“Freedom is meaningless if people cannot put food in their stomachs, if they can have no shelter, if illiteracy and disease continue to dog them.” ~ Nelson Mandela
A 2010 Edition of Development organisations in Africa listed over 60000 organisations that were working towards African development. Among them including the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) which was founded in 1964 as a multilateral development finance institution established to contribute to the economic development and social progress of African countries. It was only last year that AfDB announced the strategic initiative – Africa50.
Tas Anvaripour, Team Leader of Africa50, highlighted that, “African infrastructure projects are increasingly capturing the attention of investors worldwide. However, the number of bankable infrastructure projects brought to market is still insufficient, even though they offer an excellent way to diversify investment portfolios and steady, long-term, and above average returns.” Having closed over 40 large infrastructure private sector projects in the past five years, AfDB strongly believes in the infrastructure opportunities latent in Africa. Entrepreneurs and infrastructure experts do take note!
Then there is Self Help Africa which has been working in sub-Saharan Africa for close to thirty years. An incredible 91% of public donations to Self Help Africa go directly to supporting charitable activities. Self Help Africa works at grassroots level in nine African countries (which 30 years later are still struggling), tackling poverty and improving the lives of local communities.
As an African- this is not to undermine the efforts towards African development – these acts are very much appreciated – yet the numbers of capable empowered humans in Africa shows a reality that requires us to stop turning a blind eye. The 60000+ list of development agents for Africa forgets to include the millions of patriotic individuals and kind souls who are contributing to Africa through numerous programs and intiatives to give back to the community. Not to mention some African governments have their eyes on the dispora of Africa as a huge contribution to Africa’s development. Years pass us by and all this is a sad scenario of a society that has been holding on to ideologies that havent been working. (If you need evidence Africa is still lagging considerably in relation to the support given to it look even beyond the GDP – take a look at the HDI ) Saddening reality.
We are happy of the little steps of progress and we seem to forget the bigger picture – What awaits us in 10 years from now ?- time flies . The question is what are we doing today to not only have enough resources for the next generation but rather a greater quality of life for all humans in Africa? Giving someone food or even simply knowledge doesn’t cut it for me. Some will shrug at the idea of knowledge not cutting it – let me explain the challenge this idea of African development has.
If you were equipped with knowledge of how a car functions and how to drive a car (education/leadership programs/) and have your certified licence (degrees/certificates you name it). You then A – need a car/ need to have the capacity to build a car of your own to drive you places (job/career/run business are a source of income for better life) and then B – last time I checked air didn’t run the car engine – you need fuel (opportunities to progress and navigate life around you) -Streeten, Paul (May 1994). in “Human Development: Means and Ends”. Human Development (84.2): 232–237 had a point development is thus about expanding the choices people have, to lead lives that they value, and improving the human condition so that people have the chance to lead full lives.
I found myself questioning the value placed on more priviledged individuals giving back to Africa to push African development – having founded and grown IZWI to empower young people – to date trading a lot to push this passion for african development – it was clear that it was not enough – in order to push for more impact for the development of nations in Africa a lot of thought must be cultivated. Accountability of those in mandate must be instigated and society conscientized to develop new strategies to build such systems that become significant parts of the paragadim of African human development.
There are six basic pillars of human development: equity, sustainability, productivity, empowerment, cooperation and security. This brings me to a conversation about public facilities- our mandate as Africans and the responsibility of private and state organisation structures is to ensure we have functional facilities for human development.
In order for nations to grow and develop – we must remember to set apart our individual development ideals from the development of nations. Not everybody dreams of internet access, businesses, cars or mansions – and if a majority does it certainly is not everybody who is willing to work hard enough or strategically to attain these things (this highlights the process that requires an individuals full engagement to excel , find their passion and drive ) – yet when we speak of a nations development everybody MUST have choices available to grow the ability to enjoy and lead the kind of life [they have] reason to value. The most basic capabilities for human development are: to lead long and healthy lives, to be knowledgeable (e.g., to be educated), to have access to the resources and social services needed for a decent standard of living, and to be able to participate in the life of the community
Why is it 30 years later – human development in Africa has not been effective – has it not been a priority? We are still caught in discussions about water shortages in Africa – 30 years later! Public water systems are failing, there is no development of transport structures , public health institutions are crumbling and education policies are worsening the situation! And we are still content that Africa is taking leaps whilst men, business and institutions with the mandate to develop States walk shamelessly without accountability . For long we have based african development on the ability to take away human dignity by always giving – these are contributions by people without that mandate.
African development is not an agenda for the kind hearts with no mandate. This removes accountability to those in mandate. People of Africa – you have a mandate to be responsible citizens who are also able to hold your authorities accountable. Governments of Africa – you have the mandate to serve your people. Private Businesses you have a mandate to be responsible businesses. The international world you have a mandate to support while the African people lead.
This brings me to emphasizing the importance of change in societies to demand the well being of public facilities (Governmental National departments and all public infrastructures) When you speak of millions and millions of people – these processes require that agents with the mandate for development at large scales be held accountable for the status during their mandate by a responsible society .
‘The Obscrued African Development removes focus on public facilities’