Africa: So close, yet so far!

By Kayode Oladeji

Of the United Nations recognised 193 countries worldwide, Africa has 54.  However, African Union(AU), recognises 55 countries, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic being the 55th.

Africa is populated by 1.317 billion people, representing 16.64 per cent of the world’s 7 billion population and is the second most populous continent.

Covering 23.7 million square meters (6%) of the earth, 20% of the land, 9% of its water; Africa boasts 1,250-3,000 languages and tribes; with official languages being  Arabic, French, English, Portuguese, Spanish and Swahili.

Unarguably, Mother Nature smiled on Africa. It’s blessed with human and material resources; housing most raw materials used by industrial nations; arable land, with mineral resources in abundance.

An incontrovertible fact file, shows a continent imbued with globally referenced relics and natural monuments like: Nile, world’s largest river; Sahara, largest desert; Victoria Falls, largest waterfall and Kilimanjaro, highest mountain in Africa; not forgetting Madagascar, largest Island and fourth in the world  and a Plateau called Witwatersrand in South Africa which is said to have  produced half the gold ever mined on earth. The strategic position of Africa in history is instructive, considering the fact that Egypt is the cradle of civilisation. So, Africans have no reason to be poor as they are.

In their scramble for Africa, European Powers “Balkanized” it, with only Liberia and Ethiopia “escaping” colonization. The alluring ambience of Africa attracted the super powers.  This birthed Francophone and Anglophone nations within Africa.

Although this raised Africans’ political consciousness, it bred agitations for self rule after WW2. Despite the fact that African countries are now sovereign; the continent still suffers degradation. Walter Rodney, in his book : “How Europe Under-developed Africa”, exposes how the imperialists brought Africa to its knees economically.  However, Africans have rechristened this as; “How Africans Are Destroying Africa”.

African resources get ferried to developed nations who resell to Africans exorbitantly as finished products.  Thus, Africans’ consumption pattern is largely import-dependent.  Regrettably, this depletes GDPs and pauperises Africans.

African leaders are snitching compradors. Rather than flourishing, Africa is floundering, garbed in apparel of a Third-World-nation continent as it parades cretins as leaders. Therefore, this partly explains why till now, it doesn’t have a permanent seat in the UN Security Council.

Countries like Nigeria had a better head-start over China and India which, today, have made giant strides in all fields of endeavour. For instance, while Nigeria is still grappling with the issue of electricity, China which does not have any problem in this regard, is never resting on its oars. By March this year, China is expected to launch 3 artificial moons that will shine eight times brighter than the natural moon.

Conceived in 2018 through Tian Fu New Area Science Society, it is a project expected to see China develop more artificial moons between Year 2020–2022. These “moons” will serve as other sources of electricity for the people of China;will replace streetlights and save the country about $174 million, annually.

Africa’s major undoing is bad leadership, poor economic management, poor infrastructure, illiteracy, political instability, ethno-religious conflicts, disunity and distrust which is further creating a glitz edge crevice in the continent.

Corruption is another vampire ravaging the continent.  Leaders have turned their countries into their private estates.  For instance, since Nigeria’s former military ruler,  General Sani  Abacha, died in 1998, his loots, running into billions,  are still being repatriated to Nigeria.  Omar Bashir of Sudan ousted recently, had several millions of hard currencies in his bedroom! Their list is endless.

According to UN, Nigeria, has overtaken India as the Poverty Headquarters of the world.  In 2018, 87million Nigerians lived  in extreme poverty.  Bill Gates, in the Goalkeepers reports/forecasts to the UN, warned that poverty might envelope Africa.  To him, by 2050, 85% of those extremely poor would be domiciled  in Africa, particularly Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

To many, the hope for a better Africa is fading as the continent morphs into hopelessness.  Nepotism, infrastructure decay, insecurity, corruption, etc, are commonplace. Consequently, many Africans are desperate to migrate; hence Africa contributes hugely to global humanitarian crises. In the process,many Africans have died on the Mediterranean Coast and other illegal routes in desperate bid at leaving the continent at all cost.

According to United Nations’ report, in 2017 alone, about 1.3 million Nigerians, fled the country due to the aforementioned factors. Out of the 70.8 million refugees in the world, developing nations, mostly Africa, have contributed 80% with over 65 millions Africans deeply in the lurch.

Ordinarily, Africa should have  being the best continent but for bad leaders. It doesn’t have any reason to be poor.  Yet, its citizens are suffering.  It’s like the proverbial case of water being everywhere with none to drink.  Yes, it’s a case of being so close, yet being so far!

Africa has been pilfered dry.  Is Africa bewitched?  Or, who did Africans offend? All Africans should embark on genuine soul-searching, with a view to pouring the needed libations to atone for our sins.