Feature Article of Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Columnist: Kwame Nkrumah & Mike Okoe

Our Africa: The richest beggar

Africa Africa Africa...

Africa; the land of destiny, the land of hope, the land of rich culture, the land of wealth in natural resources and the origin of world civilization.

Africa; The most powerful continent in disguise.

Growing up as children, history chronicled the struggle of African leaders to fight for our freedom and justice. A chronicle of attitudinal change, hope for the future and freedom of the African child. A struggle that gave birth to Pan- Africanism; a struggle of strength and unity; a struggle of economic freedom.

What happened to Africa? Our hope is almost lost and the struggle for economic freedom has been in limbo. The same slave masters who captured our integrity have dominated our focus. The focus of Africa has been redirected to serve the interest of our slave masters. Africa, the richest beggar.

As humble citizens we are, I'm very certain of your over familiarity with the overwhelming poverty in Africa. The degree to which poverty has robbed away our dignity and self worth as a continent despite our enormous wealth in resources and intellectual capacity. The country of destiny and the hope of the future has steadily lost its focus on creating value for the unborn generation.

Growing up as children through our primary school to college education, we are made to understand that our continent, Africa, is a rich land. A continent blessed with so much resources than any other continent in the world. History made us believe we are a people of great might and strength.

However, our might and strength to grow as a developed continent in relation to economy, societal transformation, fight against greediness, fight against corruption and the ability to build a better future through the efficient utilization of our rich natural resources for our generations still remains undefined.

Our politicians, the managers of our resources have for many years traded our economic freedom for sweet pancakes. Our natural resources have been mortgaged and tied around debts using them as collateral.

Is this our Africa? Is this the Africa our fathers shed their blood for?

Is this the Africa our fathers once dreamt of?

Is this land still the hub of civilization and the continent of hope?

Many years down the line, the story we have been told about ourselves conflicts with the reality of our situation today.

How can the richest continent be the poorest?

How can the rich man be the beggar in his home?

How did the strong man became the weakest and feeblest?

How did we get here as a people?

These are questions that demands true and sincere answers...answers that can eliminate the numerous challenges faced by our continent.

Long ago we discovered what our problems were - MENTAL SLAVERY, EXCESSIVE GREED...The problem that led our forefathers to trade our future with some few boxes of sweets.

We never learnt our lessons. Probably, we have short memories.

Many years on, these problems have been innovatively refined and we are still baked in it. We are led by Greedy 'bastards' who think that the wealth of the masses and the unborn generation belongs to their circle alone.

Absolute power they say corrupts! Today, we are so greedy than our yesterday, and so corrupt than the inventors of corruption.

For how long will African leaders trade our wealth, future and hope of positive life?

For how long are we going to watch on and do nothing?

Borrowing the words of H.E Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana; this is the time to be citizens and not spectators.

MY Africa is indeed the RICHEST beggar!

In fact, my country Ghana; the first sub-saharan African country to gain independence has no different story to write.

60years on as an independent country, it is estimated that over 70 percent of the Ghanaian population cannot afford a 3 healthy square meal in a day. This is a country of gold, diamond, bauxite, cocoa, timber among other rich natural resources.

60years on, we are still burdened with leaders cursed with greed and corruption. Leaders who find pleasure and prudence in using the toil of the poor tax payers money to build self wealth regardless of their religions and educational background. Leaders who do not believe in the success of their own country but believes in the success stories of others. How do we develop and grow as a country if we invest all our wealth in foreign countries when we can always join hands and build our country?

60years on, we cannot even provide the basic necessities of life like access to free health care, education, reliable power, good road networks, environmental protection etc for our people despite the enormous resources at our disposal. Sad is it? This the the richest beggar.

We are not rich by what we have, we are rich by what we are. Our riches can only be measured by the quality of life we live.

We believe in Africa, and we believe that Africa needs to aggressively focus on growth and economic power. Enough of the begging; we have the right knowledge and resources to transform our continent. Yes we can; and in unity which lies strength, let us build our Africa together.

As citizens, we should be ASHAMED OF OUR STATE TODAY AS AFRICANS, but I believe is better late than never.

Africa must rise and build a selfless continent beyond aid.