By Revival Ojedapo.
The recent Corona-virus outbreak has disrupted activities all around the world, Africa inclusive. For the first time in many years, countries are shutting their borders against other countries. The closure of borders does foreshadow the urgency for the self-reliance of the African continent. The abundance of natural resources within the continent is a countless wonder, including materials such as natural gas, uranium, platinum, copper, cobalt, iron, bauxite, cocoa beans, diamonds, gold, oil and many others. But, it is almost as though Africans have no need for these resources, or to put it more appropriately, it would appear that Africa hasn’t maximised her potential. And what a great potential it is.
The economic crisis that have since affected the whole world this year has only spelt more doom for most African countries. Prices of natural resources such as copper and oil have fallen, being a bad news for exporters like Zambia and Nigeria. Also, Foreign Direct Investment in the continent has taken a hit. These woes amount, not only from the economic dominance of the world powers, but also from a lack of vision from most of African countries. One advantage of conflictual and uncertain times is the possibility of making a difference.
Africans must realize that the best time to begin their escape from the throngs of dependency is when help becomes elusive. Countries around the world, including the economic gladiators, are still reeling from the effects of the pandemic; thus, making it all the more unlikely for them to offer any positives to the African continent. If anything, the years ahead would usher in a new scramble for what Africa has to offer. And, if we’re to learn from our mistakes, it would be a chance for the continent to call the shots, for the first time in modern history.
Adam Tooze’s book, The Deluge, exposes the shrewdness of the United States during the first world war. As Ben Shephard puts it: “…of all the changes brought by the first world war, Adam Tooze argues in this bold and ambitious book, by far the most important was the arrival of the United States in a position of unparalleled economic, political and moral ascendancy”.
Compared to present challenges, the two world wars appear to leave a bigger imprint on history; but it is the lessons that matter. Africa must not take a back seat as the world faces the challenges posed by the Coronavirus. We can’t afford to sit on the sidelines, waiting for the rest of the world to find the cure (for the virus, and unprecedented impacts thereof). The emergence of the United States as a superpower during the last century is a lesson that is set in history for the African youth. And what bigger inspiration do we need than the fact that we are blessed by nature. Blessed, not only with natural resources, but also human and intellectual ones.
In conclusion, this article is more or less an ambiguous appeal to African leaders to move the continent in the right direction. By African leader, I refer to the African youths, spread across the continent and beyond, who seek the betterment of their countries. It is a call to young intellectuals, flourishing in their various fields, to fulfill the dreams of the men and women who fought for Africa when colonization was the enemy. Achieving this would require the activation of our noblest endowment, the unity of Africa.
It is time for African youths to come together in all capacities and build a framework for dynamic development across the continent. Through policy briefs, concise research, hardwork, passion and the likes, we’ll grow.