Welcome to #InspireAfricaProject! On the 4th of December 2015, about 35 African heads of state gathered in Jonannesburg, South Africa to meet President Xi Jinping of China who pledged a $60 billion loan to help in developing Africa. According to analysts, a portion of the loan is zero-interest, while the other part will be repaid with interest. My major concern is not whether China gave us zero-interest loan or not, but why should a continent that is blessed with all manner of natural resources gather in South Africa to indirectly beg China for money? There is no free money anywhere in the world!
Most loans are like baits that developed nations uses to control underdeveloped nations. Again, in most cases, the same China will be awarded the contracts to execute the projects that this same loan was earmarked for! So China gives us loan, and we will award contracts to them from the same loan, and pay back the money with interest. I am a strong believer in the transformation of Africa and that’s why most of my discussions and articles are centered on how to wake this sleeping giant up from slumber.
For many years, African leaders have always done one thing; beg developed nations for aid and hope that some magicians will come from outside Africa to transform our continent. Yes every nation craves for Foreign Direct Investments (FDI), but we must understand that the only set of people that can transform this great continent is Africans themselves!
From my analysis, aid cannot transform Africa, it is making our nations business friendly like Singapore, and encouraging entrepreneurs with incentives like YouWin (initiated during President Goodluck Jonathan’s leadership in Nigeria) that can transform our continent. Begging for aid makes the world see us as a charity case instead of investment destination. Begging for aid empowers the donors to dictate to us on how to live our lives just like they are trying very hard to force gay marriages down our throat!
William Easterly opined that, “The West spent $2.3 trillion in foreign aid over the last five decades and still has not managed to get 12-cent medicines to children to prevent half of all malaria deaths.” That goes to show that these gifts are actually not targeted at solving problems but to control the people. Although some organizations like Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are really doing a great work, but sometimes these gifts are designed to control the people.
Professor Vijay Mahajan equally said that, ” Research on the impact of aid by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded that billions of dollars of aid did not boost growth and may have adverse effects on competitiveness such as dampening the export sector of recipient countries.”
Depending on aid to survive has two major challenges. First, the aid cast the recipient as a victim rather than an active worker in driving change. Secondly, the pleas for aid for the continent reinforce the global perception of the problems in Africa. The more the world focuses on disease, malnutrition, corruption, and other problems, the more the value of the continent suffers.
Charity campaigns inadvertently contribute to the negative public perception of Africa. What now happens is that potential investors see Africa as a charity case, instead of seeing investment opportunities. You want the world to be sympathetic about the challenges facing Africa, but seeing the continent as a basket case undermines interest in building businesses and making investments there.
The former cultural minister of Mali wrote to former French President in April 2005 and said, “The fight against poverty amounts to begging and submisiveness, leading to reforms that make us even poorer.” That’s one of the forces that is holding Africa down. He who pays the piper dictates the tune. African leaders must stop looking up to anybody or organization for help, and look inward. We should stop telling the world that Africa is a charity case and start talking about investments.
Tony Blair’s Commission for Africa concluded in its 2005 report that, “Africa must drive its own development. If Africa does not create the right conditions for development, then any amount of outside support will fail.” We need to move beyond charity to sustainable market development. These are projects that improve living conditions and produce a profit, which makes them viable business investments. As a company slogan says, “Africa needs trade not aid to fight poverty.”
Africans should stop begging for aid because it’s killing our image globally. We should start talking about entrepreneurship and trade, not aid! In the subsequent article, I will look at the major structures that drives economic development like political stability, easy accessibility of funds and creating business friendly environment. I strongly believe that our generation have the capacity to transform Africa. Are you ready to play your part?
You can order for my book, The Entrepreneur, and read more on why we don’t need aid, and how entrepreneurship can transform Africa! On the 26th June, 2016, at Villa Park Hotel, Amuwo Odofin, Lagos, I will be speaking at Inspire Africa Project Conference! The theme is Money Making Opportunities In Nigeria! We made the admission affordable (N2,000) so that an average Nigerian youth can attend the conference. You can pay or transfer into this account and come with your teller; King’s Uncommon Wisdom Limited. 0141855113. GTBank.
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