African leaders should think more strategically for continent survival

Monday February 24 2020

Seith Kangume Barigye

Seith Kangume Barigye 

By Seith Kangume Barigye

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned African states on dealing with China while on his recent visit to the continent. This comes at a time when China is dishing out money to finance Africa’s major infrastructure projects without necessarily interfering with the politics of the recipient countries.
Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta on his recent visit to Washington DC warned the United States against trying to make Africa choose between them and China. Other African heads of states have continued to challenge the West to finance those projects that have a major bearing on the economic prospects of African countries, if it still needs to be felt on the continent.
But even as we continue to sink ourselves into these cold war signature stunts, Africa continues to be covered in abject poverty despite the vastness of its natural endowments. Without strategic thinking, the African continent will continue to be significant only as a source of cheap labour and raw materials and as a dumping ground for manufactured goods of the developed world, whether West or East.
Fundamental in this thought process is how Africa must put an end to all conflicts that are raging on the continent. The continent must have the capacity and muscle to independently handle the conflicts within. The conflicts on the continent have had a severe blow on the progress of the people of Africa.
Africans must all be endeavouring to look beyond the imaginary borders that were created for us by the 1884-85 appropriation of Africa. Integration is fundamental in consolidating production and resource utilisation efforts and creating a broader market for our produced goods, enhancing the industrialisation strides of this continent.
Africa must be ideologically well oriented to take new leaps into a future that is brighter, safer and stronger. African leaders must all realise that they are not in offices just to feel the comfort of their seats but to strategically place Africa on the road to prosperity and shared security. Historically, our leaders in the independence politics were largely nationalistic in order to correct the ills and distortions of colonial imperialism. They wanted to do away with physical colonial domination, oppression, humiliation and exploitation. They lacked relevant ideologies for the socioeconomic transformation of the African people.
The influence of imperial powers has grown stronger than ever before. The role of multinational corporations and other international agencies in curtailing the capacity of Africa to develop is tremendous. We have held ourselves hostage to these powers through our begging hand that continues to receive ‘sweet poison.’ And in the end, all national and cross-border issues get entangled within the bigger imperialistic project of these powers. Africa must invest more in strategic thought processes if the future of this continent is to be guaranteed.
The Chinese and Indians, who resisted total distortion and formed relevant ideologies and cultures that enabled them to focus on socioeconomic transformation, have since taken centre-stage in the global order. They are now indispensable forces in global politics.
It is only when Africa has taken to thinking, planning, and acting by and for itself that its future is guaranteed. We must develop our own capacity in terms of security, production and industrialisation, trade, education, health services, social protection and all other aspects of our lives. As of now, Africa is a sleeping lion that awaits awakening.