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Opinions of Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Columnist: Ananpansah Isaac

Economic woes of Africa; Leaders must wake up!

Flags of African countries Flags of African countries

Africa is a continent with a projected geographical landmass of about 30.370,000Km² representing 16.1 of mother earth's total landscape. The continent's landmass is largely embedded with tremendous natural resources and countless economically viable rivers running to and fro on the land surface of Africa.

In fact,these resources can catalyst the overall economic development and equally,stimulate progress in the other sectors of Africa's economy. In the same tangent,Africa is pitched to be the world's rich resource continent in both natural resources and human capital as its human population stands at 1.2 billion with an estimated population density of about 36.4 km².The continent has an exuberant youthful population taking the Lion share of the total population...

In what can be more of a blessing,the continent is rich in mineral and natural resources with large parts of its terrain teeming with wild life and magnificent plant life.It possesses 99 percent of the world's chrome resources, 85 percent platinum, 70 percent tantalite, 68 percent cobalt, and 54 percent gold, among others. It has significant oil and gas reserves. Nigeria, Libya, Algeria,Angola, Ghana, Sudan, Morocco are among the leading oil producing countries according to current research projections.

More so,Africa is the second largest continent in terms of land geography and population.And it's also made up of several islands countries numbering about seven (7) such as Madagascar being the largest in the world,Comoros,Sì£o Tomè, Principe, Seychelles just to mention a few. Not forgetting, the many river bodies such the great river Nille of Egypt, lake Victoria of Tanzania bordering Kenya and Uganda, lake Tanganyika' which laps Tanzania, Burundi, Congo DR, and Zambia and the biggest man made lake in Ghana inter alia.

Indeed,Africa's economy is hinged on four cardinal areas,thus,trade, industry,human capital and agriculture.To this end,one would have thought all these rich resources efficiently combined will translate into economic prosperity...

But with all these unending resources,development keeps eluding the continent .Economic development(Transformation from lower income national economy to a modern industrial economy) is conspicuously missing..Human development(poverty alleviation) can only be achieved if you visit the typical African rural areas and feel the situation of poverty for yourself . Economic growth (increase in wealth or rise in national income) has only been achieved in the bank accounts and pockets of politicians.

Poverty and economic disorder is the order of the day across the continent.Indeed,in the abundance of water,the fool is thirsty.

Amidst all these,Africa Union,the mother body which is supposed to play a pivotal role and most definitely,project the continent as a force to reckon with after colonialism can't even fund its annual budgetary allocation without heavily depending on funds from the western world in the form of donations , aid, grants and loans with strings attached.A Case in point is a revelation in one of its financial statement.According to the said report,the main annual budgetary allocation of AU comes from China,the European Union, US, United kingdom and the world Bank.And hence, AU's budget sharply grew from $278,2 million in 2013 to $ 393,4 million in 2015 all due to external peaks from 56% to 61.7% in the corresponding years.

Talk less of the seven sub-regional grouping such as the Arab Maghreb Union ( UMA),Community Of Sahel_Saharan States( CEN_SAD), Community Market For Eastern and southern Africa(COMESA), Economic Community Of west African States among many others which many pundits have largely described as being rubber stamps in term of telescoping the economy of Africa into broad day prosperity. This is due to the fact that, they can't sufficiently fund their own day-to-day spending talk less of helping its member countries.

Indeed,the underlying reasons being that, many of these Africa countries have mortgaged their natural resources in a desperate attempt to soliciting for funds for development and thus, making them venerable in accepting aid, grants,loans which come with several explicit and implicit commitments.This phenomenon is gradually leading the continent into economic slavery. Indeed, China being the largest investor in recent time with over US$ 60 billion have leveraged on that because, China has about 40 percent of Africa's resources due to unfavourable terms of trade which in the long run causes the general economy to shrink in the face of global economic meltdown.

Nigeria with an economic worth of about US$290,south Africa with a worth of about US$301and Angola are Africa's largest economies yet still, they're not spared either because,the continent is currently deeply embattled with poverty and underdeveloped with great deficit in infrastructural development and worsening inflation figures recorded over the years. And the rough surge of the continent suffers massive brain drain due to the shrinking nature of the economy of African countries.

Well,expert projection will have us believe that,a large chunk of people in Africa live in abject poverty. On the average, 80 % of people in Africa live on less than US$ 2.5 on a daily basis. Recently, in the 2017 statistical analysis, Africa has a nominal GDP estimation of about US$3.3 trillion and the purchasing power parity of about US$ 6.757 which can even quadruple given the numerous resources at its disposal.

Interestingly,in 2013, Africa was the world's fastest growing continent at about 5.6%, and, the GDP is expected rise by average of over 6% between 2013 and 2023 according to world bank's findings. But on the other hand, economic indicators of the Africa are not proving any positive signs at all such as the detorating rate of income and wages, consumer price index', strength of currency, interest and unemployment rate among others.

Africa as a continent needs an overhaul and most certainly,reorientation in the leadership structure. And surely,transformational minded leaders with the urgent ability to think outside the box to sieve in dynamic ideas as well us radical policy thinktanks with the earnest need to implement reforms to stabilize the continent's economy. Also, there is the need for Africa to reinvigorate the spirit of pan Africanism and the conscious step_by_approach in creating a united State of Africa to best project it as a super power in the world.Equally, there's the need to rake out corruption in the system because, billions of dollars go down the drain all in the name of corruption and all forms of illicit financial malfeasance,misappropriation of funds not forgetting, the swift need to resonate economic revival throughout the continent.

The clarion call is on the current crop of leaders to develop the art of mastery to Marshall out well refined roadmap and people centered economic policies for this generation and generations yet to come. Our continent must arise and work again to better the lives of over 1.2 billion people.

God bless.


The author is a Freelance Journalist, a student of the university of Ghana.