By ELIAS MHEGERA – African leaders have once again been reminded that they should enhance governance in order to bring quick development in their countries. This is said to be a big gap so far.
This advice came about during the two days 2015 Africa Prosperity Summit, when analysts were discussing what has gone wrong over the five decades of the post independent politics, the Summit was hosted at the Hyatt Regency in Dar es Salaam on May 20th and 21st. The Summit was convened by the Legatum Institute and the Ford Foundation East Africa
Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili, Senior Economic Advisor, Open Society Foundation said that the first ten post-independence years were used for shifting the blames to the former colonial masters, but the same new governors using the same methods and institutions for governance.
The following decade of 70s to early 80s African new political regimes were solidifying themselves, this is after realizing that citizens were fed up with the blames and they started to react against ‘new colonialists’ the response was harsh, repressive laws were formed.
“Later on from early 90s the continent was already inviting the same theories they had rejected in the first 30 years, there was an introduction of Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs), these came with conditionality harsher than the citizens could withstand,” she said.
She critiqued that throughout the first 30 years concentration was never development but either solidifying power bases or accruing property through the monopoly of leadership.
The re-introduction of multiparty politics from early 1990s re-invigorated the new colonialism, because rigid parties in power resorted into all sort of dirty tricks including the use of excessive force in order to retain power and property rather arbitrarily.
Up to this moment this is the trend, power mongering has been given due importance than manufacturing. “We need collaborative partnership as a new game for development, this must be accompanied by openness and citizens’ awareness, it is only that way that we will come out of stagnation,” she added.
She condemned leaders who cling to power rigidly some over 30 years in their state house, she says these have returned this continent back to the dark ages where this continent used to be a source of raw materials, elephant tusks, ivories and concubines.
“It is sad that inequalities are ever increasing, without involving the citizens, without job creation through those extractives conflicts and violence will prevail,” she concluded.
For Dr. Christian Kingombe Chief Infrastructure & Regional Integration Officer, African Development Bank, this is really in the wake of transformation; he adduced this to the rising middle class. He said evidence to this is the wave of use of cellular phones and Information and communications technologies (ICTs) which are indicators of development.
The growth of ICTs and phones have in turn necessitated for extensive use of electricity and solar power in those areas without reliable power. He mentioned Botswana, Republic of South Africa and Rwanda as being the role models of evolving economies.
He called for more learning of technologies, education and skills in order to increase innovations. Africa countries should identify themselves with right partners, whether it is bilateral or multilateral, overtime peace is a very important component for development.
He condemned poor planning as one of the weakest point if African economies and even where there are good plans implementations is another problem.
“Africa needs to change values and attitudes of its leaders, provide better education, and foster good social relations and a Reactive Income Approach (RIA). Other elements are maintaining a stable income generation in relation to the consumption side.
Prof. Leticia Rutoshobya from the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) said one good strategy for African development should be to improve women entrepreneurship because women are always close to their children and once they are empowered their whole families will be empowered.
Prof. Humphrey Mosha, again from the UDSM said that one best thing about data is because they do not lie. “Data are always very comprehensive, but the problem might be the complexity caused by competition, as long as this is the case data becomes flattered by politicians,” he remarked.
He condemned African politicians who cherish data and indexes which praises them, when they look at data which criticizes them they tend to hate researchers. “The best way to remain stagnant is to avoid comparatives,” he roared.
He said the best indicator of African development should be self-reliance as opposed to dependence. More than 60 percent of African economies are depending on agriculture, so the best way for this continent to be independent is to improve agriculture.