies would explain through spiritual and religious notions. A child diagnosed with autism in Africa may be perceived by some as having a spiritual issue or being a victim of ‘juju’.

So, whilst Africa seeks financial independence from the west, we also need to think about the ontological and conceptual yoke that blurs the lines of morality and keeps us in orbit of western thinking.

Inevitably, opponents of this article will point to the staggering child poverty level of the U.S. and Britain and ask for better coverage of Africa in the name of being ‘pro black’ or ‘Pan Africanism’. Fine. When you have finished pointing, observe the millions that are suffering back in Africa and let’s continue talking about reality.

In direct response to the title, while speeches are being made, western cheques are being cashed by African nations.

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