Chief Emeka Anyoaku, a former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, last Wednesday bemoaned the fact that far from growing, Africa's economy had shrunk drastically, with sub-Saharan Africa accounting for just one to five percent, in terms of international trade.
He said about 148 billion Dollars 'leave the continent' each year due to corruption and that apart from South Africa, there were no major industries on the continent, adding African economy just revolves around agriculture and mining.
Chief Anyoaku, who is currently the International President of the World-wide Fund for Nature, based in Switzerland, expressed these concerns at the opening of the Seventh series of the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Lectures at the University of Cape Coast (UCC). The three-day lectures, was under the theme 'The condition of Africa: A Cramp In The Will.'
The lectures that were instituted by the UCC in 1974 and inaugurated in 1976, were dedicated to the memory of Ghana's first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah. It was aimed at addressing issues concerning social, economic and political development of Africa in particular and the black world in general, in which Dr Nkrumah was interested.
Chief Anyoaku, whose first lecture was on the topic; 'Independent Africa and the world,' recounted the continent's political and socio-economic performance, since the post independence era, and said between 1980 and 2000, the price of the continent's key commodity exports fell, cocoa by about 71 per cent and cotton by 47 per cent.
He observed that although Africa had been independent for about 50 years now, the present generation had no living memory of the heroism of the founding fathers like Dr Nkrumah, who fought against colonialism. Chief Anyoaku said instead, this generation had inherited the 'miseries of independence,' and that today's Africa had a new darkness.'
Chief Anyoaku said reports by global financial institutions indicated that Africa had not only failed to make progress, but had retrogressed, and it was difficult to believe that the continent was part of the world.
He said Africa had not become part of the globalisation process, adding that millions of people died each day of abject poverty and squalor, 40 million children were unable to go to school on a daily basis and educated parents were bringing up illiterate children because they could not keep them in school.
According to Chief Anyoaku, four million Africans under five years, also died from preventable diseases like malaria, and that such deaths could have been prevented with drugs which cost less than a quarter of a dollar for a dose, while Africans, made up two-thirds of the world's AIDS cases. On brain drain of the continent, he said it had been established that each year, 70,000 skilled graduates leave the continent and that in recent years, in Zambia, where the prevalence of HIV/AIDS was acute, all but 400 of its 1,600 doctors have left.
Chief Anyoaku said Africa has found itself in this situation because from the on-set of independence, it did not have the requisite human resources, to take up the political reins.
He said the colonialists ensured that the educated Africans were not given any meaningful role in executive government, and were only assigned menial clerical positions.
Chief Anyoaku said this meant that at a time of independence, African governments were left with an expatriate civil service and a junior African corp. He said Dr Nkrumah continued to be revered because he occupied a unique place among the continent's heroes and was in his time, the 'symbol and most compelling advocate of African unity.'
Chief Anyoaku said the overthrow of Dr Nkrumah, more than any coup d'etat, within that period, proved to be the coup, which changed the course of Africa's political revolution. He said typical of his foresight, Dr. Nkrumah helped to establish the UCC to play a unique role in the nation's socio-economic development.
Chief Anyoaku commended the UCC authorities for living up to the 'aspirations of the founding father' by continuing to ensure this through the introduction of innovative programmes.
The Chairman of the UCC Council, Dr Charles Mensah said such public lectures, 'allow an opportunity to contribute and foster intellectual academic discourse.'
He said Dr Nkrumah was an academic luminary who was still considered the greatest African in the last millennium.