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15.02.2015 Feature Article

Africa Needs Change, Not Aid (1)

Africa Needs Change, Not Aid (1)
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Pour an ocean into a leaking basin, and you will be pleasantly fortuitous to have a swimming pool.

The abiding question that asserts itself upon our conscience is this: How much aid will solve Africa's problems?

It is probably in the spirit of brotherhood that some people and countries send aid to Africa. This notwithstanding, for some, such is vouchsafed to feed their superiority ideologies. However much, if people are drinking water from polluted rivers, and barely scraping a single meal, giving aid to such must be a commendable act, no matter what the motive may be. But would such morsels of reprieve ever solve this deep-rooted issue?

What if the government in charge of that country changed their hearts and started doing what they ought to do? Is that not a better course we should be working towards?

It is a crystal truth, one very transparent for all to see through: Aid will never solve Africa's problems until the leaders change their ways. This is a message every donor should know. Turn a deaf ear to such truth, and after several years of pumping aid to the continent, they will experience fatigue of epic proportions, if they have not yet experienced such.

Africans know this truth, even if we are not willing to admit it, that no donor could ever solve the plethora of challenges we currently face. Sure, they can help, but they are not the solution to our problems. The solution lies in our own hands; in fact, the ball is right at our feet.

Failure To Act

Our present situation must go down as a painful betrayal of a people by the leaders of the African continent. Indeed, without any hint of equivocalness, most African countries have the resources needed for the crystallisation of development; but do our leaders truly care to transform the continent?

We are surely suffering by our own choice when we could eradicate our peculiar problems. This is no fallacious statement. And even if it takes us centuries, we will someday converge at this same fixed point of truth.

Why have we bought into all the lies that we are poor and we cannot help ourselves, and that it is somebody's responsibility to fix our continent? Why are we, who should be enjoying life, considering all the resources we have, always going cap in hand to solicit the generosity of those ready to offer us a few drops of water? Will those few drops ever slake our interminable thirst?

It's almost offensive seeing all the begging for aid, knowing that our countries have the resources to tackle our challenges.

The emphatic thrust of this piece is that change is what we need and not aid. Consider that our leaders go to bed in luxury while the masses struggle. Where is the fairness? Yes, it is not a fair world, we all know that; but shouldn't our people have access to the basic necessities of life?

It is 2015 and there are Africans still struggling for common potable drinking water. The thought of such should make every concerned person's stomach churn. How poor are we to the extent that such basic necessities have become almost a luxury?

Our portrayal in foreign media is almost sickening to say the least: emaciated bodies, distended stomachs, flies all over, drinking from dirty rivers; you name it. This is the way we are perceived and depicted.

In fact, the life-draining poverty of our people shames the selfishness of our leaders. But do they care? No, they don't!

Considering the impact of globalisation and the interconnectedness of the world's economies, we Africans, at this rate of progress cannot expect to find ourselves in paradise. Anybody who thinks we will go to bed and wake up as advanced as other continents, is surely lost in a contemplative revelry. Our development, at best, will be gradual rather than instantaneous.

Nevertheless, the lack of access to basic amenities for many on the continent can never be justified. Yes, there is absolutely no sensible reason that placates such a worrying turn of affairs. And why, for example, we need adverts to be shown on foreign TVs soliciting for money to drill wells for our people to get clean drinking water must cut any conscionable soul right to the bone. It is simply unacceptable—not for those intending to help, but those who have failed to ameliorate such disgraceful conditions.

A Call For Change

What exactly could we do to see a veritable change in the nature of our leaders? Is the stainless truth that we can do very little; or could we do more?

Most of the continent seems to have elected governments. However, ask yourself, why do we vote for these leaders who continue to disappoint us? Election after election, we only end up with bad nuts. If we were a girl interested in love, who experiences a wake of broken hearts in quick succession, wouldn't loving the next man be difficult?

Perhaps we vote for these leaders because they are the people who show up on the ballot paper. Or is it a case that the leaders that we have are only holding a mirror before our face? Can we as a people say we are generally good but still get bad leaders; or in real truth, our leaders are no different from us—simply a picture of who we are?

Yet, there remains an argument that what happens at the ballot box in African elections is a farce. In most countries, it is virtually certain, if not a huge probability that at every election, it is either one party or the other that will come to power. And when both of these parties are corrupt, voting for other parties appears to be a waste of one's vote. Thus, some of the electorate have settled upon the choice not to vote at all. After all, every election comes with promises that never get fulfilled. It is has become a cycle of sorts.

So what should be the correct course of action? Shall we refrain from voting because we see no significant change in leadership? That has to be an individual judgement. Shall we plead with our leaders to amend their ways? Well, we have been pleading, and we will continue, even if such calls fall on deaf ears. Have we run out of options? Surely not.

The conclusion to this article (Part 2) will consider applicable solutions that will help us see a change in African leadership. After all, until there is a paradigm shift in leadership, our thirst for more aid will continue, without any meaningful transformation of the fortunes of our continent. Yes, we may gather all the oceans into a single leaking basin and still realise that our swimming costumes are almost useless.

I shall return with my talking drums in Africa Needs Change, Not Aid (2).

Angelina K. Morrison is interested in national development, true religion, and self-improvement. She enjoys thinking, and writes stories only when the muse grips her. Her first short story for public consumption is available for free at Amazon on 27th & 28th February 2015. Strangely titled Gravellatina, it is part of a breathtaking five series she calls "short and sweet." You will be gripped. You can email her at [email protected], or find her at

Angelina K. Morrison
Angelina K. Morrison, © 2015

The author has 39 publications published on Modern Ghana.Column: AngelinaKMorrison

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