2 Dec 2013

Development and Aid - Patson Malissa give us his perspective

“ Give a man a fish, and you’ve fed him once. Teach a man to fish, and you have fed him for life.”  We usually mention this with regards to removing the culture of toxic aid to the continent of Africa. However, I’d like to expand a bit more on the techniques needed in order for effective equipping of the continent into economic emancipation. The points are a result of inner introspection of the proverb as well as conclusions made from case studies within Africa’s countries.

Having the understanding from world statistics that Aid has contributed less than a justifiable percentage towards the development of the continent’s economic development, we cannot expect it to be the answer to Africa’s economic problems. Furthermore, development in Africa is mostly hindered by lack of infrastructure for trade with other world players.  Therefore the isolated approach to African growth leads to a guaranteed stagnation given the present models of operation in place.

I would like to propose that the continent is in need of a universal entrepreneurial approach towards its economic growth. I have chosen to zoom in on economic development, as the whole idea behind aid is to supply resources of economic value because of the lack thereof in the designated area. There are countries in Africa that have been on aid for longer than can be considered acceptable, and hence the solution clearly is not in the release of aid, but rather the stimulation of an entrepreneurial, innovative and self sustaining culture. The battle begins in the mind before it is won on the field. Therefore the need to address the psychology that governs the attitude of the people from the bottom going up is essential towards developing Africa.

I would like to propose that we as the young leaders of the continent, work towards bringing a new culture in addressing Africa’s economic emancipation. Here is how I propose that we do this:

1.     Development requires Active acknowledgement

In order for progress to be determined, the continent needs to actively acknowledge that there is room for improvement with regards to the condition of Africa. Passive acknowledgement has been the common culture of African leadership , with heads of states gathering together to  write memorandums and charters which end up becoming archive documents, with little executive powers.

As it is said by theology script, without a vision the people shall perish. Therefore it is quintessential for the active engagement in developing the African dream and ensuring that the message is spread across the continent without prejudice of intellectual understanding. An idea of the people will be easy to translate on all levels as it resonates with the hearts it was meant to ignite. 

2.     Let us be determined to use everything around us to progress   

Aid has been poured into Africa for a while now, and the problem has been that the receivers of that aid had not taken it with the intention of further progression in becoming self sustained. Dictators, rebel groups and NGOs have been culprits in maximizing on maintaining an aid dependent environment for their self-nourishment.  The people on the ground are then made to believe that it is acceptable to be dependent on aid, and are even willing to play a part in the helpless drama.

If we as Africans are to move forward, we ought to acknowledge aid as leverage, to create infrastructure that will enable us to trade our resources in the world for profit. In so doing, we are in the right mindset to discuss development goals, and cut off dates from aid for each country. We must always remember that all things come to us in return for something else. Our resources have been exploited numerous times in situations of aid because of the unprogressive vision of the people receiving it. I encourage further case studies through this forum into such situations. Perfect examples would be Sierra Leone, Sudan and Somalia.

Ogaden is another area in which dependence is being used by a colonial power to maintain a hold over the economic development of the nation. I would like to use this platform as a plea to the continent to pay attention to the pressing issue of that nation.

3.     Development ought to be continuous

We as the young leaders of Africa ought to realize the onus of passing on the continent to the next generation. We have been entrusted with the progression of Africa ‘s story. We are stewards of a future that a new generation will consider to be a present. We ought to identify the problems that we can eradicate, so that we may leave a trail for the next generation to follow in a quicker pursuit towards the Africa that we wish to see.

I believe that with immediate engagement of public and private entities in the continent, with the culture of integrity and accountability, we can eradicate the need for external aid, and provide in our internal budgets, aid funds that will be used for leverage towards development and not cripple nations and hence making them vulnerable towards resource exploitation. Hence the title of my paper being, Development creates Aid.
We are at an advantage of having youth on our side, and at the same time our voices can speak louder without the resistance that was once there against the African voice. I  urge us to unite that voice once more and lead our continent into the next promised land, which is total economic freedom for our people, with the opportunity to create their own future.

Patson Malisa
Thought leader, Keynote Speaker, Policy developer
Phone : +27796255797

Email : p.malisa@aol.com

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