Africa Beyond Western Aid” traditionally explains an Africa being able to stand solely on its own economically; fully dependent on itself financially without having to fall on the charitable shoulders of other continents. Even in any exception, Africa should rather engage with other countries competitively through trade, investment and political corporation to enhance peaceful global coexistence among all nations. This has become highly imperative at the juncture of the Covid-19 pandemic where there is a profound need for the continent to be self-sufficient, self-reliant and independent from all external assistant most importantly financial, to cope with the lockdown and border closure entailment.
The President of Ghana; His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo in his speech at the 61st Independence Day, said Ghana, as well as all African countries, can easily achieve this collective goal by tapping into opportunities and religiously exploiting all-natural and human resources at their disposal to their benefit. He said “All we need is a clear strategy and a firm collective will to pursue this goal, by harnessing and deploying our resources efficiently and effectively, and embracing a discipline and change in mindset and attitudes that will enable us to do things differently and in a better way” (Ghana Beyond Aid Charter and Strategy Document, 2018). This has necessitated the strengthening of several values to foster achievement of this national, collective, or continental goal such as, attitudinal change, hard work, dedication, integrity, selflessness and punctuality at workplaces.
African countries are highly dependent on foreign aid from Western countries and International Monitoring Fund (IMF). They borrow from countries all over the world to assist in developmental projects. This does not speak well of a continent with abundant natural resources, which majority of its countries are Third-World, and are unabatedly struggling to rise beyond the horizon of the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) indicated in the United Nations Development Programme data publication (UNDP, 2019). This then requires the Continent strengthening its internal structures such as total paradigm shift of mind-set of nationals toward each other; both continental and in the diaspora. Africa as a nation, is capable of feeding on its internally mobilised resources required for absolute development without having to wholly depend on external aid.
The Africa beyond Western Aid initiative is actually a national agenda instead of a government agenda. That means its achievement should entail collective effort of all citizens across the continent instead of leaving it on the shoulders of governments. Every single individual living on the continent or across the diaspora has a role to play and must contribute towards materializing this goal. Also, the paradigm should focus on values, mind-set and attitudinal change that will create enabling atmosphere essential for development, instead of focusing on list of projects that a government must execute. Thus, individual citizens must see themselves as change-makers who wills the power to create a continent of their choice, instead of otherwise. This is just as virtual as the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063 entitled “The Africa We Want”.
Traditionally, when we talk of development as a continent, lot of people conceive the perception of governments constructing roads and building factories. Africa beyond Western Aid hold the view that, if we as citizens or nationals of the continent creates enabling environment necessary for sociocultural and politico-economical progression, the continent will be left with no other alternative than to excel in all shades of development. This will ultimately pave way for the substantive development we seek, such as construction of roads, buildings, factories, schools, and advancement in areas like governance, finance, security, entertainment, manufacturing, business, agriculture and health; just to mention a few.
An Africa beyond Western aid is a concrete dream to pursue by Africans especially at this juncture of Covid-19 global pandemic which has necessitated the need for countries and regions to adapt, improvise, and adopt new ways of sustainability in all mannerism, as long as it is in the right direction. This has the confidence and assurance to liberate Africa from the generational shackles of financial dependency on other continents such as Europe, North America and Asia. This agenda will consequently seek for avenues to generate funds internally to support economic advancement through overall change in citizens’ attitude towards each other and the nation. In this light, the continent will no more wait upon funds externally to initiate developmental projects but rather, we are able to be our own economic pathfinders and pacesetters in progress. Our success does not have to rely on the timelines of donor countries and co-operations coupled with gigantic interest rates which rather inevitably set the country into economic slavery.
Moreover, due to over-dependency on other countries and bodies like IMF, African countries have long been casted under the spell of insufficiency. Africans consider everything outside the continent as pure and economically holy and lack knowledge of our potentials, abilities, capabilities and creative dexterity. With the advent of Africa Beyond Western Aid agenda, we are going to tap into our available natural, capital and human resources to project the continent to a higher height of development. The continent will primarily depend on its resources for easy, prompt and increased productivity. This agenda will coach both citizens and government to tap into other opportunities available on the continent necessary for development by embarking on nation-wide attitudinal change in human resource to increase domestic productivity.
Again, the Africa beyond Western aid initiative which seek to harness individual citizen’s effort towards achievement of collective goal, will go a long way enabling citizens to actively participate in development. This is because, the agenda is a collective one and can be achieved by commitment and patriotic attitude and values of people. Citizens will now see themselves as change makers who are entrusted with the toolbox of hard work to engineer the continent into economic freedom. We as collective citizens of the continent are now the stakeholders and partners obliged to invest our moral values such as punctuality and integrity in all spheres of our everyday endeavour. This also means the negligence or failure of this initiative will be consequential, while its success, will be enjoyed by all.
Also, the pursuance of this agenda, if successful, which I believe it will, shall crown Africa with a continental Integrity, respect and reverence it deserve as it will no more be considered a ‘parasitic’ one who only hope to feed on the financial charity of Western countries but rather, being able to combine efforts and develop domestically. We will focus more on increasing our Internally Generated Fund (IGF) in each individual country within the continent to finance projects without having to depend on or seek aid from other nations.
Finally, Africa’s international relations will become solid, competitive and enviable such as the case of Europe, Asia and America. The continent will have a different outlook outside its border lines and high rates of economic, social and political corporation with other continents will surge beyond comprehension. This is because, when we are able to take care of ourselves as a nation, we show a promising future and other nations will seek to associate themselves to us for financial and social partnership in benevolence of all.
RICHARD KWAKU TETTEH ASUMAH
YOUTH AND PAN-AFRICAN ACTIVIST
Ghana Beyond Aid Charter and Strategy Document.(2018).