Will Africa learn from Russia-Ukraine conflict?

Author: Nkwazi Mhango

What you need to know:

  • Also, African countries lack sound policies. Leaders are accountable. 

On April 11,  Al Jazeera reported that the Russia- Ukraine conflict is likely to adversely impact on African countries vis-a-vis food independence and security.

It is unfortunate that Africa still depends on a small country like Ukraine for its supply of wheat.
In  my opinion, this  doesn’t add up for a country that covers only 603, 628 km2 compared to Africa’s 30,370, 000 km2 to feed Africa.  Something is wrong somewhere. One wonders what Africa supplies to Ukraine.

So many questions linger on my mind. Does Africa own its own minerals while they don’t benefit it? Do African countries with oil own it while the multinationals benefit from it at the expense of the so-called owner? 

It is important to compare the lives of citizens in oil-producing African countries with those they supply. If anything, African countries with oil and minerals own mine holes and the pangs of pollution while foreign companies enjoy the profits.

Africa’s goofs and quandaries need profound explanations to understand. It doesn’t make common sense for the country that’s 1/50 of Africa to feed Africa. 

The analogous allegory I can give here is of a baby breastfeeding its mother.  But again, Ukraine does feed Africa. Then what is iniquitous here? 

To avoid being seen as if I am criticising my people, look at the picture of African leaders. Most of their  lives are posher than those of their donors. 

Recently, I watched UK’s parliamentary session. Thereafter, I watched my country’s parliamentary debates, huge hall with all avantgarde gadgets and grandeur. 

Again, if you listen to the representatives in the two, you understand why ours are gigantic. It is because we are reckless and selfish since we serve ourselves as opposed to our donors’ representatives who serve their countries and people.

The other day, I read somewhere that countries in West Africa were importing onions from the EU. I also read that Kenya, despite being surrounded by the mighty Lake Nyanza, was importing septic fish from China whereas some Chinese traders were exporting clean fish from Kenya to China.

How do you call this folly and futility? When push comes to the shove this must be said that it is more than a shame for such a humungous continent to be fed by any country while it has everything for producing for its people except a will to do so.     

Bovines, ewes and goats can comfortably depend on one type to feed them since they are faunae. No shame at all for such brutes to be fed by human even by another ogre but not humans. 
For Africa even a part of it to be fed by small countries like Ukraine is more than a disgrace for whoever whose marbles upstairs are still intact. 

How come while African countries such as Angola, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Zambia, and Zimbabwe, (all except Kenya, Madagascar and Botswana) are bigger than Ukraine,  grow wheat, yet this tiny country beats them? What’s wrong? 
As per Gro Intelligence, the World Bank identified 3.84 million hectares of land suitable for wheat production in Sub-Saharan Africa, the vast majority of which is in East Africa. 
This is almost equal to the amount of land dedicated to the cultivation of wheat in Argentina, one of the world’s major producers of the crop.

Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, Tanzania’s founder, used to say that for the country to develop, it needs three things;  land, people and good policies. What is missing here? 

Are our people abnormal? Is our land barren? Are our policies wanting? The first two are okay. The third ingredient seems to be the matter. It is the missing link. Our people are normal and land productive save that our policies are abnormal so to speak. 

It is evident that many African countries lack leaders. They have tons and tons of rulers but they are bankrupt when it comes to leaders.

Also, African countries lack sound policies. Leaders are accountable. 

In sum, there are no important lessons Africa needs to learn from the Ukraine conflict  apart from starting to rethink about our future, frugality, and above all, loathing and stopping dependency and extravagance. 

We have what it takes to feed ourselves. What is amiss is self-worthy and sense of humanity. 

Nkwazi Mhango, [email protected]

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