Africa is loaded with minerals, raw material and the labour force needed to build her economy and stand on her own. Africa also has the potential of expanding her agricultural sector by implementing reforms that will be beneficial to the whole continent.
Though the systems put in place by African leaders and governments are yet to effectively promote the growth of the African continent, their efforts in subsidizing agriculture and business start-ups must be applauded. Organisations like IRAD (Institute of Agricultural Research and Development) Cameroon and the IAR (Institute of Agricultural Research) Nigeria are an example of institution that work hard to develop the agricultural sector which carries the potentials of developing Africa.
Fortunately, there are some individuals on the continent who’s objectives are to promote economic growth on the continent, build infrastructure, reduce poverty so as to improve standard of living and most of all build an Africa for Africans. They seek to continue the works of the likes of Nelson Mandela and Gaddafi who worked tirelessly to ameliorate the state of the African continent.
Champions of Africa’s Awakening
Paul Kagame; president of Rwanda (2000 till date), former chair of the African Union (2018), and leader of the Rebel forces that ended the genocide in Rwanda in 1994, is one of the main champions of Africa’s Awakening. His main objective is building a united Africa, an Africa for Africans and also empowering Africans with what it takes for fend for themselves without external influence. He is an advocate for win-win relations between Africa and foreign powers, as he says Africa has been neglected and exploited for too long and the only way to stop this exploitation is to have fair relations with other world powers.
Kagame believes that by establishing new relationships with new developing countries like the Brazil, Russia, India and China, Africa stands a better chance of getting the help which is adequate for her needs. What Africa needs most is the kind of investments that will development her private sector and create employment for the millions of unemployed youths on the continent, something that foreign aid from America and Europe cannot achieve.
During his term as chairperson of the African Union, Kagame ensured the signing of the Continental Free Trade Area and launched the Single African Air Transport Market; factors which he believes are crucial for the growth of the African continent. He also highlighted the fact that financial independence is what will make Africa less dependent on foreign aid; which he considers as another form of exploitation. In order to material this, he encourage African countries to put a 0.2% levy on all eligible imports so as to help fund the African Union; to make her more autonomous and free to take decisions without the fear of losing the goodwill of donors. About 74% of AU funding comes from donors, which makes autonomy difficult. If the 0.2% is implemented, the AU average annual budget will increase from 782 million dollars to 1.2billion dollars.
President Paul Kagame has done a remarkable job with Rwanda, and today, Rwanda stands as an example of a corruption free country in Africa. Despite her painful past, Rwanda under Kagame has become a fast developing economy on the continent. Thanks to his inclination to unity and national reconciliation, Kagame has made the Rwandans to understand that “One Rwanda” is all the country needs to be the “Singapore” of Africa.
The 59 year old Nigerian born is the president of the African Development Bank and former minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in Nigeria. The 2017 winner of the World Food Prize and 2019 Sunhak Peace Prize; is another “Angel” of Africa’s awakening. He is one of those Africans, who believe Africa can be better if she stands on her own feet, and this can only be achieved by developing her agricultural sector.
His has worked tirelessly to bring agricultural innovation to the African continent, as he believe that agricultural innovation and good governance is what Africa needs to become a continent envied by many.
To achieve his goals, he introduced high yielding technologies in order to expand food production throughout the continent, designed and implemented policies to support farmers’ access to agricultural technologies and loans to finance agricultural projects for millions of farmers, especially under the projects of the Alliance for Green Revolution for Africa, where he served as Vice President of Policy and Partnership.
As president of the AfDB, his main goals are summarised in his “high 5 Strategy”, which include; light up and power up Africa, feed Africa, industrialize Africa, integrate Africa and improve the lives of Africans. It is estimated the under his leadership, 4.4 million people have been able to connect to electricity, 8.5 million others have received agricultural aid, and 14 million Africans have benefited from investment in the transport sector.
Growing out of poverty, Akinwumi Adesina understands what being hungry feels like. As a result, one of his life objectives is to alleviate poverty through agricultural development. He gave up is 250,000 dollar World Food Prize money to establish a fund to finance young African farmers.
His driving force is the conviction that one day, the barns in Africa will be filled; African children will be well fed and farmers will be able to send their children to school.
Moussa Faki; former Chadian Prime Minister and Chairperson of the African Union Commission is another champion of Africa’s awakening. This is seen in the efforts he makes to encourage Africans to break the chains that are preventing them from actualizing their full potentials. The only way to achieve this is through unity; as he says “with unity we are everything, without it we are nothing”
He was able to bring harmony and oneness between the Francophones and Anglophones in the African Union Commission which has been a draw back for many years.
Moussa Faki believes that through the Single African Air Transport Market; which already counts 27 members, the free movement of persons, free residence and establishment, Africa will be strong enough to take care of herself because regional integration is crucial for the development, which is what all Africans aspire for. This he says can be achieved with the “African Passport” which will take Africa a step closer to achieving the long-held dream of completely free movement across the African continent.
As a former refugee, Moussa Faki knows the importance of peace and security for all Africans. He urges African leaders who pledged to silence guns by 2020; by ending wars and violence plaguing many state in Africa, to stick to the deal.
The 58 year old chair of the African union commission dreams of the day the African union will be able to finance herself, thereby reducing external influence from her donors especially the European Union, who is the AU’s biggest donor. All of these can only be achieve by developing trade and infrastructure on the continent.
Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopian Prime Minister is that one African leader who has proven that change does not necessary come with age and longevity in service. Since taking office in April 2018, he has achieved what many African leaders have not been able to do despite the number of years spent in office.
The 42 year old politician from the Oromo ethnic group is an advocate for peace, unity and freedom, as he believes these are prerequisites for development.
Before Abiy became Prime Minister, Ethiopia was a repressive state devastated by a 3 years long anti-government protests that claimed the lives of hundreds of Ethiopians and forced many others to flee the country. Few months after assuming office, Abiy was able to release thousands of political prisoners, released journalists; like Andargachew Tsege, a British citizen who was arrested and jailed in 2014, and restored the respect of human rights as he condemned the arbitrary arrest and torture of Ethiopians just because they expressed their views on the state of politics in the country.
Prime Minister Abiy has influenced the horn of Africa in such a positive way that he can only be applauded for his good works.
Most importantly, Abiy improved Ethio-Eritrea relations which led to the re-opening of the Eritrean embassy in Ethiopia, after a long 20 years of “no peace-no war” situation between the two countries, thereby improving regional economic ties and cooperation. This act earned him a place at the top of the list for the upcoming Nobel Peace Prize.
During his visit to Egypt in June, the control of Nile was the main topic of discussion between Abiy Ahmed and President Adel Fattah al-Sisi who gave the assurance that Egypt will not cut its share of the river. On his way back, the Prime Minister brought back 32 Ethiopians freed from Egyptian prisons.
As the youngest leader in Africa, Abiy is an inspiration for many youths on the continent and a source of hope for a better Africa.
These great men endowed with the spirit of African unity are the driving force that Africa needs to get to the desired state of development, economic growth and financial independence. Africans need to believe in such people and implement their visions and in the nearest future, Africa will be the place to be.
Article from AFRIC editorial.
Credit image/google images/ africa leaders.