Development Must Not Be Abstract

Published on 8th May 2012

The heated debate over the criteria that was used to award an International Standard Organisation (ISO) certification for service delivery to the City Council of Nairobi is healthy. The Council’s clients hold that it is ironical to award the Council in spite of the glaring sewerage problems, poor street lighting, bad roads, land grabbing and corruption plaguing the city.

The debate brings into focus the mismatch between labels and the situation on the ground. The present moment, for example, has been widely hailed or ‘certified’ as Africa’s Century. Six of the ten fastest-growing economies globally in the 10 years to 2010 were reportedly in Africa. In addition, seven of the ten fastest-growing economies in the five years to 2016 are projected to hail from Africa. Africa is hailed to be a continent of opportunity.

While these terminologies are attractive and paint an optimistic picture of the continent, they ought not to mask the increasing uprisings by citizens against their states as is seen in Mali, Guinea Bissau, Tunisia, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Kenya and DR Congo, among others. Africa’s Citizens are tired of development that is either abstract or owned by minority elite. Consequently, the continent’s leaders ought to ensure that improvement in living standards is realized amongst the electorate.


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