Twelve-point Development Plan for Africa
6/12/2012 10:44:42 AM -
'We face neither east nor west; we face forward'; these were the ambitious words of Dr Kwame Nkrumah, one of the greatest leaders Africa has ever had. Disappointingly, we (Africans) currently face neither east, west nor forward; we face backward.
It has very convincingly been established that the major factors impeding the economic progress or development of the African continent are; leadership incompetence resulting in lack of effective economic policies; out-dated ideologies and empty rhetorics; high rate of illiteracy; over-reliance on foreign aid; non-existence of quality essential infrastructure; lack of focus on the manufacturing sector and failure to produce and trade in more consumer goods; rapid or uncontrolled increase in population; brain drain; political, tribal or civil unrest; unfounded beliefs and outmoded traditions; and of course greed and the prevalence of nepotism and corruption.
This means that the underdevelopment of African nations is a man-made catastrophe, for which man-made, not supernatural solution, is required. To conceive that with just prayer and fasting the continent can achieve socio-economic development is thus not only a supreme religious intoxication and hallucination, but an abuse of religion and in fact, an embarrassment to ones object of worship.
What actually beats one's imagination is the fact that many, if not most, of the so called leaders in Africa, lived and schooled in western countries, and are obviously very much aware of how things are properly managed or done in these places; yet they shamefully fail to put into practice, the good leadership skills, development plans and economic policies witnessed in these advanced nations, when they become leaders. Many analysts are now compelled to ask if there are any decent and reliable politicians in African countries.
Africa, as a matter of fact, can and must employ modern or contemporary means to achieve radical socio-economic success. For the development of African countries to materialize, each of the continent's leaders and would-be leaders must uphold and be held to the following twelve commandments or commitments:
1. Thou shall avoid out-dated and/or unrealistic ideologies, empty rhetorics, egotism and greed; and exhibit leadership competence.
2. Thou shall not misuse, embezzle, or temper in any unlawful way with the revenue and property of the nation; and avoid over-reliance on foreign aid.
3. Thou shall encourage education by providing superior but affordable educational system, institutions and facilities.
4. Thou shall alleviate poverty and discourage brain drain by generating jobs through the application of effective economic policies such as the establishment of more manufacturing firms and the mass production of consumer goods. To this end, respective factories should be established in areas where agricultural produce and other raw materials like cocoa, cotton, coconuts, tomatoes, coffee, gold, diamond, bauxite, and timber abound, to convert a considerable percentage of these resources into finished products.
5. Thou shall avoid the over-dependence on foreign, particularly European and American manufactured products. To this end, the leader must ensure that only a fraction of manufactured products used in their country is imported from western countries, and that more finished goods than raw materials are exported for revenue.
6. Thou shall promote decentralization and provide quality essential infrastructure and services such as, hospitals and health facilities to enhance good health and the life-span of the people; transport facilities, particularly roads, railways, airports and seaports for ease of movement; electricity, ideally solar electricity to enhance not only the social life of the people but also industrial development; forensic equipment to help tackle crimes; and IT facilities to promote and catch up with contemporary technology.
7. Thou shall effectively monitor the demography of the nation, and appropriately control and make the necessary provision or plan for future population increase.
8. Thou shall respect political opponents and carry through projects initiated by immediate past governments unless it is proven beyond all reasonable doubt that the project(s), if completed, will not be in the interest of the people.
9. Thou shall be tough on heinous crimes like murder, armed robbery, human and drug trafficking, rape, embezzlement of state funds, tax evasion, and other colossal thefts and crimes.
10. Thou shall promote peace by uniting all tribes and ethnic groups, not dividing them; and doing away with nepotism, tribalism and ethnocentrism.
11. Thou shall discourage superstitious beliefs such as the belief in witchcraft, and outmoded traditions like female circumcision, by educating the people and severely punishing zealous promoters of such preposterous beliefs and practices.
12. Thou shall respect the constitution of the nation, ensure transparency, closely monitor and regulate the activities of people in positions of authority, punish wrongdoing and reward goodness, and avoid using violent or unfair means to attain or retain political power. To this end, state institutions or establishments should regularly be visited by credible independent auditors; there should be frequent publication of document(s) detailing the distribution of the national cake at district, municipal, state and/or regional levels, as well as the required and completed activities of political elites in their constituencies, districts, states or regions; and the independence of the electoral commission must be guaranteed.
Until present and future African leaders commit to implement this twelve-point development plan, the continent will continue to wallow in the thick mud of underdevelopment till thy kingdom come. This twelve-point development plan should thus be African leaders' covenant with the people; and failure to abide by them should result in their impeachment and forced resignation.
Emmanuel Sarpong Owusu-Ansah (Black Power) is an Investigative Journalist, a researcher and the author of Fourth Phase of Enslavement (2011) and In My End is My Beginning (2012). He may be contacted via email (email@example.com).