It is that time of the year when global leaders, including SADC as well as African leaders, troop to the United Nations headquarters in New York for the annual General Assembly grand debate.
For Africa, there are various issues bedevilling the continent which need urgent attention. These range from wars and internecine conflicts in Libya, Nigeria, Mali, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and Somalia.
While a lot of work has gone into resolving conflict on the continent, we believe there is a need to redouble efforts to find lasting solutions to these conflicts.
The continent is also still lagging behind in terms of economic development despite sitting on abundant resources ranging from oil, minerals, rich soils, a good climate and skilled manpower, especially in the SADC region.
Over the years, we have seen African leaders taking to the podium at the UN to pontificate about numerous issues ranging from the reform of the UN system and blasting former colonial powers, to begging for international aid.
But after the high-sounding speeches at the UN, they return to their countries to be faced by the challenges their people face in their daily struggles.
We believe a lot of effort must now be turned to finding home-grown lasting solutions to Africa’s economic problems as the continent can no longer afford to remain lagging behind.
The thousands of young men and women who drown in the Mediterranean Sea every month seeking to reach Europe for the proverbial greener pastures look up to leaders on the continent to provide answers and solutions to their problems.
Millions of school leavers and college and university graduates want jobs, decent lives and a better future for their children.
We, therefore, egg on our leaders to redouble their efforts to find solutions to the problem of poverty, joblessness and underdevelopment on the continent.
This year’s UNGA is coming against the background of the Forum on China Africa Co-operation during which Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged a further US$60 billion for infrastructural and other developmental projects in Africa.
Much as we welcome this initiative, which is a second such financial package from China following a similar one in 2015, we believe the time is now for Africans to strive to unshackle the chains of poverty.
A few years ago, China, which is now the world’s second-largest economy, was a poor developing country, having suffered under the yoke of imperialism similar to what many African countries went through, but it gasped the nettle and used its own home-grown solutions to become what it is today.
Why can’t we emulate the Chinese?
The world does not owe us a living and Africa cannot continue to be the world’s beggar and a bottomless pit of international aid.
Leaders must find solutions to Africa’s problems.
For example, why is it that despite the continent being rich in minerals resources, its peoples are still poor?
Is it not a disgrace that we continue to export our minerals and other resources in their raw form at cheaper prices and at the same time import finished products at far much higher prices? Where is the logic?
When will the continent seriously beneficiate its resources for the benefit of its people?
The time for serious African solutions to Africa’s problem is now, otherwise, future generations will not forgive the current crop of leaders for failing them.
Source: Southern Times Africa