VOICE OF LIBERTY AFRICA: All Hail the New Bride of Africa ~ Fiyinfoluwa Elegbede
In a sharp and complimentary turn of events, East Africa is fast-emerging the new beauty to emerge out of Africa.
However, it is also worthwhile to note that out of an estimated eleven (11) East African countries, nine (9) of these states are classified under Least Developed Countries (LDC) by the United Nations, characterizedby criterion such as Low Income, Human Resource Weakness and more importantly, Economic Vulnerability and largely blame as a result of bad governance and corruption.
This urges the question of how well Africa’s new bride will fare in light of a new responsibility of managing its newly developed resources and the political will of the already corrupt lords to manage the attendant financial buoyancy that is expected to follow renewed relations with potential trade partnersacross the world.
While the EAC Block is reputed as one of the highest growth rates in the world in addition to a market size of about 75 million people, little emphasis is being given to the administrative disaster in these regions where while the people die of hunger, ruling royal families, dictators and governments records an increase on the fattening side through luxurious lifestyles, fat pay checks and governance characterized with lack of free press.
Despite these circumstances, this region is heavily over-nourished with Official Development Assistance from donor nations subjecting it to the top class among the most indebted nations, and I dare add, with no results to show for the numerous development assistances.
One does not need to be a soothsayer to speculate really difficult times ahead for the poor citizens of EAC region in line with a potential active participation in the international trade window following recent natural resource discoveries in Tanzania, Madagascar, Somalia, Uganda and Mozambique.
For the foreign investors, the tide is changing and the act of foreign investment is getting smarter ahead of the days of naturalizations. Investing economies take the security of their investments very seriously especially in regions where aid is sought-after through the Aid for Trade (Aft) scheme as well as highly-remunerated lobbying groups across donor states through which more financial intervention is being negotiated.
Hence, while external investors seem to be proof of home government’s corrupt practices, the bulk of the burden and suffering is effectively passed on the to the citizenry who have clearly seen the influence, albeit, negative and disastrous, of negligent governance in the midst of abundant natural resources and its attendant highly-profitable foreign investments, on the life of the citizens who endure the agony of resource curse, and yet, no hope of a clear future. The oil spills of the Niger Delta in Nigeria and the general welfare of Nigerians in the hands of corrupt governance will come as a handy case-study.
While the merriment is worth celebrating, and the government through its PR agencies scattered across the world have accomplished an effective job of publicizing the investor-enticing great news of a highly-prospective investment friendly region of the EAC Block, I strongly believe it is necessary for the people to abandon blind followership like a herd of sheep and demand for active participation in the administration of the newly discovered natural resources with a strong voice.
For whatever it takes, it will be dangerous to sit back and rely on government promises of a secured future which historically have been limited to the pockets of the ruling elite whilst the people suffer. The people should take a stand and not wait till their condition degenerates to the extent of replicating a militant style approach of demanding for their rights from traditionally negligent and corrupt rulers.
The profitability of acting now as prevention, over acting later as cure will be evident with the events of the next few years. To the 75 million potential East African population market, I will leave you with the words of Lord John Emerich Dalberg Acton to reflect upon in reaffirming that “power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Your economic future in the hands of your known corrupt leaders is nothing short of an absolute power that is headed for an absolute corruption.
Fiyinfoluwa Elegbede, a regular member of the African Liberty VOICE OF LIBERTY AFRICA project writes in from the United States of America