For the past several centuries, Africa has been the mother continent that has been feeding the rest of the world in almost all facets of life. From religion, science, mathematics, philosophy, and almost any conceivable discipline, the world has learned and gained immensely from the cradle of civilization. Early Africans in Egypt, Ethiopia, and other places opened their arms and embraced non-Africans either for pursuit of knowledge, religious persecution, or as refugees. Greeks, including Pythagoras, Thales, Solon, Plato, Eudoxus and others thronged to ancient Egypt to study under African sages. Early European missionaries were similarly embraced by Africans. The foreigners were housed, clothed, and fed by their hosts, the Africans. Whether by design or default, missionary works in Africa paved the way for the notorious slave trade and colonization. The Berlin Conference in 1884–85 chopped up Africa into pieces so Europeans could easily control the segmented countries. It also created perpetual disunity between and among Africans and pitted one country against the other. Eventually, it took a crop of contemporary African freedom fighters to wrestle political power from the colonizers. Even then some of these leaders had to sacrifice their lives in the process. Western and U.S. powers that have vested interest in keeping Africa divided and underdeveloped strategically facilitated and supported puppet governments through assassinations and military coups d’état. Notwithstanding, African freedom fighters had one potent virtue: they were less corrupt. That, however, cannot be said of most African leaders who came after those who fought for political independence. Overtly, covertly, and/or inadvertently, some collaborated with foreign interests and opened up Africa for exploitation. According to former AU Ambassador to North America Arikana Chihombori-Quao, France alone siphons away about $500 billion each year from Africa, while corrupt African leaders, politicians, businesspeople, and others take away about $50 billion. The combined amount of France’s take and corrupt money pales in comparison with illicit money from illegal activities that flows out of Africa each year. Human capital flight in a continent endowed and rich in natural resources is a measure of a distressed environment, and that is a challenge Africa must confront head-on. Africa is the only continent that does not directly benefit from its mineral resources and wealth. The late Bob Marley was aptly right when he philosophized that “in the abundance of water, the fool is thirsty.” However, all is not yet lost, and there is a glitter of hope for Africa. After slavery and the slave trade; after the Berlin Conference and colonialization; after the Monrovia Group prevailed over the Casablanca Group; and after years of deliberations, debates, and negotiations, Africa has been able to establish the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The pact, which goes into effect in July of this year, will among other things promote and facilitate business and trade, travel and tourism, within and among African countries. It’s been estimated to generate phenomenal financial returns that hopefully will not be stashed in tax-haven countries outside Africa. The burning question that begs for an answer is initial capital investment—human and financial—to build and sustain the anticipated huge infrastructure across the length and breadth of the continent. AmbassadorArikana Chihombori-Quao believes that Africa can be built and its interest protected by its diaspora. Africans in the diaspora have the expertise and funds to construct railway lines from Johannesburg to Cairo and from Dakar to Djibouti City. She has come up with some novel ideas that hopefully will gain traction and propel Africa to its rightful place in the world. Included in her suggestions is the formation of the Africa Diaspora Development Institute (ADDI), which will create a common investment fund for development. Further, the ADDI will have offices in all countries in Africa and serve as a vehicle to reach the diaspora. Amandla wholly supports the stand of the former diplomat because Africa can best be developed by is citizens. The clarion call by Ambassador Chihombori-Quao should therefore be given utmost attention. Africans in the diaspora must either get on the bandwagon or be left behind. The sleeping giant is gradually being awakened from centuries of slumbering!

Posted by on Mar 12 2020. Filed under Editorial. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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