This conversation is closed.

Africa does not need any more aid to develop, it needs moral support and guidance to harness her resources to develop

Since the days of colonialism, western countries have always had an obligation to support former colonial territories in term of development. Colonial governments set up social, political and economic structures.
However, after independence, we were not trained how to manage and develop the resources we had.
They have injected billions of dollars funding various development projects. Irrespective of all this, African counties especially sub- saran Africa, has gotten even worse. Corruption and mismanagement of public funds, assets and resources is becoming the order of the day.
The reason for this is partly because we are just given resources whose value we do not know because we do not work for them. Recently, the US ambassador to Uganda said they would massively cut on direct budgetary support to the country in order to look at financial crisis back home. As humans, we mostly look after what we value, and we mostly value what we work hard for.
And i totally agree. What do you say about this?

  • thumb
    Dec 31 2011: Having lived in Africa for 9 years I cannot agree more. The preception that Western Aid to Africa is a pure humanitarian gesture is bunkum. Oil companies plundering Nigeria's oil resources in cohoots with corrupt Nigerians is well known. Exploitation of Congolese tin miners by middlemen and the electronics industry is another example. At the same time, Africans should stop winching about colonial role in drawing national boundaries and forced tribal integration. They need to stand up on their own like Ghana has done. To use an African expression "to fend for themselves".
  • thumb
    Dec 23 2011: I think that the best outside help Africa could receive is from profitable enterprises rather than non-profit organizations. What if a large corporation were to outsource labor to Africa and set up "factory towns" that put locals to work and sold them needed goods and provided affordable housing? There would be microcosm economies that could be fairly stable unto themselves.
    • Dec 23 2011: Thats basically what Invisible Children do. Though they do not provide housing, they do provide jobs and scholarships for those who want to gain an education.
      • thumb
        Dec 23 2011: Interesting. I need to look into IC. One thing that I thing could also help poor African communities is to have conditional scholarships. I was thinking something akin to a military ROTC program where a student is given a scholarship to, for example become a doctor, but along with that education is required to spend a given set of years working in his community. I think this would prevent them from learning a skill and taking it elsewhere, merely sending money home instead of contributing that skill to the improvement of their entire home communities.
    • thumb
      Jan 6 2012: Turning Africa into "factory towns"????

      What?

      There is surely a solution, I believe is underway, and it is coming from Africa itself!
      Nelson Mandela, Arch. Desmond Tutu, and others are working together to come up with ideas that keep intact their traditions and dignity while insuring long term sustainability of the action plan. (look into The Elders)

      A wonderful example of a recent meaningful, transforming, and effective socio-economic solution is in Bangladesh: the Grameen bank created by M. Yunis, who won the Nobel Prize for his efforts.
      And guess what -women were the key to his plan! Watch this video directly from the Nobel site http://www.nobelprize.org/mediaplayer/index.php?id=146
      • thumb
        Jan 6 2012: i'd just like to point out that the industrial revolution drove economic growth in the east and the west. why not africa? a steady income leads to steady living and the ability to improve upon your life rather than surviving day to day...
        • thumb
          Jan 7 2012: Yes, Zachary it did.

          And then what happened?

          I mean, after the boom of the "global" and unlimited exploitation of natural resources, after the elimination of small family business replaced by large corporations, after few got very rich and many became locked into the new massive lower class: the factory worker (oh, wait, there was also the coal miner!), after the most pristine skies of the world become clogged with smog, and whole local, indigenous cultures were wiped out in the name of “progress”.
          What happened to quality of life and long lived traditions when the need for workers drove many to a few cities causing quick, indiscriminate urban growth -do slums, bubonic pest, women working, children sweatshops, unemployment of skilled workers, and social unrest ring a bell?

          Do we want the same for our vibrant, diverse, culturally wealthy African brothers?

          If history lessons are not learned, they are bound to be repeated.
        • Jan 7 2012: I do agree with Karina, yes we need development, but at what expense, there MUST be certain elements of society we cannot give away in the name of development. Our environment, culture, history and our heritage. Because if we do, we will be destroying the world for the next generation. Compare Western countries with Japan and China, which path of development would you rather take?
  • Jan 11 2012: It is time for a new generation of leaders to arise in Africa. Leaders who understand principles of stewardship, servanthood and responsibility. Leaders who recognize their role to create an environment in which those they lead can fulfill their destiny and potential. Leaders who are motivated by a passion to see those they lead do well rather than a means to personal benefit. Leaders who do not feel the world owes them a life but who face the complexities and confusion that makes up this awesome resource-rich continent and then boldly step forward to make a difference starting in their own sphere of influence and then outwards in ever increasing circles of influence.. Leaders who have ceased calling on somebody and have decided to be that somebody. The time is NOW and it starts with me.. Not some undefined and unknown SOMEBODY out there somewhere.. My paradigm must change before asking others to consider changing theirs.. It is time for Africa's Leaders to accept responsibility for most of what Africa has become.. An adult over the age of 21 cannot really legitimately keep blaming his/her parents for their failures..
  • Comment deleted

    • thumb
      Dec 28 2011: Until and unless nations require corporate responsibility I fear that nothing will change. How many of the issues (problems) are contrived so that the corporation, who wants the riches at the best price, can take them while the nation as a whole is dealing with the real but manufactured catastrophe?
    • thumb
      Dec 30 2011: Richard, I am out of thumbs for you! You hit the nail on head so briefly :-) I wish I had your gift...

      I do think that there is one fundamental mistake in the language I see used in this conversation... "Africa this", "Africa that".
      Africa is large enough to merit more careful treatment. It is not a big blob on the map, or a blanket problem -or solution, or resource. Africa, like Europe, the American continent, or any other, is made up of many individual countries, each one unique, a complex weave of many different cultures, languages, religions, habits, systems.
      The economic solutions designed for the Japanese would not suit the French, and what works for Switzerland will not do in Brazil. Why do we assume that we can have a one size fits all attitude toward Africa?

      My point is, there is not one solution, as there is not one problem. Maybe the starting point is becoming aware of their complex nature, and next to that, respecting their dignity and right to their own destiny.
      We (the western world) do not need to bring them "into the fold", convert them to capitalism, and enroll them in our patterns. Making them dependent on us is reenacting slavery trading in the 21st century, shameful!

      Aid is needed, much damage has been done already, so yes, help is necessary. But with deep sensitivity to their individuality and en eye on long term plans and sustainability!

      Come on, we go to ridiculous lengths to make sure a wild baby owl is fed and cared for without losing its natural instincts, hence becoming unable to return to its natural environment and survive, and we cannot consider with the same attention the specific needs of our fellow human beings????
      • Comment deleted

        • thumb
          Dec 30 2011: Well, I wouldn't blame TEDsters, most of us here have the rare skill to see the large picture (global thinkers) and in doing so, we have to use generalizations.
          And you are right, I was saying aid in strictly the original sense of the word, not as in hand-me-downs... Tools is what works

          Thanks for the good wishes, quite a manifesto in a nutshell there!
  • thumb
    Dec 12 2011: Of course. The ultimate factor that drives progress and prosperity has always been moral power, nothing else. It set the slaves free, emancipated women and abolished child labor - all this being translated into law is at the core of what we call good governance today.

    Now, as far as Africa is concerned, I think that the cultural/spiritual development is awfuly important. Luckily many ordinary people there truly believe in values.
    • Jan 6 2012: Hi and with respect. Why, why, why, do they keep having babies? ( I am tired of crying over these babies and the money, that could save them ) YET, the money, is never there? hmmmm? :(
  • Jan 11 2012: This is a call to all African or any one who may consider themselves Africans or has a heart for Africa. Let us stop blaming donors, western countries and companies for our underdevelopment. We have the resources, the human capacity but need to stretch our minds further on how to solve our challenges. We MUST stop depending on hand outs but take on the challenges because WE CAN DO IT!!!
  • thumb
    Jan 7 2012: many Africans in Africa have lost confidence in themselves and in their leaders.too traumatised by most of the liberators who have used violence to free & rule. I believe future generations are likely to inherit this.a revolution is possible but will take the guts of africans abroad.in the case of Zimbabwe, brain drain left a wound which could only be healed if we go back and resuscitate the economy and education. it is a shame that the same hand bringing aids is sometimes robbing us.tones of ivory for trucks of GMs.food aids could be a threat to our culture and resources.the people don't need to be given fish but rather need to be taught how to catch one.indigenization and a unique education curriculum could change africa.
  • Dec 23 2011: Africa needs to turn 50% of the power in all sectors over to women.......starting today.
    • thumb
      Dec 30 2011: Ditto.

      Women already are the bread winners, field workers, child bearers, cooks, and home makers. Now, are their partners ready to give them leadership?
      • Dec 31 2011: Wow, that is amazing! Question, how do you teach and show, a third world nation, that idea? However, you are, spot on! :) One question, how do we teach or show these humans, to stop their own destruction? Just asking. See, Africa is having babies, everyday! So, how do we teach African women to stop and not, give in to the man? I am sorry, it is an excellent thread. We need to hit, the real issues! Happy New Year To All! :)
        • thumb
          Dec 31 2011: Tishe, don't worry about babies.

          I just watched a not-so-new documentary, Plastic Planet.

          If you want to know why infertility is so prevalent in the West now a days, look no further that your Evian spring water bottle! The documentary is not the best I've seen, but the facts it presents are none the less staggering.

          So overpopulation has already been taken care of...
      • Dec 31 2011: Perhaps they are finally ready to admit that the current system is a complete failure in creating justice, health, wealth, happiness or any kind of well-being for the people who live there. They may be made to realize that by turning 50% of all power over to women and letting men and women sit together as equals in co-creating societal institutions, all females and alll males will be able to live healthy, prosperous happy lives.
        • Jan 1 2012: I do not think, they will ever realize this. Hey, my wish, is with you! :)
        • Jan 1 2012: Hi Karina, I will worry about the babies. They have no choice, in this fricked up world. I will continue to worry and be sad, and hurt, for these children. "Infertility is so prevalent" ?? Humans are dropping babies, like ping pong balls! I may have mis understood your response? Happy New Year, Karina! ( take care ) :)
  • Dec 23 2011: I agree with this. There are many organizations giving to Africa when Africa needs to learn to develop and grow on their own. I am apart of a great organization that DOES give to Central Africa but in the way it is needed. Invisible Children is an amazing group of people who raise money for the development of Africa. For example, IC invented jobs in Africa making bracelets to sell to people in the United States in order to raise money. These efforts put forth by IC is too raise money for the education of children and young adults in Africa so when they grow into adults they will be prepared and equipped to run their own country. Africa must learn help itself; it is the only way they will cease to need our, as in the US, help to run and develop. We must stop handing them things and teach them to learn and develop on their own. Thank you for presenting this discussion, for it hits close to home with me and the Invisible Children organization.
  • thumb
    Dec 16 2011: One of the key problems of Africa is…democracy. Right?


    The social structures of most communities in this continent were much smaller than the one in Western Countries. Or at least the basic social structures were.Therefore, changing from those structures to democracy at a country level in only few dozen of years leads to major issues.

    In a system were the head was responsible for the distribution of responsibility, task, resources and the peace-maker, new head of government do so. Even when they know, in theory, that they are supposed to manage only the executive, it is culturally impossible for them to limit themselves to this. They want to keep the system continuity which is view as the bases of the peace!

    The head start to share resources (money, business opportunities, and government positions) among community leaders according to their influence. Those leaders repeat the process in their own community. The problem (further the legal one) is that when you are not in a community you are excluded from the all process.
    In my opinion surprisingly the best transition to efficient democratic and economic transition were made in constitutional monarchy or country where someone has been leading for decades. Unfair but more efficient!

    So if we want to help countries to develop we should focus on creating the enHow can we change that? With foreign aid?
  • thumb
    Dec 14 2011: Nice post. (As you stated ...corruption and mismanagement of public funds...) I think only thing third world county needs are leaders and politicians with strong moral values. These countries are always suffering by wars or some dictator etc.

    I don't think any country needs external help if they can manage local resources according to their needs. They need to make platforms for their coming generations. Educating children is the key.
  • Dec 14 2011: I completely agree! African is a rich country filled of resources, intelligent and intuitive people, culture, beauty, music. It shouldn't sell itself, it need to believe it is capable of manifesting all that it is worth. The people of Africa need to reunite and stay strong to the rest of the worlds malicious attempts of control.
  • Dec 12 2011: Techncally the United States was also a colony, not a colonial goverment.
    I believe the problems in Africa nowdays are less to do with the colonial times, but more so with the greed from both the western companies and the rich and powerful in africa, who drained rescources and ruined the ecology of countries sch as nigeria. After taking all the oil, they did not bother to clean up the spills. The likes of the BP oil spill have happened numerous times off the coast and on the shores of africa, but there was no compensation or clean up, and little or no media coverage. This wipes out the food for the locals, whos only means of survival left is piracy.

    There are also great clashes of conflict amongst people themselves for a difference in belief or culture. All of these things combined ruin the touist industry, which brings attention and sympathy for the affected countries. This is a very difficult issue to solve, one that cannot be solved easily. Aid is not a long term solution, and is intended for those who cannot feed themselves, not to rebuild a country. Africa needs investment aswell as guidance to develop, which favours the people rather than the politicians of the country.
    • Dec 12 2011: Yeah Aindreas, your are right, i agree with you part. United States was itself a colony, but i was using it as an example of western countries that are getting to understand how crippling aid is in Africa.
      The greedy, the rich, and powerful are definitely the source of Africa's majority problems. In Africa, who are the rich? its politicians, who are the powerful? politicians, who literally manage resources? largely politicians. From (North Africa) the late, Gaddafi as an example, to West Africa, Sub saran Africa, East and South Africa, the power, authority of politicians could not be controlled until the Arab uprising.
      On common problem in all these countries is corruption, mismanagement of funds. I tried to trace this back to what was done before independence, i mean how do you give a powerful yet very dangerous tool to a kid without instructions on how to use. That is what happened. Later they try to fix the problem with Aid which makes it worse. For example, Global fund Aid in Uganda, Chogm Saga which all involved top politicians that even the judicial system apparently has failed to bring to Justice. As problems worsen like you have noted, what do western countries do? send donations to clean up the mess after seeing a very touching documentary on how people are dying of hunger and disease. the send this to NGO's and Government who are the masters of corruption. I did a study on NGO's in Uganda, and there is alot of aid given though 70% of it doesnot end up to the intended beneficiaries. I also did a case study of one NGO that has great impact in Uganda, and i discovered that because it has started Income generating activities and depends less on Aid, its able to use the minimal resources at hand to cause great impact giving accountability. Aid indeed is a long term solution that has even long term consequences to development.

      Tribal, cultural clashes are partly caused when resources are unevenly shared. We need good management and stewards not politician
      • Dec 13 2011: I agree with you completely, but I did not know 70% of aid is wasted. It may even be higher, the 'volunteers' who are on the street selling charity subscriptions (in Dublin) get paid more than I ever did. €14 something an hour to be precise, with bonuses for a lot of sales (subscriptions). I was offered a job once, they said we would be travelling for 2 weeks around Ireland, staying in 4 or 5 star hotels (no joke), all expenses covered. Naturally I refused.

        I do not think the way forward is through politicians, it will just take too long. As you said, look at Libya and Egypt (though Egypt is in uproar about military rule), they used the Internet to start a revolution. Maybe it will eventually spread south. These things can be quite infectious. And as Libya was seen as a 'sucess', nations will probably be more willing to lend similar aid, if it came to that.

        Is another problem not that a lot of the countries own a lot of money to the banks? I mean, so much, with such high rates that one cannot pay off the interest on it, creating a permanent black hole in the economy.
  • thumb
    Jan 11 2012: its true that Africais so enriched with resources but it is also true that parents teach a child only to walk and then thereafter the child has to complete his journey by himself and same applies in case if Africa. Africa need guidnce and if they will look for aid to develop then again other nations will exploit their resources and they will be left nothing. So its high time for Africa to stand and star putting steps by themselves inspite of taking others help.
    • Jan 11 2012: Yes, Africa needs to stand up on their own. We have to take responsibility for our countries and stop blaming the west for our problems.
  • Jan 10 2012: Hmm...
    #1 The world needs clean energy.
    #2 The world needs sunlight to provide the clean energy.
    #3 The world needs large uninhabited land mass with year round sunlight to power the clean energy.
    #4 Africa has uninhabited land mass with year round sunlight to power clean energy.
    #5 If Africans are working (such as maintaining renewable energy) then they would not require hand-outs and would receive mass global investment which would actually benefit Africa..

    If only there was some way...to just..*strains mind*...put these things together...
    • Jan 11 2012: Good stuff Xavier, as regards to energy, Africa and we Africans are totally to blame. We have all the resources but have not the mind set to harness these resources. Recently, i visited some one whose home is totally independent in terms of energy. He use bio gas (which is so easy to make here) and has never seen a power bill from energy suppliers. I was blown away. We have the sun all year through but less than 5% of the population use this to generate solar energy. We are totally to blame, not our colonial masters or even our past bad rulers and the donors. We need to strain our brains further and see the endless possibilities there are for us
  • Jan 10 2012: Instead Of Wasting Gouverments money On helping The poor In Africa , Why we don't create Work Opportunities By Supporting Foreign direct investment ? We Should help them to Begin the Economic Construction of their Countries By guiding them to success especially that these countries have many Mining resources of high value in international stock markets like Gold , Silver And Diamonds ..
  • thumb
    Jan 9 2012: An excellent approach to empowering Africa (and beyond) coming up with solutions from the inside is the work that The Elders are doing. Look into it :-)

    " The group was initiated by Richard Branson and musician and human rights activist Peter Gabriel [...] to contribute their wisdom and independent leadership to address the world's toughest problems. Mandela announced the formation of this new group, The Elders, in a speech he delivered on the occasion of his 89th birthday.Archbishop Tutu serves as the chair of The Elders. The founding members of this group include nobel prizes Jimmy Carter, Kofi Annan, Muhammad Yunus, Martti Ahtisaari, Kofi Annan, Aung San Suu Kyi, and also Graça Machel, Ela Bhatt, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Li Zhaoxing, Mary Robinson and Fernando Henrique Cardoso." (Wikipedia)
  • Jan 7 2012: Many a times we have seen that throwing financial resources at a problem is NOT the solution. What Africa needs is to develop its human resource capacity to not only manage the financial resources that it gets but also it's natural resources that it has for the betterment of All Africans. In addition and before we introduce new interventions we need the leaders in Africa to engage more, commit more, and create open policies that will foster entrepreneurs and open trade amongst African countries to harness the true potential of AFRICA.
    • Jan 7 2012: Wonderful discussion, but we still havent yet answered the million dollar question. Yeah all of what you saying Africa needs to develop BUT, what practical steps can an individual whether African or not can do to bring this dream to reality. Actions speak louder than words
  • Jan 7 2012: Was in Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa recently, and was so very impressed by the locals I met there. A bicycle tour through Soweto was inspiring and humbling because of the incredibly gracious people. We in the west could learn so much about what is really important in this world by spending some time with people who have little materially.

    Western and now eastern money are both great opportunity and great dangers. The potential to build infrastructure is great. But the temptation, even for the most well intended leader, is also great. And the corporations know it's easier to enrich a few leaders who will then exploit the land and people, than it is to take the more responsible path. How can particularly mineral rich African countries development governments who won't succumb to these temptations?

    One thing that seems crystal clear is that peace and stability are fundamental necessities to improving quality of life.
  • Jan 5 2012: Some interesting points raised above. To understand this confused continent of Africa, one has delve into imperial rule where the seeds of greed took root.

    Africa is a paradox in the sense that the region has tremendous wealth of natural resources, that are in many cases the global source of such minerals; and crippling poverty.

    How is this possible? Tribal divisions have been exploited. As some of you have stated, corruption is rife, with Uga anda as excellent example. However, western corporates have exacerbated by the West, an soon to be east (China).

    I remember problem solving in junior school, where one had to work backwards to get the answer needed. I use this analogy as I believe the following the trail of money, and weapons, you will get a clearer picture.

    I notice how Brazil, whose economy can be loosely connected with African regions; are managing to grow in this global economy. This has been partly aided by the wiping, and favorable debt repayments to IMF. Maybe Africa can use this template.

    There are elements in soceity, that wish to keep Africa in this constant state of turmoil. Like a pyromaniac, it is easy to start, a fire, walk away, and watch from afar when chaos ensues.

    I conclude, by paraphrasing my previous point: Whom, where and what benefit from the current African status quo?
  • Jan 3 2012: I hate to agree but you are right Rhona, role of women is tremendous in world wide. Many ladies have even excelled in many areas better than me. It was so sad that back in the days women were only looked as children producing machines.
    Education system needs a total overhaul especially of Africans who had need to tailor-make the system to cope up with the ever growing world to suite our challenges. If given the capacity, i would incorporate more creative elements, subjects and value it more. Like Sir.Ken argued, the current education system is killing creativity yet world over, creativity is literally driving every thing.
  • Jan 2 2012: tishe, as I said.......ANYTHING POSITIVE IS POSSIBLE! (I seem to quote myself a lot.) Yeah, anything positive is possible. Africa could wake up today, acknowledge it's own power (e.g., resources, people), acknowledge and implement equal power for all males and females and then it's economy will take off yielding all the positive consequences that will inevitably occur from doing the right things. And all this can happen quickly. World markets will welcome the good resources and products Africa will offer, as soon as women and men work together as equals within all realms of society.
  • Jan 2 2012: Gerald, tishe, could we please have a little bit of optimism here?! Anything positive is possible! Africa does not need to wait for others to do anything. Africa can raise it's own consciousness about equalizing the power between males and females and raise itself up. Africa has the resources. Africa has the people power. Just make sure women and men contribute equally within all sectors of society and you will see the well-being of Africa soar causing good health, prosperity and happiness for all males and females. Give it a try. Just acknowledge the equality of women and men and make sure they have equal power everywhere. It's that simple. Happy Today.
  • thumb
    Jan 2 2012: Agreed. As an African, I feel that aid does more harm than good. There are so many strings attached that sometime I feel that hampers our growth as a people.

    Before investing in anything, we need to invest in education. Ignorance is prevalent in African society and the longer we ignore this, the deeper we'll find ourselves in poverty. Living in China, I've seen the level of competition in the education system. I feel that we not only need to adapt the education system in accordance to our respective communities-in other words, we need to adjust ourselves and ditch this western education system that sometimes doesn't teach us anything about our history and our people and resources- but we should also change the way we educate, as well as increase the emphasis of competition in education. To do this, I think that we should make public school places kids actually want to learn in. If we also emphasized on extra-curricular activities, we would show our youth that they can excel in other areas in life and as a result, there's not such a rigid box in which they're supposed to fit. We need to raise and educate our youth because they are the leaders of tomorrow and we need to teach them and teach ourselves how to manage things.

    Corruption is rampant because we don't place enough emphasis on anti-corruption laws. If we tightened our legal systems, made corruption a more... serious crime if you will and made the punishments for that much more serious and make efforts to catch these people out.

    We emphasize too greatly on our need for aid. So much that we've been crippled and made ourselves totally dependent on foreign aid, so much that when this aid is withdrawn, for whatever reason, we struggle and our economic situation worsens. We need to be able to stand on our own two feet and we need to stop selling ourselves short.

    Our resources are precious and if we need to sacrifice short-term profits in order to be able to maximise their worth in the long run, then we should.
  • thumb
    Dec 31 2011: Hey Karina, food for thought for sure. Thanks for the suggestions, will look into them. I simplify (too much maybe), peel back the layers, look to the core of situations. I beleive that we create the most part of our own hang-ups and dramas then sit complacently and wait for quick fixes. I generalise too easily, I admit but I have faith in humanity, in that we can overcome adversity when we have the genuine will to do so, the inspiration to progress and evolve. I also beleive that there is a ponit in the course of events when the universe/nature intervenes and that is why at the end of the day, truth/honesty/good, whatever you want to call the positivity, prevails and comes to the surface. It's like the way that nature has a way of healing itself and ensuring the balance between predators and prey or fires which lead to forestation....
  • Dec 31 2011: I say, too many humans, are dying in this country. With respect to you.
  • Dec 30 2011: Thanks, Frans. HAPPY TODAY to you and all you love.
  • thumb
    Dec 30 2011: Gerald, very challenging discussion, thanks!
  • thumb
    Dec 29 2011: Africa as a whole must change socially and politically. If those in power obtained it by force and not by the consent of the people they rule, they should be remove. Once the people control their own resources, they can then work with other nations rather than supply them. However this is not possible with the current outside influences still financing the warlords that supply them with the resources they desire.
  • thumb
    Dec 28 2011: Uganda is an emerging nation asm it has shown a increased national gain for the last few years. There appears to be a unknown reserve of natural gas and oil. A major concern is no port for shipping and a reliance on Kenya for shipping. Through well written contracts and development of a national workforce a continuing progress should be recognized. Tourism could become a major industry. Dependence on the US for support is not always good. Although it is my home land, I know that consessions are always part of any deal. Go forth and develop your country. Trade agreements and recognition are necessary but reliance is unacceptable.
  • thumb
    Dec 23 2011: We urgently need scolastic education to prepare people for life and we need healthcare to enhance peoples feeling of worth and dignity. The rest will fall into place.
    • thumb
      Dec 30 2011: Please understand that the western educational model (can we even agree there is only one?) is designed for the west, and even there it is not achieving its goal (for starters, http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html)

      While education in African countries may be needed to some extent, don't assume it should look like it does for you and me; don't underestimate their centuries old oral traditions, deeply ingrained sense of community, manual crafts passed from one generation to the next, PE classes taking place in the fields while collecting fruit, biology knowledge acquired through experience in the field, and political system derived from deep beliefs and natural laws.
      They have a right to be different too -dignity does not have only ONE color, or ONE shape...
      • thumb
        Dec 30 2011: One world and a shared reality. We co exist and are mutually dependant, math, science, biology, history, etc guide us to a common respect for each other and for the planet, mother nature. There are consequences which arise from ignorance, things like war, pollution, waste. Fortunately ignorance has an antidote, simple education. In the past we made mistakes because we didn't know better and we were heirarchically classified along false tiers of importance. Some people were worth "0", enslaved and abused. On the other extreme one did not look into the eyes of a monarch or pope when you addressed them, they were considered holier than though. Please, lets come into the 21st century with dignity and our heads held high. We need the same base to depart from and a formal education can provide that. The best we have now is the "western" system which you refer to with a hint of irony, but it's a good starting point.
        • thumb
          Dec 30 2011: Raimondo, I hear you.

          I encourage you to look deeper, as you sound very interested in this subject. Try to get more into what is being done through different large organizations and small ones, Government based, NGO's, faith based, etc. And then compare. Look at approaches, maybe start with TED talks (Cameron Sinclair worked in one project in Africa that left me speechless, very green, very 21st century, and very sensitive to local idiosyncrasies)

          As an educator, believe me, I hear you, and I care. But I press my point, the western model IS NOT for Africa just as much as not one continent has one educational model. And Africa is arguably the most diverse among them.

          The opening phrase, "one world and a shared reality", sounds good. But is it sound?

          One world -careful here, do you mean one earth? Yes, it is one earth-but we are not one, we are all in it, and by virtue of this we have a SHARED RESPONSIBILITY as well as an individual accountability.

          But "shared reality"???? Not at all. Data is only a small part of our reality. What you see is not what you get. Your name, your age, your picture, if we assume are real, are not you. Oftentimes we are, despite them!

          The issue of reality is a big one, and even outside of the metaphysical arena, I cannot say that my reality comes even close to that of the child soldier who was snatched from his loved ones at age 6 and was forced to kill them, or the lobbyist in DC reworking his network of contacts to make his next move and secure his weekend in Paris.

          Here's a neat look into reality from several angles http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MegfvexZ3MY&list=PL772F19B5FDC724F7&index=1&feature=plpp_video
  • Dec 16 2011: Great insight Louis, surrendering power is a great problem. Its inherent in humans. Africa's social structure in many countries is more to that we give more respect to local and cultural leaders that to Heads. This however is changing thus the current conflicts.
    About resources, yes, we have all, both natural and human resources. What we lack are good stewards of these resources. I have always augured that the world needs managers( stewards) not politicians, Politicians mess this up. But effective change is gradual and gatherers momentum; though sometimes may me rapid like revolution which is usually violent but should not be justified when All peaceful means have Failed. Africa will Get there