MORE than half a century after independence, the African burst is still creating a big debate. Africa has changed, evolved and sometimes surprised by all the giant steps it has taken not only in terms of development but also in terms of independence. Unfortunately, and often, our Africa stagnates, hesitates, takes some steps back and disappoints hundreds of millions of young Africans. From Casablanca to Johannesburg, From Abuja to Nairobi, Africa is still too often trapped in choices that are not her own, hostage of the other’s considerations and orientation, as if others should dictate the future of this continent.
Young Africans are now aware of their power, their ability to appropriate their destiny to themselves. They have no more inferiority complexes with their fellow men from other continents. However, something is still wrong and unfinished yet. Africa still dictates policies that go against its interest. It accepts non-suitable policies that usually go against its interest. It accepts non-adapted norms, as if the African hope does not deserve that we invent all together, our own continental story with its own emancipated literature. Three examples should challenge us as Africans to ask ourselves about our real ambition level to truly get rid of foreign influences. These examples reflect the challenges facing the continent: huge, essential and, above all, surmountable
With African countries that are among the most competitive nations in the world, Africans continue to suffer from the ethnocentrism of almost all the multinationals in this sector. Which of us did not have to buy a jacket and pants of different sizes for the simple reason that the stylist considered that his/her future client would have flat buttocks? Which of us did not wonder why a sister should inflict dangerous regimes in order to be able to wear a 34-size jeans or try unpleasant hair smoothing in order to correspond to western dictates with a strong colonialist charge?
Second case. Do you remember the first Kyoto agreement’s negotiations? Or those of Paris? Almost all western countries responsible for the period of 1850-2011, according to the World Resource Institute ( WRI), of 27 per cent of cumulative CO2 emission (for the USA, 25 per cent for the European Union and 11 per cent for China) require us African countries to commit to drastic levels of decline of gas emissions that would inevitably penalise our economic and social development, whereas the established responsibility in the global warming of our economies is marginal. Our young people lack everything—access to quality education and care, jobs, stability that gives them dignity— and while our economies remain fragile and completely vulnerable and dependent, there are those who want us to pay for them, to be treated without distinction of responsibilities, as if the African citizen was more responsible of the climate disaster than his European, Japanese or American counterpart. This is historical nonsense, a timeless injustice that reflects an uninhibited domination and thus assigns Africa and Africans to a fifth wheel of the carriage that we only solicit when we wish.
The third and last example of this African feverishness towards foreign domination: agriculture. The collective trauma of famine is omnipresent in African minds, and considering that millions of Africans still suffer from malnutrition, even starvation, security must be at the top of our leaders’ agenda at their meetings in Addis Ababa. However, some continue to import a foreign normative literature that ignores completely, the African context and penalises the emergence of a green revolution that would guarantee security for the whole continent. Fertilizer use per hectare in Africa is 14kg per hectare compared to 140 on average for the rest of the world, and about 60 million African children suffer from malnutrition. Security and food sovereignty remain wishful thinking. The west has been living for decades in abundance, overproduction and waste.
Africa fights on a daily basis to be able to feed millions of hungry people. Africans should pay more attention to the objectives designed to introduce technical barriers in favour of foreign economic actors who wish to perpetuate their return and penalize their incomes— and penalize actors that are committed to the continent. We must act urgently by collaborating with pan-African champions in order to achieve Africa’s objectives, a special and important moment of the African construction. There is a need to enhance agricultural production in Africa by facilitating access to fertilizer for farmers. Also, we should be smart while having western debates: the part that would help us to achieve our goals of emancipation and sovereignty and not only mimic bourgeois quarrels that would definitely delay the African burst.
- Alimi, is on the staff of the Nigerian Tribune