“Politics, at the end of the day, simply cannot explain Africa’s prolonged economic crisis. The claim that Africa’s corruption is the basic source of the problem does not withstand practical experience or serious scrutiny” – Jeffrey Sachs
Several weeks ago, I seriously pondered on the issue of development in Africa, and expectedly, an avalanche of ‘whys’ and ‘why nots’ flooded my consciousness. Coupled with the famed rumours of the Mayan ‘End of The World’ saga some weeks earlier, I shuddered to imagine the world end with Africa still remaining in this sorry state of widespread poverty, disease, illiteracy, bad governance and backwardness. The chronic ridicule, mockery and derision that have greeted the Black race type, comparing her to lower forms of life, was disquieting; it was shameful to say the least! I had asked myself “what went wrong”? I felt we had been cheated; I felt we had been denied a place of honour and dignity in the comity of nations. We have been shipwrecked! Could all these woes be the result of mere bad luck or happenstance? I wondered! However, my theological mind and orientation that has subscribed to the theory of Intelligent Design of creation and Divine Agenda in the scheme of things, would not accept fate by chance. Hence, I wrote on twitter that “…” This gave rise to a brief dialogue with a friend below:
@EmekeOssai: The world cannot end until Africa sees development, or else, God would have proven that He’s partial!
Friend: Our destiny lies in our hands!
@EmekeOssai: Yeah, but it would have shown that we are an inferior race.
Friend: The Onus lies on Africans to make Africa great and none (Colonial masters, not even God) is to be blamed for Africa’s Paraplegia!
@EmekeOssai: Sure! But if others could, why have we not? Don’t you think we are an inferior race?
Friend: We weren’t created to be inferior…We made ourselves (the Leaders mainly) inferior!
@EmekeOssai: Why did others not make themselves inferior?
Friend: The Pathology in Africa has been Inept, Selfish and Visionless Leadership…
@EmekeOssai: I know the Pathology. I am asking why other races don’t have the same Pathology. Why Africa?
Friend: Do you feel we were created to be inferior? Please, don’t accuse God of Racism!
@EmekeOssai: All I have said and still saying is that since God isn’t a racist and is just, the development of Africa is sacrosanct!
From the above, it is glaring that I finally came to a conclusion that since God is just, not racist and impartial, He would definitely allow Africa to taste modern development as a proof that we are not inherently inferior as a race. But how did I come to this conclusion? I searched, researched, and found out that the rest of the world left us behind simply because of our geography; nay, an accident of Nature. In his book ‘The End of Poverty’, Jeffrey Sachs noted that countries are shaped profoundly by their location, neighbourhood, topography, and resource base. Adam Smith, also in his book ‘The Wealth of Nations’ (1776) observed – “Africa had been poor from time immemorial because it lacked the navigable rivers and natural inlets that afford the benefits of low-cost, sea-based trade.”
Historically speaking, the major barrier to development, and the stagnation seen in Africa was due to her relative isolation from the rest of the ancient world caused by geographical obstacles to communication both internally and externally. The Sahara has been a barrier in the north, and the Atlantic coast had no contact with the rest of the until the first Europeans arrived around 1500. While the rest of the world kept on changing and developing through the exchange of ideas and its transmission from generation to generation, Black Africa remained stagnant. It is noteworthy that Africa has a whopping 15 landlocked countries, which is by far the most of any continent. Some have alluded that corruption is the cause of our underdevelopment, but statistics show otherwise. For example, Ghana with a corruption perception rank (CPR) of 70 had an average yearly GDP per capita growth of 0.3 from 1980-2000 period; Malawi with CPR of 83 had 0.2 average growth. However, India with an equal CPR of 83 with that of Malawi, had a growth of 3.5 (17.5 times more); Indonesia with a CPR of 122 had an average growth of 3.5.
With all our setbacks as a race, I found solace and repose in an idea beyond the intricacies of politics and economics. I remembered that it is inherently embedded in the earth’s organic form to go through cycles. I also reasoned that nations go through historical cycles, and where a thing or phenomena begins, there will it end, most likely. Hence, civilization which started in Africa 5,150 years ago (but did not spread) will surely revisit the continent in an amazing and unprecedented way. The Mayans have a Long Count calendar which lasts just over 5,125 years, which is referred to as a Great Cycle. Mayan theories of time are based around cycles that repeat themselves and extend on throughout history. The calendar actually ended 21 December, 2012, signifying the beginning of a new era, a new world order. Fortunately, it is no coincidence that this new era also approximates with the beginning of another historical cycle of civilization. Therefore, a new wave of development will begin to greet Africa. Get ready!!!
Written by Emeke Ossai