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Africa’s prosperity our generational mandate: Nelson Chamisa

By Nelson Chamisa

To effectively sculpture the future we must have clear sight of the past and a celebration of our history. 

MDC-T National Organising Secretary Nelson Chamisa
MDC-T National Organising Secretary Nelson Chamisa

We are people born of a heroic generation of fighters like Herbert Chitepo, Joshua Nkomo, Josiah Tongogara, Julias Nyerere, Kwame Nkrumah, Thomas Sankara, Patrice Lumumba , Samora Machel and Steve Biko to mention but a few.

We are legatees to a tradition of excellence and taking of no nonsense. Armed with this background, it is impossible to make good logic to think Zimbabwe without thinking Africa or vice versa.

From 1961 until 2012, Zimbabwe GDP Annual Growth Rate averaged 2,5 percent reaching an all time high of 22,6 percent in December of 1970 and a record low of -17.7 percent in December of 2008. Conscious of the fact that during the 1960s, several African countries were on par or had higher GDP rates than their counterparts in Asia. The GDP per capita of Ghana and South Korea, for instance, were the same in 1960.

Until 1975, the fastest growing developing country was Gabon. Botswana’s growth rate exceeded that of Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Thailand. Thirty years ago, China was poorer than Malawi. Despite this potential, Africa has been unable to complete the transformation journey that Asia has rolled out.

This incites the fundamental questions into how Africa today compares with economic development in other developing regions of the world. A few comparative trends are worth mentioning:

Firstly, while African GDP growth matched that of Asia between 2000 and 2011, at 4.4% per annum, African income per capita in the decade since 2000 ($1,100) remains far below other developing regions, at around one third that of Asia ($3,091) and less than a quarter of Latin America ($4,964).

Secondly, manufacturing in Asia over the same period grew at 6%, while African manufacturing grew at 3.3%, though faring better than Latin America whose manufacturing during the same period grew at 2.1%. African manufacturing sector’s contribution to GDP at 10.2% in 2010 is also much lower than other developing regions, with Asian manufacturing at 25.9% of GDP and Latin America at 15.3% during the same year.

Thirdly, African exports as a proportion of GDP, though largely still unprocessed minerals and agricultural products, also caught up with Asia, reaching 29.7% of GDP in 2010, as against 30.0% for Asia and 17.7% for Latin America. Latest figures indicate that intra-African trade may reach 13% this year, compared to 52% for Asian countries, and 20% for South America.

Finally, Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF) in Africa during the period 2000-2011 has averaged at just above 18% a year as a percentage of GDP, close to Latin America at 19%, but way below Asia, whose investment in productive assets and economic infrastructure as a percentage of GDP averaged at 26.9%.

These figures are important indicators as to how the Asian region managed their economic and development turnaround. It indicates that it is indeed possible for Africa to eradicate poverty and achieve prosperity within a foreseeable and not so distant a future.

We need to recast Africa and development. Yes, the Nkrumah model of the United States of Africa. We need a standard of good governance in Africa. We need free movement of the peoples of Africa.

We need to have a post Berlin Conference continental Indaba to reverse and dismantle the colonial construct and imposition.The parasitic and jingoistic colonial schemers partitioned Africa in 1884. As Africans, we have never revisited these wicked designs.

We must departition our motherland Africa.Just as I write this article, Africa is under a Sino- partition, a new form of exploitation and extraction. The African horse has not gotten rid of the rider.Instead, the rider is no longer Europe but from China.

Riders keep changing but the unfortunate African horse remains exploited and ridden. Many things boggle the mind and harass one’s conscience. Why should Beira port not be part of us together as African people?

Why should I feel & be foreign to Cape Town, Durban or Mapungubwe which were given to us by our God? Why should there be xenophobia ? Why should a phone call to Malawi go via Paris? Why should a flight to Tunisia be via London? Why should we import the Marange diamond from India?

Why should we buy the processed Gokwe Cotton from Italy? Why should elections be disputed yet endorsed without investigation in Africa? Why should dictatorship be a religion in Africa? Why should SADC be a trade union of the unaccountable?

We urgently need strong governance institutions not just strongmen.We need to activate the machinery of introducing an African Common Market and Economic Community. Radical steps in the direction of the establishment of the continental financial and monetary institutions need to be put in place.

We need our own African Internet exchange points. We need our own media house to articulate the African agenda.The good and beauty of Africa must be known to all and by all.We must tell our own story. We need great African innovations and inventions in ICTs , Science, manufacturing, processing and engineering not just in Juju and witchcraft.

For once, we must not have headlines on miracle babies, Sekuru Shumba and the Chitungwiza blast, the witches in Budiriro and Dzivaresekwa or undergarments missing in Gokwe under Chief Njelele. We must have headlines on great talents, innovations and discoveries for the edification of mankind on this planet earth.

We need to set in motion a program of continental orientation of the African entrepreneurial and political elite towards regional and continental investment mindset.

We need to tackle own vices and transgressions within the confines and dictates of Africanism. We ought to deal with terrorism and rebellions.We need the just and democratic government of men. We need a continental force to flash out trouble spots and neutralise retrogression on the continent.

We must strengthen and eventuate the doctrine of the Responsibility to Protect(R2P). We must strengthen the Pan African Parliament and the Regional parliamentary forums including SADC.We must enhance our craft literacy and craft competency in governance and policy making.

We need excellent education wealth and health institutions on the African continent. Let us restore the glitter and glamour of Makerere University in Uganda and University of Zimbabwe to mention but a few.

NUST, Solusi and Africa university must be globally competitive and sought after as centers of academic excellence . We must produce polished, competent and competitive intellectuals. We need superstar medical professionals, educational practitioners, technological experts and business entrepreneurs.

As Africa, we must enhance our agriculture and horticulture productivity by increasing yield per hectare through the use of modern technologies. We need to be producers not just consumers of finished products.We must export to capitals of the world rather than import.

We must have processing and manufacturing plants for beneficiation and value addition of our products. We need to supply rather just be supplied. We need to migrate from being a basket case to being the breadbasket of the World. After all, we have some of the best soils, climate and natural resources bequeathed to us by our fore parents and Our great God. We must deal odious debt and it’s burden thereof.

We need a new discipline to fight corruption and opaqueness .We need a new excellence to cure the deficit of leadership.We need a resurgence of our economy and nation states –a resurgimento !!

We must rebuild our continent , we must bring back prosperity and respect to our nations. We must remove the shame and redicule which have been brought to our innocent and patriotic people. We must shed off and away the pariah and banana republic tag imposed on us. It is possible!!!

Africa, we must wake up and smell the coffee.