Is Africa Really Rising? : The Raging Debate

Published on 24th December 2019

The more Africans jump up and down about RISING – I don't know what is exciting about the RISING, as realities on the ground belies the euphoria. Typically, Africans and by extension their cousins in Caribbean and America like to mask their realities and resort to FEELING GOOD.

Any nation in the 21st century that does not have water and wastewater systems HAS NOTHING worthy to be excited about.

In Ghana as in many sub-Saharan African nations – they do not have water and wastewater. Many of the cities have open gutter which often are clogged and filled with solid waste, all contributing to the stench that greets one when they visit – that is assuming their smelling cells are working.

Take Nigeria for instance – the most populous black nation in the world – with population reported to be more than 150m, occupying an area slightly bigger than Texas, no city and or region has water and wastewater systems. But Nigerians are quick to point how wonderful their culture and traditions are – but guess what, they do in the open. On a recent visit to Nigeria, people just pull over on the side of the road to answer to the call of nature – no shame in the game. Sanitary conditions in Nigeria are so depressing that one is cautioned eating anything. After they do #2, they do not wash their hands – there is no water - duh!!

Forget the so-called mansions, parade of degrees and certificates [education for show], big cars and fancy and fake jewelries from India, China and Pakistan they all wear – there is no substance behind the SHOW.

Regrettably, when most African-Americans visit, they get caught up in the fanfare and get blinded to the physically depressing conditions. The black race is hardly critical of themselves. They console themselves by looking for someone to blame – White or Europeans. This flies in the face that for most African nations, they have had the opportunity to govern themselves and set a new tone for their collective existence. Instead, the blame game is on as they have no shame in their self-inflicted conditions.

Finally, I wonder what returning African-Americans will offer Ghana – they are not business owners who control major corporations or investors with resources. They have not given their various neighborhoods – therefore, what do they really have to offer Africa or Ghana? Let's be honest, we must speak to the facts about us before we can collectively address the situations in our communities and countries.

The black race in-continent or away, is just a reflection of itself – one once colonized and or enslaved – going through life whining and waling about the past refusing to brace for now and the future. Blood sure does not lie – prove me wrong.

By Ejike E. Okpa

Dallas, Texas.

Africa Is Rising

Mr. Okpa, I am sure you received divergent responses from what appears to be your strong, provocative personal opinion. I understand you are a Nigerian American but I am not sure whether you grew up  in the US or if you are a second-generation Nigerian American shocked by what you saw just like any foreigner visiting Africa for the very first time. You are also disgruntled about the Africans on the continent as well as the African Americans here in the US. I will only confine my comment on the continent of Africa.

Much of what you are venting is true, but not all. I was born, raised and formally educated in Uganda for my first 25 years of my life before I moved to the UK, Germany and now the USA for over 30 years.  I know East Africa very well. I have also been back many times not just for a 2-week holiday visit like most diasporas do. At one point I stayed for a prolonged 2-year period from 2012 to 2015. As recently as 2017, I also had the opportunity to tour the Nigerian states of Lagos, Enugu, Akwa Ibom, Enugu, and Anambra on a business trip with the officers of our company. 

During all my African travels back and forth, I never stayed in five-star hotels or confined in protected elite suburbs. I don't come from a privileged African family either or connected to any ruling class. Therefore, all the unsightly underdevelopment that you saw is common knowledge to me.  We call it underdevelopment. 

The fact that you are on President Trump's Prosper Africa Committee and preaching African doom and gloom concerns me, to say the least; especially since the purpose of Prosper Africa is to unlock opportunities for US to do business in Africa. What you must consider is being part of the solution. It's perfectly fine for you to point out these humongous problems in Africa. However, you must highlight them as opportunities for US companies, investors and innovators.

Inaction, abandonment or discouraging others to go to Africa is dangerous and can affect the US and other developed nations in ways that you may or may not be aware of. There is hope and opportunities for Africa and the world alike. Societal inequality is an equal opportunity problem; no country anywhere in the world is immune. Everybody struggles with inequality here in the US. The way to close the gaps is to continually pursue and promote sustainable and inclusive development that some countries in Africa are determined to embrace. It is not easy but it can be done and it will be done. It will require a generational change led by the relentless and demanding young Africans with a new political and economic culture. It is true, Africa has been at the bottom of the pile for decades; thanks to the continents self-serving African leaders and their global partners but those days will end over time.

There is an upcoming generation of a widely traveled and internationalized Africans armed with a great burst of determination and capable of influencing change. Knowledge is power and thanks to technology, knowledge is no longer a monopoly of the West.  There are signs of transformation and optimism that, obviously, you are not aware of. The upcoming generation is calling for a re-examination of dysfunctional political and economic structures that have failed to deliver either liberty or a minimum of economic prosperity. It is a matter of time before visionaries will find their rightful place one at a time. This is the big picture which you don't seem to see while you focus on the shortage of water and water systems and people peeing and defecating on the streets.

Leading Africans and those in the diaspora are not ashamed about pointing to the continent's failures by Africans but they also speak boldly and positively about confronting them and finding solutions. That's what we should be doing.

Although you have many links and photos that may sway the less informed to your views, there are equally countless positive links and in-depth publications that give and demonstrable the progress currently being made.  Do yourself a favor and listen to some of our best forward thinkers and leaders such as Prof. Patrick Loch Otieno Lumumba, President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana and Dr. Arikana Chihombori-quao to name a few. You will be surprised by how much they differ from your message of Africa's hopelessness.  Many of their speeches are readily available on YouTube. 

Africa is a big elephant and fits in very well with the parable of the blind men and the elephant. Many, like you, will draw conclusions about Africa depending on what part of the elephant they touch. Learn more if you are going to continue being on important African committees. Maybe you will see things differently.

By Isaac Sebakijje

Global Green Development Group.

This article has been read 2,905 times