After 50 years in the wilderness, does a Promised Land exist for Africa?

Nigeria will on 1st October be celebrating 50 years of independence; one of the seventeen African countries doing so this year. Covering this historical occasion, the media have been interviewing Nigerians on its significance. The response has been split. Some say that there is nothing to celebrate that is unless corruption, rampant power cuts and poverty can be termed as achievements. Others say that there is a lot to celebrate, at the very least for the historical fact that the country has made half a century of indigenous rule.

“What is there to celebrate anyway? … After all it took 40 years for the Israelites to get out of the wilderness and get to the Promised Land. Yet 50 years and counting what have these African countries achieved?”

That was one of the views aired on the BBC regarding the impending Nigerian independence day celebrations whose costs are said to be in the billions of naira.

And it is a valid sentiment. Why is it that the same development challenges such as poverty and hunger that Africa’s post-independence founding fathers said they would focus on remain?

Maybe a paradigm shift in our thinking towards the continent’s progress is required. Instead of beginning at the point where we wish to eradicate poverty, why don’t we think about how Africa can add value to its assets.

For starters why not focus on innovation so that agriculture does not have to be dependent on whether it rains.

Africa’s resource curse could also be turned into blessings. A best case practice for this is how Botswana has managed its extraction industry.

Africa is also home to a vast and wide array of ethnic groups. If seen as an asset, bringing together the best traditional knowledge whilst banishing harmful practices and inter ethnic hatred will spur more growth.

However, Africa’s largest untapped asset is its youth. If policies were aimed at enriching them rather than containing their energies, the results could only be astounding. One of the reasons for the huge uptake of the internet and mobile technology on the continent has been young people, who not only use social media to network, but have also built on new applications that are proving to benefit all sectors of society.

So, is there a promised land? It depends from which angle you look at it. Maybe Africa is already there.

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About yipe
Yipe an acronym for the Youth Interactive Portal for Enterprise is an organization that assists entrepreneurs to start up and manage their small businesses.

One Response to After 50 years in the wilderness, does a Promised Land exist for Africa?

  1. dennis kiplimo says:

    this is really great work

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