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The Destiny of Africa 50 years ahead

By Jeroboam Shaanika
As I always do on the day or a week after, this year I want to once again, reflect on the significance of the Africa Day.

This year, Africa celebrates the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Organization of African Unity, the forerunner to the African Union.

The just concluded AU summit in Addis Ababa adopted Africa's growth strategy, vision 2063, which is expected to be implemented in the next 50- years. We must therefore, work hard to make vision 2063 a driving force for growth in Africa in order to improve the quality of life of its inhabitants.

Critical elements of achieving the objectives of vision 2063 are dependent on a number of factors such as: political stability, human capital development and greater integration of administrative and economic activities within countries. This means that the infrastructure of a country must be properly connected between hamlets and remote areas with the main administrative and economic centers.

Ultimately, this will greatly strengthen the process of regional and continental integration. On historical role played by the Africans in the past 50 years, there is much to celebrate the achievements made thus far.

Today, we pay tribute to the generation of visionary leaders and ordinary Africans who laboured in pain with sweat dropping from their face and those who made the supreme sacrifice by shedding their precious blood to put Africa on the path to freedom.

A person is free when there are no physical chains around his ankle, but he / she is even more freer when he / she has no mental chain blocking his / her way of reasoning. We arrived at the gate of freedom after an arduous and challenging journey, yet each generation has seized the appropriate moment, to define the role and mission of its time.

We dare not forget the pain of our ancestors and cannot betray the sacred trust they bestowed on our generation to safeguard the vaults of opportunities they have left behind for succeeding generations.

Founding President and Father of the Namibian Nation Dr. Sam Nujoma correctly pointed in Addis Ababa last week "I can proudly state that the African people did not submit to colonial subjugation and exploitation but rose up in arms to resist colonial occupation through Pan-Africanism".

This generation of Africans has completed its historic mission and history invites them to take befitting places in the hall of fame, where their names will forever be enshrined. Undoubtedly, in the present generation, many committed sons and daughters of African soil are doing their best to build a proud and prosperous Africa. However, the commitment to build Africa is not defined by the place one occupies in the society, but by the depth of courage and will power in every endeavour to succeed.

As we celebrate our proud heritage, there are disturbing trends with potentials to harm the great vaults of opportunity for future generations. These disturbing trends are manifested by widespread instability, which contributes to human insecurity. While there were glimmers of hope in Somalia, brought about by the election of the President last year and the partial defeat of Al-Shabaab, the lack of human security is still a major risk, which could dim-out the glimmers of hope.

In the Great Lakes region, the situation is characterized by perpetual conflict, pollinated by economic interests and regional misunderstandings as well as subjective emotions. The situation in Mali and the Sahel region is another cause of great concern as well as the political problems in Guinea Bissau.

The constitutional process in both countries has been hijacked for selfish reasons. Today, Guinea-Bissau has been reduced to a transit point for drugs from Latin America to Europe. How can we celebrate so when one of our member states has become an oasis for the drug trade?

How can we celebrate when women in eastern DRC are living in fear of a perpetual conflict and being raped by armed thugs? How can we celebrate when a leader in Africa invites flying robots or so-called drones to be deployed in Africa?

The consequences of the deployment of flying robots are horrendous as demonstrated in Pakistan and elsewhere where these robots have killed a number of innocent civilians instead of terrorists, they are apparently deployed to hunt down. Robots are not part of a solution, they are part of problems yet to come.

Africa must demonstrate a total commitment beyond spoken words and genuinely work towards lifting the majority of Africans from the poverty trap. There is no freedom in an island surrounded by a sea of poverty and ignorance; therefore, political freedom in sea of poverty faces uncertain future.

Again as Founding President Dr. Sam Nujoma stated in Addis Ababa that "the vision and programmes of the AU are rooted in the long-standing desire, commitment and efforts of the African people to work together for the integration of our economies as well as the creation of a continental socio-political unity that would facilitate the faster development of our countries." It is essential to eradicate poverty for the people of Africa to live in freedom and dignity. The Founding President went to pose relevant questions "as we look forward over the next fifty years to the year 2063, we need to ask ourselves what we would wish to see for our continent. What are the primary issues we need to focus on during this time?" Undoubtedly, the answers to his questions can be found in the improvement of health services and health care in order to ensure a healthy and strong work force; by ensuring adequate human security; by improving quality education designed in accordance with the requirements and national needs; by ensuring food self-sufficiency and food security; by innovating new and creative ideas in line with technological advances; by creating wealth from the reservoir of natural resources, by harnessing its human capital and above all by prioritizing its activities.

The most important resource for any country is human capital, without it, development will be an elusive dream. However, human capital like other national resources has to be mobilized and aligned with national ambition and strategic objectives. Mission objectives and the means to pursue the objectives must be well aligned, because a misalignment of resources is likely to end in total failure.

When our ancestors dug wells in search of water sources, they used appropriate tools to dig in order to reach the underground water fountain, within a shortest possible time. Anybody daring to dig a well with a hoe is likely to die of thirst without reaching the underground water source. If you deploy your tools inappropriately, it may well take a year or years before you reach the water fountain or in the bad case scenario you will fail.

The alignment and deployment of human capital in accordance with national objective is vital to success. It is crucial, therefore, for Africa to align its human capital to the objectives the continent intends pursuing in the next 50 years, so that when we or succeeding generations celebrates 100th anniversary of the founding of the continental organization, African will be enjoying unprecedented prosperity. Frantz Fanon's challenge to humanity is that "Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill it, or betray it".

We owe this to Africa and to generations before us that laboured in pain and for generation after us to inherit a ship well prepared to undertake future journeys. Our ancestors are watching from the firmaments above, they will either be proud or ashamed by what we do.

God Bless Africa and May its place on the table of prosperity be firmly secured. Certainly, a person is only free when there are no chains hindering the way of reasoning.

Jeroboam Shaanika is a Namibian civil servant, however, the views expressed here are entirely his own. (taken from Notes on his Face book page)


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