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"Culture is the heritage of us all. some may be more interested than others in the treasures of the past, but no one can fail to take a pride in his country's participation in the story of mankind, as represented in carvings, sculpture, music, paintings and the other arts. And there is a personal commitment to this, for no man can really say he is alone: we are all joined through our identity, with the cultures which are part of the mainstream of life"
- Simon Kapwepwe, Zambian Independence Freedom Fighter

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm" - Winston Churchill

"Try to be the rainbow in someone else's cloud" - Maya Angelou

"Your time is limited so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinion drown out your inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition" - Steve Jobs

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Interesting Debate

Yesterday one of my lovely followers posted this link on Facebook about African development from the Zambian perspective that sparked and interesting debate. I must confess I have yet to read Dead Aid even though I purchased the book earlier this year.  Unfortunately my brain is still recovering from Masters overload and I have not touched a book since I graduated. I am only able to read in short bursts, so the Internet is my only source of reading at the mo...Anyhoo back to what I was saying. It got me thinking about the direction Africa is taking and what needs to be done to finally move from receiving Aid to actually being able to stand on our own two feet.

It seems consensus was on benevolent dictatorship, where someone takes the reigns and makes decisions that ultimately lift our countries to economic stability that is enjoyed by the majority.  The educated need to be at the forefront and actually put their knowledge to good use rather than using it solely in the developed world.  However for this to occur, the continent has to be friendlier in terms of its rules, regulations and its people need to be as inviting to their own as they are to foreigners!

My view is that of a conservative liberal.  I believe in the right for people to do as they choose and live as they like but not with such abandon that one is not aware of their community which is how I feel pure liberals seem to be.  I also don't believe in the didactic maxims of the conservatives who make rules that benefit the elite under the guise of doing what's best for the people.  I think that Africa needs to be a little like China, selfish in its quest to succeed on its own terms and stop trying to please everyone by bending to be able to receive Aid or just letting anyone invest because the newest belief is that Foreign Direct Investment is the key to alleviating poverty.  However, I do not believe that Human Rights should be compromised and it is paramount that the environment should be respected at all times. I think Africa is in the position to show the world how development can occur without all the pitfalls that other countries have faced such as child labour and serious environmental damage.

We need to stop sucking up to anyone who has money because even though China may not have tried to handcuff us the way the US did with their push for abstinence campaigns before signing off on Aid, their lack of rules has them thinking they can do whatever they want because of their perceived benevolence.  The recent shooting of Zambian miners asking for better work conditions is a case in point.

Africa produces many educated sons and daughters and this is evident in the fact that despite appearances, they are the most educated immigrant group in America and despite their stereotypical bad reputation, Nigerians are leading the pack. What we need to do is go back home our at least start ventures there remotely and use our knowledge to better our nations.  We need to suck it up and suffer a bit to plant the seeds and stick it out long enough for the rains to come and go and for the sun to shine so that we can eventually see the fruits of our labour.  What is also needed is a conducive environment on the homefront.  When I went back home recently and was looking to stay and start something I was told very bluntly that it would be better if I left as what I wanted to do was not possible in Zambia.  Anything is possible if you allow it to be.  So now I'm in Switzerland.  At least I tried. And I will try again soon :)


  1. I absolutely cannot believe this story about the shootings! Uh???

    I'm going to have to regroup and post something more coherent. Whoa.

    I agree strongly with the idea that Africa needs to define development on its own terms, to the extent that is possible outside of financial investment anyway.

  2. Yah I know, China wrongly believes it has the right to abuse its own citizens and now is extending that to everyone else it seems!