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Innocent Ukomba

Visionary, inChrist

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Can donor funding really fix African challenges, or should we empower African communities to address their own challenges?

Charity gives but does not really transform. For a very long time, donor assistance has been chanelled through to Africa and that really hasnt changed much. Could it be possible to birth a generation of people who are willing to be empowered with means of generating income that eventually get channeled back into communities for purposes of delivering renewal and transformation? How do we get communities to participate in the engineering of a promising future both for the continent and individual nations?


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  • Feb 10 2013: I am neither an economist nor an educator. I am not an expert on all of Africa. I can say with confidence that the lack of classically-trained college graduates in African countries I have worked in has quite a bit to do with the voracious need for diversity and scientific expertise in Europe and the Americas and global aid networks that play an equal role in inadvertently creating an "escape ladder" out of Africa and other developing countries.

    Many African countries (and their leaders) have been focusing on education for quite some time. There have been sincere movements to direct students into necessary fields for nation-building, from structural engineering to ethics and economics, and there have been conscious decisions to fast-track vital services, using central european style programs to spit out 18 year old engineers and 14 year old tradesmen. The greatest allure for those newly minted graduates, or the affluent college bound youngster is to continue with school in the west, or to work there in a market that is both challenging and financially rewarding. For their part, most western societies depend on such elements of educated diversity--whether it is a tech-/science-driven demand from the US or points-based immigration schemes in central Europe. To meet demand, western policies have made it easy for the well educated to leave developing nations and heir markets have supplied the demand. NGOs and multilateral organizations gobble up talent, both globally and locally, and many individuals move abroad or are displaced. They often shift to a global, not local, focus on growth and development.

    I think the question to be asked is not about educating African leaders, rather about luring Africa's native talent back to Africa. To do that is a combination of demand and reward, and it requires a promise of safety and stability. "Africa" doesn't need to be educated, rather re-invigorated with its own passionate leadership.

    See talks by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

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