Ebola: Economic Lessons for Africa

Published on 4th November 2014

The African Union has resorted to asking the continent’s richest people to raise $100 million to pay the costs for volunteer doctors and nurses fighting Ebola in West Africa. The world’s largest Ebola outbreak has killed almost 5,000 people in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone since December, exposing the region’s soft health and financing underbelly. About 5,000 international medical, training and support personnel are needed over the coming months to respond to the outbreak.

Africa ought to have many millionaires but the old order of brandishing political and ethnic brands at the expense of ‘cake-baking’ brands has robbed it of its would-be millionaires.The culture of galvanising populations around “eating” the national cake instead of “baking” new ones and  fronting ‘messianic’ politics has not only shrunk the cake but enabled only a select few with connections to “the messiah” to enjoy the cake.

Africa must shun the old order and creatively come up with a system that will make individual Africans to bake their own cakes instead of relying on centralized cake handouts. The continent’s constitutions should be revised to enable all Africans to partake of their national cake by restricting a single group from using the law to monopolize the cakes. The continent must also quit the inherited economic systems that see it major on the production and export of primary goods. It must abstain from reforms that please donors to reforms that encourage entrepreneurship. This will raise more rich people, expand the African cake and avail ready funds for challenges in Africa.

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