Thursday, 23 February 2017 06:13

The future of Africa- Femi Komolafe

The current population of Africa, according  to the United Nations, is 1.1 billion, which is about 16 per cent of the world’s population. This 16 per cent takes 40 per cent of the entire world resources and 60 per cent of the world’s arable lands (see Global Public Square). There is crude oil in Nigeria, Libya, Algeria, Angola and Egypt. 

There is Chromium in Congo. Sierra Leone, Angola and Botswana have Diamond Mines. Gabon has Manganese. Ghana and South Africa have Gold. Guinea has bauxite in great proportion (the 5th largest in the world). The entire worth of World’s Gold is $2.6 trillion and Africa takes $1.3trillion of it. 

Moreover, Africa supplies 30 per cent of the world’s demand for bauxite, cobalt, gold, manganese, phosphate and uranium; 57 per cent of chromium and diamonds; and 12 per cent of oil.

Mercantilism is an economic theory that says ‘a nation’s wealth is determined by its natural resources that are traded. Going by the above analysis of resources in African nations, one can easily conclude that Africa is the richest continent in the world. 

Yet, Africa is the poorest inhabited continent in the world. Of the 20 poorest nations in the world in 2013, Africa takes 17. In spite all the wealth that God has blessed Africa  with, its nations are still the poorest in the world. What is wrong? My answer: it is lack of management. Then, where and how did we get it wrong?

Dr. Myles Munroe once said “You can never fully understand a thing until you go to its root.” So, my love for Africa made me to begin to research into the roots of Africa’s problem and I discovered that what brought us to this point of mismanagement, disorder, misappropriation and underdevelopment is ignorance.

Many African nations fought for independence ignorantly. We wanted independence from the colonial masters by all means without first acquiring enough knowledge on how to manage our resources and lead like those British masters would lead. 

We were like the prodigal son in the Holy Bible that asked for his inheritance without first asking for the knowledge to manage the inheritance. So, we began to have ignorant personnel who knew nothing about what leadership is all about as leaders over us. Nothing destroys a leader like lack of preparation. 

Nothing is more damaging like plunging those who don’t know how to manage into abundance. A former Head of State in Nigeria once said that “money was no longer the problem of Nigeria but how to spend it”. This undoubtedly set the stage for plundering of the treasury.

African nations failed woefully in this aspect of preparing for leadership through vast knowledge acquisition before fighting for independence.The way you prepare is the way you will appear. Truly we gained freedom but we were only freed physically we were never freed mentally. 

That is why we still depend on America and Britain for aid. What a shame! What is the way out? A wise man in this nation said “There is no mountain before any man; everyone’s ignorance is his mountain”. 

The way out is for us all to begin to embrace knowledge through books, internet research and interaction with great minds. Knowledge is Power. Knowledge is light. Knowledge is freedom.

Knowledge is life. History has it that between 2900 B.C and 300 BC, Africa was leading in education as people came from all over the world to Egypt for education. So, education began in Africa. 

Again, civilisation started in Africa. Thereafter, Athens in Greece took over as the second centre in the days of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, the great Greek Philosophers. From there to Britain and now to U.S.A. Everywhere education went, civilisation went too and development also went. 

Today, U.S.A is a world power not because of trade and commerce but because of intellectual property. Of the first 10 best universities in the world 8 are in USA; of the top 100, 48 are in U.S.A. That is why they are the most powerful nation. Knowledge is  power!

Japan was once very broke, in fact more broke that Nigeria. They called their children together and told them they were the only assets they had; sent them to America and Britain to go and learn and they came back with technology building. 

They are the 3rd strongest economy today. Until we begin to embrace knowledge we may never see any drastic change. People are the greatest assets of any nation and a nation is weak when its people are weak. 

When the people are strong mentally the nation becomes strong eventually. If ignorance brought us to where we are, it will take knowledge to get us out.

Young people in Africa should begin to acquire knowledge by every means possible so as to become unusual managers, hyper-resourceful technocrats and expert thinkers. 

It is no longer enough to be a graduate, we need to become bookworms in and out of school. Every great thinker, reformer and revolutionary that I know living or dead is a bookworm. 

To mention a few - Abraham  Lincoln, John. F. Kennedy, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Martin Luther King Jr, Myles Munroe, Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama, Bill Gates among others. Every truly powerful man in the world is a book worm.

Your first pursuit in life should not be to be known but to know because when you know you will definitely be known. When you are loaded you will be needed. And it is what you take in that will take you out. 

Please, don’t run after leadership positions let positions run after your brain. It is your investment in research that will make you to be searched out. Dr. David Oyedepo said “School can only make you literate but it is your investment in Literature that will eventually create your future”.

I believe Africa has a great future and the future is in the hands of the youths. Let every African youth that loves his nation and continent begin to desperately seek knowledge. 

Read many books on Leadership, History, and Nation Building. The future of Africa is in knowledge. God bless Africa! God bless Nigeria!

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