Driven by a sense of collective despair, underachievement and the will to address shortcomings on the African continent, Nigeria and indeed, other African countries, have become regular participants at functions organised by external institutions. That seems to justify the increasing tendency towards proffering solution to Africa’s problems by most countries located elsewhere outside the continent and is reflected in the rising number of international initiatives that focus on different aspects of Africa, a continent characterised by high level of poverty and socio-economic degradation.
This is in view of the general consensus that such external engagements should have been handled internally in Africa by Africans, given that the continent’s destiny is in the hands of its citizens whose plight should tug at the conscience of those in leadership positions and compel a greater attention to making the continent more conducive to the realisation of dreams.
In other words, the initiatives are what African countries, under the auspices of the African Union (AU), should have carried out in terms of leading Africa towards peace and prosperity, sustainable development and integration. Some of these milestones are embedded in the AU Agenda 2063 including the Programme of Infrastructure Development for Africa (PIDA) and the Common African Agriculture Plan.
These are the various international summits aimed at refocusing attention of African leaders from their pitiable state of incurable mediocrity, to discuss Africa’s problems and proffer solutions affecting the continent including large deficits in finance, infrastructure, security, and resolving dichotomies, among others.
Outcomes of some of the international investment summits seem to find feet on the ground of reality as the various organisers come with packages believed to keep Africa out of disempowering poverty.
Available statistics reveal that in China, about $60 billion was provided to African countries to access infrastructural development. In Japan, it was about $40 billion that was made available to help African countries in the area of innovation and technology. But it is only judicious utilisation of these resources that can develop the economy of, and improve living standard in Africa. Such investments are capable of providing robust opportunity in the private sector to engage actively in driving development process and accelerating industrialization on the continent.
From statistics, in terms of resources, Africa has 30 per cent of the world’s known proven resources yet the continent is poor. These are linked to bad leadership arising from institutional incapacities and hesitant attitude of member states of the AU which find it difficult to make the great leap forward to take Africa to the next level.
This seems to give the impression that foreign summits are gradually taking over the roles of the AU and other regional bodies in Africa. This is evident in their quest to continually engage Africa on a broader and larger scale given the continent’s inability to articulate coherent and integrated programmes in solving its problems.
Surely, Africa has failed to rethink its own approach to global interaction and global diplomacy. As a result, Africa seems to be demeaning itself as a continent that is running to various world cities to discuss its problems, which doesnot in any way translate to standard solutions and approaches.
Sadly, international engagements have become attention-getters in terms of telling African leaders to sit up and pay attention to Africa’s problems.