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Opinions of Sunday, 19 September 2004

Columnist: Adomako-Gyimah, Julian

Africa- Our economic woes

In our Ghanaian community, there is an addage that nobody teaches a child anything about God and this is surely right when it comes to the state of our African economies today. It's been several years since Osagefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah outlined the insignificance of our independence unless it is linked with the total liberation of our African continent. In his own words, he declared that "the independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is linked with the total liberation of the African continent" and he also added that, "Ghana our beloved country is free forever" but is this really the case in Ghana and Africa as a whole.

The blackman as Nkrumah declared is "capable of managing his own affairs" and by so doing he declared that it was time for the blackman to emancipate himself economically, physically and spiritually but we can now see the complete opposite on our dear continent today. Out of the 20 poor nations of the world, 18 are in Africa and this is really scary and frustrating for us all as objective people. The reason for this is what we will outline in this feature article and we shall also point out how best we can get out of this unfortunate condition. We shall fail to make an impact as far as the development of this world is concerned unless we are able to re-position ourselves and prove that, we are as good as any other race there is in the world.

The current condition in Africa is due to our over-reliance on the IMF, the inability of graduates to set up business and come out with innovation, our attitude to work ( escpecially in the public sector and the exodus of professionals to western societies. As the old african addage outlined these problems have been created by oursleves and nobody else.

Firstly most of the budgets in Africa are financed with loans from the IMF and it is even unfortunate to know that, the IMF authorises budget cuts as and when they want and our leaders just succumb because they will be denied financial aid should they refuse to do as their "master" say and this is just unfortunate. Our over-reliance on this devilish organisation has led to the privatisation of several of our major cash cows on the African market and this is turn has resulted in the high rate of capital flight which is an expense to most of the nations in Africa.The macro-economic factors in Africa are just unfavourable to businesses not forgetting the people who live on the continent.

Secondly, our so called intellectuals at home as far as I'm concerned have let Africa down to a great extent because they have failed to translate what they learn in the classrom to the business markets by way of innovation or entrepreneurship. Some might argue that a huge capital is needed in order to set up a viable business but this isn't the case anymore. The world is such that someone comes out with an innovation whilst another person finances the innovative idea and this is clearly the case in the business world today. Businesses thrive on innovation, good management and good marketing and this is surely why the likes of Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey are where they find themselves today.

A lot of Africans work as much as 18 hours a day in western societies and these are the very people who refuse to work whilst back home in Africa. In most of the public sector organisations in Africa, people get paid for just chatting and reading the newspaper to the detriment of the nation's financial standing. On the other hand, these people come to the western world to "slave" and they often do dirty jobs like recruits soldiers, cleaning, kitchen pottering to mention but a few and this is just a shame and the result is the economic condition that we see today.Intellectuals of African descent have left the shore of their motherland in search of greener pastures and these people often realise that, life isn't as easy as they expected it to be. They therefore end up doing odd jobs at the expense of their respective countries and this is an expense in accounting terms.

The only way we can change the situation in Africa is to curb the exodus of intellectuals and these intellectuals will have to sacrifice a little bit for their motherland. Our governments mustreduce corruption and also strengthen our manufacturing base and forget about the IMF unless they want to continue the process of neo-colonialism-which can be very fatal in the long run. Managers in Africa will also have to utilise the contingency and human relations approach to a great extent as this will increase morale and urge their employees to work hard. A word to the wise is enough and may our dear continent grow from strength to strength

Julian Adomako-Gyimah M.InstBA
Author of Smile Africa

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.