“... World population growth is widely recognized within the Government as a current danger of the highest magnitude calling for urgent measures...... it is of the utmost urgency that governments now recognize the facts and implications of population growth, determine the ultimate population sizes that make sense for their countries and start vigorous programs at once to achieve their desired goals.”
“... population factors are indeed critical in, and often determinants of, violent conflict in developing areas. Segmental (religious, social, racial) differences, migration, rapid population growth, differential levels of knowledge and skills, rural/urban differences, population pressure and the spatial location of population in relation to resources -- in this rough order of importance -- all appear to be important contributions to conflict and violence... Clearly, conflicts which are regarded in primarily political terms often have demographic roots. Recognition of these relationships appears crucial to any understanding or prevention of such hostilities.”
“...there is general agreement that up to the point when cost per acceptor rises rapidly, family planning expenditures are generally considered the best investment a country can make in its own future.”
~ National Security Study Memorandum 200: Implications of Worldwide Population Growth ~
Mfonobong Nsehe | American Chronicle
August 25, 2008
Recently, as part of an academic assignment at school, I was engaged in an intellectual debate with a few colleagues. We were seeking answers to the roots of Africa´s problems. It was an interesting discussion for me. Shockingly, the majority of my colleagues subscribed to the idea that the major cause of Africa´s social-political and economic problems was the legacy left behind by the colonial masters. As far as they were concerned, the colonialists ruined Africa for good. For the records, they had some strong arguments to support their claims. I do not intend to go into that.
Africa is known as the problem continent. And indeed, the problems are legion- Poverty, diseases, famine, poor leadership, religious conflicts, ethnic clashes and corruption are a few of them. With each passing day, the problems increase. For long, the economic and social underdevelopment of the African nation has been blamed on white colonialists who exploited the land and left Africa bare. Up till now, the blame game continues.
Africans are usually quick to blame most of its problems on the evils of colonialism. We sometimes blame the violence on the borders colonialists created that ignored ethnicity. Many African nations have been independent for four decades. If colonial borders were a major problem, how come they haven't changed them?
Colonialism cannot explain Third World poverty. Some of today's richest countries are former colonies, such as the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong. Some of today's poorest countries were never colonies, such as Ethiopia, Liberia, Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan. The colonialism argument is simply a cover-up for African dictators and people.
For as long as African keep bickering about the past without focusing on the future, the African people will continue to suffer. Pointing fingers at the colonial masters won't change the fact that the majority of people in Africa are living and dying in horrible conditions. The Europeans colonized Africa about 400 years ago. Right now, Africans are in trouble because they cannot manage their own problems. Instead of brainstorming and finding solutions to its numerous social and economic problems, the people hold out a begging bowl to the west in one hand, while punishing the remaining white people in the land with the other. (Does Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe and the Zimbabweans come to mind?)
We are responsible for our problems, but we prefer to blame others than to take a good look in the mirror. Fine, the colonialists were a bunch of bunch of greedy no-gooders, but if truths must be told, the self-interest of early colonialists pales in comparison to the personal greed of African leaders today. Those who blame Africa's problems on colonialism must not forget that the experience was not unique to Africa. Generally, the Asian countries that also experienced colonialism are doing fairly well. So what has Africa, or to be more precise, its leaders, been doing for the past 40 years?
What Africa needs is a lot of self-criticism. The fact that Africa breeds and worships figures like Mugabe, because of their own anti-white racism is disheartening. It's incredible that any white sends aid to Africa when Africans are anti-white racists.
You can't solve Africa's problems until the lies are all stripped away and you start comparing yourself to say Taiwan. Taiwan is not white, yet they have made amazing progress. They made this progress by managing their economy properly, and by working hard.
We need to strip away the black ideology that says that whites didn't do anything other than enslave blacks and are rich because of the exploitation of blacks. Taiwan didn't get rich because of that. So why do Africans think that that's how whites got rich?
And blacks enslaved blacks too; it's part of human history everywhere. So why isn't Africa rich due to the enslavement of themselves?
Were Africans better off under colonial administration than the despots who replaced them? Most African countries have had their independence for over three decades, yet, the report card our leaders have shown us are wars, famine and gross corruption. While it may be argued that Britain and other European countries did us more harm than good in colonizing us, it is high time we faced reality and realized that we are the architects of our own destiny. We need to choose what is good and bad, what future we want, and whether colonialism took us closer to what we want.
It's time we as Africans took responsibility for our troubles and stopped trying to guilt-trip the West into accepting responsibility for our problems. Since time immemorial, there have been empires- even African. These empires have always left great damage in their wake, but such damage is rectified through rebuilding and hard work, but not by laying blames and casting aspersions. As long as we look back in history to blame our troubles on the colonial masters, Africa will continually be the backward continent the whole world believes we are. To turn around the fortunes of Africa, it will take work and vision. And so Africa, enough with the blame games. Let´s shut up, re-examine ourselves, go back to the drawing board, rectify our mistakes and move on with our lives.
Mfonobong Nsehe is the founder of Echo Africa- a start-up Think Tank which tackles African development issues. E-mail: email@example.com
Source: American Chronicle
Mfonobong Nsehe | American Chronicle
February 17, 2009
Africa is known as the problem continent. Needless to say, the problems are many. Poverty, diseases, famine, poor leadership, religious conflicts, ethnic clashes and corruption are a few of them. With each passing day, the problems increase. It has been a series of disasters, with Africa recovering from one disaster, only to fall into another.
Africa´s numerous problems are two-fold: One being the natural problems such as Drought and famine, and the several deadly diseases such as Cholera, Typhoid, HIV/AIDS and Malaria which are most peculiar to the African nation. There is little we can do about these than to take preventive measures.
And then there are the problems Africans have created for themselves- problems which have continually hindered the success and progress of Africa for many, many years. We all know them by heart- Corruption, poor governance, poverty, religious and ethnic clashes stand out among the rest. Over the years, we have witnessed civil wars and related conflicts that have resulted in genocides such as we have seen in the DR Congo, Rwanda and Sudan´s Darfur region. These conflicts have been instigated by us Africans.
Here in Africa, a lot of debates have been going on as to the real causes of Africa´s problems. Many propositions have been made. Some ignorant people are quick to blame the colonial masters for about everything. Ethnic violence for instance, is blamed on the borders colonialists created that ignored ethnicity. Some Africans blame the underdevelopment of Africa on white colonialists who exploited the land and left Africa bare.
And then some Intellectuals and renowned scholars have summarized the problem of Africa into a failure of the continent´s leadership. To an extent, I tend to agree. However, in my real opinion, the problem of Africa is Africans themselves. They are the one who elect people into office, not based on the credibility of people to lead, but on how much bribe they are given by the political contestants. It is commonplace in many African states to find people vote individuals they know nothing about into government simply because the candidate bribes them with a few dollars. Africans have thrown their dignity to the wind. We have witnessed civil wars and related conflicts that have culminated in genocides of the sort that have been witnessed in Rwanda, some parts of the DR Congo, and in Sudan´s Darfur region. These conflicts have been instigated by us Africans themselves. It is unfortunate that Africans can wake up one morning and use machetes to kill a fellow countryperson because they are from different tribes. These conflicts have many of the time led to economic crisis, which in turn culminate into the poverty Africa is so famed for.
I will not deny that Africa has governance problems. Like hell, it does. If truths must be told, the majority of African leaders are a bunch of greedy no-gooders who are in power more to secure the futures of themselves and their families, than to develop their nations. In Africa, a position in government is viewed as an express ticket to wealth and prosperity. Hence, once elected into power, the majority of African leaders preoccupy themselves with acquiring wealth from the country´s coffers rather than dealing with the issues at hand affecting the problems of Africa.
African leaders have the mentality that once in power, they have to secure the future for themselves, their children´s and relatives´. Most of them get into power, neglecting the needs of the people who voted them into power (in democratic situations), and instead, devote their energies towards unscrupulously enriching themselves and relatives.
This mentality is fast gaining popularity to the youth—the future leaders. Unless African leaders do away with that mentality, Africa will always remain retrogressive. What is needed in Africa is a paradigm shift in the thinking of Africans, and a change in the entire political ideology in Africa.
It all starts with the mind. Three things Africans must do: First, stop blaming the colonialists for the underdevelopment of Africa. If anything, I think they still make up for it by the frequent aid they throw our way as Africans- for which Africa should be thankful. Secondly, our current and future African leaders must change their thinking patterns from thinking of government as a business venture, but rather, as selfless service to people. Finally, Africans must learn to live in love and unity- refusing to be divided by tribal, ethnic or religious lines whatever the case may be. If Africa can do this, Africa will well be on its way to seeing a new day. If Africa refuses, the continent is doomed forever.
Source: American Chronicle
Mfonobong Nsehe | American Chronicle
July 25, 2008
When Sudanese Telecoms billionaire, Mohammed Ibrahim launched the annual $5million prize for exemplary leadership in Africa, he imagined that the money would be enough to motivate Africa´s leaders to shun corruption, greed and self-interest and work towards developing their countries. He actually imagined that the money would go a long way in improving the continent´s sickening leadership problem.
But what attraction does $5million really hold for a typical African leader who controls billions of dollars of a country´s resources?
While Ibrahim´s intention in giving the prize was well motivated, it is very unlikely that the money will do much in solving Africa´s leadership problem. Ibrahim´s gift was a sort of incentive to entice Africa´s leaders to shun greed and corruption, and encourage selfless service in governance. It is wrong to assume that the morality of African leaders can be bought with money. You can never solve a greed problem with money.
The only way Africa is going to overcome its leadership problem is for the leaders themselves to have a paradigm shift in thinking, shun their avaricious tendencies, and scrap the idea that once in power, they are responsible for themselves and their families. Africans have gone through decades of untold pain, suffering, poverty and misery not because the continent is poor, but because the leaders have committed to serving themselves before anyone else.
As far as natural resources are concerned, Africa is arguably the world's richest continent. It houses about 50% of the world's gold, a huge chunk of the world's diamond reserves, chromium, cobalt, manganese, millions of acres of untilled farmland, as well as other natural resources. In spite of this, Africans are still the most impoverished people in the world. Its people live in the poorest situations imaginable. The bottom 25 spots of the United Nations (UN) quality of life index are regularly filled by African nations. Over 400 million people in Africa live on less than a dollar per day.
Africa has not been on the road to recovery as a result of the role of post-independent and contemporary African leadership. These bunch of leaders apparently do not care about the situation of their countries. How can one explain the fact that in an economy like Zimbabwe where millions of children can barely get an education, the country´s first lady, Grace Mugabe squandered $80,000 on a shopping spree in Italy, as reported on the 8th June, 2008 edition of the Zimbabwean Times newspaper.
Even the leaders who steal the country´s resources do not even do the country the favor of ´reinvesting´ the resources in their countries. Instead, they stash the money in off- shore accounts and invest in foreign companies. The late Nigerian military dictator, Sani Abacha stole billions of dollars from the country´s coffers and stashed them in foreign accounts in Switzerland and other tax havens. His son, Mohammed Abacha, bought shares in foreign blue-chip companies.
African leaders have never been able to control their greed. General Olusegun Obasanjo, the immediate former president of Nigeria who during his tenure as president ´fought´ corruption was eventually discovered to have misappropriated billions of dollars of the country´s funds which was meant to deal with Nigeria´s electricity crisis. Nigeria currently has the worst power situation in Africa. Parts of major urban cities go for days without electricity supply.
King Mswati III of Swaziland has spent millions of dollars on palaces for his numerous wives, $400,000 on a single Mercedes car, and hundreds of thousands of dollars annually celebrating his birthdays, while his people live in abject poverty. Mobutu Seseko, the infamous Zaire despot embezzled country´s resources such diamonds in the Congo and country funds to the tune of billions of dollars. It was said that he had the capacity to pay the entire military from his personal coffers. At a time, he was said to have been richer than his own country.
Even in situations where money is used within the country, it is often spent on frivolities that hardly benefit the economy or those in dire need of government assistance. Lavish palaces like Cameroon´s Unity Palace, fleet of cars and jet planes have become status symbols for African regimes and symbols of political greed.
Former Emperor Bokassa of Central African Republic for example, wasted $20 million of his country´s money on a meaningless coronation. During his reign, poverty, political killings, and outrageous plundering of state resources characterized his government.
For years now, African leaders have adopted the mentality that once in power, they have to secure the future of themselves, their children´s and relatives´. Most of them get into power, neglecting the needs of the people who voted them into power (in democratic situations), and instead, devote their energy towards unscrupulously enriching themselves and relatives. This mentality has lived on with African leaders for years now and slowly but surely, this mentality is transferring to the youth- the future leaders. Except African leaders do away with that mentality, Africa will always remain a retrogressive continent. In the light of this, what is needed in Africa is paradigm shift in the thinking of African leaders, and a change in the entire political ideology in Africa. It all starts with the mind. Once our current African leaders and future leaders change their mindset and resolve to serve their people and not themselves, Africa will well be on its way to seeing a new day.
Source: American Chronicle