WHERE IS AFRICA NOW?
Written by: Sihle Makhowana
From the dark ages of colonialism to making new beginnings with prosperous economies, it can be safely said that the African continent has made great strides in pulling away from its dark history.
When people speak of Africa their sentiments are usually associated with poverty, corruption, social unrest, poor leadership and crime but that is not all this continent is known for.
Previously submerged with oppression raging from all different sources such as the economic instability, slavery, lack of transformation, inequality and mediocre leadership, the African continent is slowly breathing life filled with new hope. The Millennium Development Goals that were introduced as measures to bring about development in the continent are slowly delivering the much expected results but challenges have been present to delay development.
Durban University of Technology, Journalism Lecturer, Isaiah Mutombo who has immense experience in development studies in Africa told JournalismIziko the vital issues that make or break development in Africa.
“There has been development in Africa ranging from many factors such as healthcare, education and public infrastructure,” said Mutombo.
“Countries such as Tunisia have improved in education and also countries such as Burkina Faso have also improved in immunization of children but not all countries have enjoyed great development, countries like Tanzania till this day women die while giving birth because their healthcare system is not up to standard,” added Mutombo.
It all started in the year 2000 when both developed and developing countries set together at the round table and discussed the future of Africa. The summit was held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York with an attendance of 149 Heads of State and Government and high-ranking officials from over 40 other countries. These discussions for many marked the end of poverty and brought in a new hope of development one that will see African people thriving both in their social wellbeing and economically.
Hawa Majola, an Economics & Management 3rd year student at the Durban University of Technology, told JournalismIziko about vital issues which should have been addressed before commencing with the discussions of developing Africa.
“Before the negotiations started what should have been done was to cancel the debt of African countries because lot of African countries back then were indebted to western countries and that had a huge impact regarding the pace at which those countries developed at,” said Majola.
“Through development there have been challenges; one major challenge being corruption accompanied by lack of leadership. All these have made it difficult for Africa as a continent to enjoy fruitful results,” added Majola.
“African countries have all shared different success when it comes to achieving their millennium goals, South Africa being the prime example we rich in minerals and that has played in our advantage whereas other countries like Somalia are not fortunate and do not have a stable source of wealth like minerals and in that case they development is largely dependent on other sources such as education,” said Majola.
Although the African continent can be said to have developed from what it was two decades ago, Mutombo argues that much could have been done and achieved had countries appointed specialists to head development projects.
“Much success would be visible today had Africans took charge in the development process but instead the western and already developed countries were leading the projects. Till this day we are still informed by the western media about issues which happen where we stay, we know what Africans need, we live in these conditions and only us can improve our living conditions and economic status,” said Mutombo.
“We as Africans have to move away from this culture of cadre deployment and appoint people on merit make sure that whomever we appoint has relevant experience that field,” added Mutombo.
The African continent may have been engulfed with different challenges such as colonialism but Africans are not allowing their history to define their future.
*Caption: Developing Africa from the ground-up.