African Union(Image: AU) Written By: Nchimunya Muvwende
We had just landed in that country after a 10 hour flight from the beautiful continent of Africa. As the air hostess made the final disembarking announcements, there seemed to be one persistent statement she kept repeating. She announced that those that came from an African country that had Ebola should be first to disembark so that they can be severely screened.
Since only a few blacks were on that flight, all eyes were on us and people wondered why we sat still. The lady went on to call out the names of the passengers and they moved from their seats as though taking a walk of shame. With my colleagues, we took advantage of this time to disembark from the plane before it was congested and join in solidarity with our fellow Africans.
The discovery of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 in Africa and the reaction of the western countries that
rushed to ban only African countries out of all countries having the new variant worldwide from traveling to certain countries made me wonder whether African cannot stand on their own. In the words of Dr Ayoade Olatunbosun-Alakija, co-chairperson of the Africa Union’s African Vaccine Delivery Alliance she argued that had the first Covid-19 virus, the one first identified in China in 2019 originated in Africa, it is clear the world would have locked us away and thrown away the key. If the world was so quick to react in a harsh and negative manner, what guarantee can
Africa have that their interest will be prioritized at the world scene?
Despite the many educated Africans and the traditional medicine experts, why is it that so far, no vaccine or cure has come from Africa, 2 years after the emergence of the pandemic? This therefore calls for an introspection and ask whether solutions cannot originate from Africa.
Before civilization and the coming of pharmaceutical medicines, Africans had ways of identifying medicines they could use to deal with various illnesses. When a new disease was discovered, the people vested with knowledge in the African society could rise to the occasion and attempt to find a solution.
But why is it that in the 21 st century, Africans now find it easy to simply wait for solutions from the western countries and possibly want it donated to them? Where are the old men and women who used local resources to find remedies to deal with diseases that affect their people? Does it mean that nothing good can come from Africa and there is always a need for approval in everything?
These are but challenging questions that Africans should beginning addressing. There is nothing wrong with working together as a globe to solve world problems but when it seems our survival is at the mercy of others hence making us vulnerable, there is need to rethink our usefulness. Since not even one vaccine has so far been manufactured in Africa, what will happen if we can no longer access the produced vaccines?
There is no doubt that Africans, working individually and collectively are capable of being part of the solution. Let us not sideline the local experts, solutions and resources in anticipation that help will come from only the developed countries.
Local economic activities
The pandemic disrupted global supply chains and this affected the production capacities of many companies and many people lost their source of livelihoods. Many African countries are heavily import dependent and rely what they import for trade and consumption. However, with the closure of borders to Africans, for how long will Africans survive if the closures are prolonged?
It is like Africa has gone back to the pre-independence days where most products where either foreign owned or had to be imported. It is time to reconsider the import substitute policies where nations began to produce goods that were similar to that which they had for so long imported. Through these, industries were created, employed increased and trade improved. Perhaps the selective closure reminds countries of the need to learn to be self-reliant in certain things.
Lessons can be picked from the development of China in the 1970s when they looked for inward solutions by using their own people, resources and expertise to develop and the results are there for all to see. Let us promote intra-Africa trade, production and expertise so that we change the narrative of going to the negotiating table as beggars. Let not the outside world be prioritized at the expense of African nations because it is this division that reduces our bargaining potential.
Impact on tourism
Africa happens to offer one of the best tourism services because of the abundance of natural and wild resources it is blessed with and with this, employment and incomes can generated to benefit many. The industry contributed to 7.1 percent of the African GDP in 2019 and anticipated to bring in billions in revenues in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic almost collapsed the industry when international tourists could not travel. The industry has a heavy reliance on international tourist arrivals and its growth is then premised on the activities on these tourists.
The question that begs an answer is, when God placed the various wild animals, natural resources, water bodies and the beautiful tourist attracting features in Africa, did he envisage that these should depend on foreigners for Africans to benefit? It is time to promote local tourists and ensure that intra Africa tourism is boosted. It is common to find that many citizens within countries have never visited local sites but this narrative needs to change. Create packages that locals can afford, increase advertisement within countries and put policies that will help industry players to survive. The international tourists should not be prioritized alone but the local people need to be incentivized.
Can Africa stand alone is not a question of ability but a choice to explore our potential. Africa has always had the potential to become a force to reckon with, however, the challenge has mainly been the belief that to develop, it needs to follow the path laid down by the advanced countries. Collaboration with the rest of the world should continue and be strengthened, but this not sideline inward looking approaches for development.
Bill Davis, a New Jersey-based Diasporic Educator Redefining Black Fatherhood in Baba and the Crew
Bill Davis, Professor of Africana Studies at Rutgers University (Middle) and family (Photo: Rutgers University)
Bill Davis is the President & CEO of Babas Legacy LLC. A diasporic educator and servant leader author, educator, trainer and public speaker versed in the experience of the African diaspora. With over 40 years of experience in education, corporate and community settings. In the education arena, Bill has worked at Rutgers University and NYU among other institutions. And his work has been manifested by assisting schools build inclusive environments for students and staff that are committed to equity.
He has partnered with various organizations for diversity and inclusion training and community uplift efforts. Including clients such as Nike, GlaxoSmithKline, county and state government offices. Bill has been an adjunct faculty at Rutgers since 2009 and an active member of several local and national organizations. In addition, he has travelled and participated in mission trips to South Africa, Haiti, Cuba and other African and Caribbean countries.
Most importantly, he is a single father to four incredible children. He is profoundly grateful to his children aka ‘the crew’. They have been the wind beneath his wings.
Baba’s Legacy is an African-American owned, and diverse-led, multi-disciplinary consulting firm that delivers a wide range of training and consulting services. The mission of Baba’s Legacy LLC is to provide insights about diverse people that lead to equity. The vision is to help build a world where a greater understanding of diverse people leads to an equitable society.
“When I made the decision to write about my life, Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” always came to mind. Especially the lyrics, “emancipate yourself from mental slavery – none but ourselves can free our mind.” This is one of the key principles that I wanted to instill in my children, and one that we should all embrace. We’ve been fed false narratives about who we are as Black people for far too long. Honoring the legacy of our ancestors is a significant accomplishment and very necessary to successfully navigate life. – Bill Davis, “Baba and the Crew: A True Story of a Single Black Father’s Journey to Redemption”
Available for purchase now at Amazon!
Emmanuel Kulu, Jr: An African Historian and Author Telling The True African Story
Emmanuel Kulu, Jr. is an African Historian and Author of Cameroonian descent (Zulu/Bantu Tribe). As a career social worker, Kulu has a deep passion for history and the creative arts. Kulu began his professional creative career with film writing and acting with films like; The Rize & Fall of Tephlon Ent., Bug Love and The First Purge.
In more recent years, Kulu turned his focus to his African lineage. After several years of deep study and research of great African kingdoms, Kulu was drawn to Ancient Egypt as the monarch of African Studies & Antiquities. Kulu questioned the validity of prior novel and film depictions of the ancient Egyptians who were, in fact, African people.
As an African Historian, Emmanuel Kulu has traveled the country giving lectures, seminars, and conferences on the miseducation of African history at various high schools, colleges, and universities. Based on his thorough research, Kulu created a historical fiction based off true events, “I, Black Pharaoh: Rise to Power (2020)” & “I, Black Pharaoh: Golden Age of Triumph (2021)”. Both novels restore the true African imagery of Ancient Egypt (Kemet).
About the Book (I, Black Pharaoh: Golden Age of Triumph)
A powerful fast-paced Egyptian telling that will transport readers into the Golden Age of Africa. The untold story of destiny, triumph and epic battles. The historical rise of the Queen-Pharaoh, “Hatshepsut” and expansionist Warrior-Pharaoh, “Thutmose III,” who is also called, “Black Pharaoh.”
A prophecy is given to the sorcerer by way of dream, about the coming birth of a child that would become a mighty conqueror of nations, Black Pharaoh. But his birth would be darkened with betrayal, deceit and eminent death to the royal throne. Against all odds, his majesty will rise and face the greatest obstacles that an Egyptian ruler has ever beheld…
Click here to get your copy.
Church Economics: will this develop Africa?
Church Planting (Image: Africa Inland Mission, Europe)
Africa is a continent that is blessed with an abundance of the world’s natural resources compared to other continents and with these, one is at pains to explain why Africa is not the most prosperous developed continent but instead, it houses poverty, unemployment and diverse underdevelopment. Africa happens to be one of the most religious continents with its people believing that God is the giver of all things. For Christians, the bible contains many verses that speak to how the people should prosper but one wonders why Africa continues to lag behind in various development aspects and the people living in misery. The question that begs an answer is, are church principles of success failing?
Prayer alone is not enough
Prayer is no substitute for hard work. It seems most of the African population has been made to believe that attaining success can be acquired miraculously through prayer and church dedication other than mixing that with hard work. It is against this background that Africans can buy a business building, break it down in order to build a church and spend most of their time praying for jobs. While it is good to have faith that when one prays, their requests could be accepted, the same bible says “faith without works is dead” which implies that one ought to put efforts beyond faith.
The bible does not support laziness and this can be seen from Proverb 6 vs 6-8, where the bible asks one to learn from the Ant to be wise and hard working. It reads “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!, It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.” The verse illustrates that an Ant will prepare for the winter while it is still summer in order to ensure that, when times are tough and work is not possible, they have enough to eat. The bible further tells Christians to work for 6 days and rest on the seventh day but it seems that hard work has been replaced by only prayer with people spending most of the time praying than working.
The bible also says in 1 Timothy 5:8 that ‘But if any provide not for his own and especially for those of his own house, he has denied the faith and is worse than an infidel. This verse tells us that even the bible does not favour poverty. In the actual sense, Christians are supposed to be the richest people in the world, to show the world how rich their God is but instead it is the other way round. We see a lot of people going to churches to pray for success and wealth which they don’t work hard for but want it to come on a silver plate. It is important to run to God for wealth and all, but also, people ought to pray for wisdom on how to work hard and see opportunities because prayer alone will not bring food on the table, it will not give clothes to wear or other things that need finances. If Jesus worked as a carpenter, Paul worked as tent marker and other Christians of old, why should abandon work, education, commitment and believe in miracles only?
Church as solution provider
A church is a gathering of people with similar religious beliefs who meet in a common place to worship. As the people gather, each one comes with their own problems that they hope to present before their God in prayer with a hope that it gets answered. The bible has several references where God worked through other people to address the needs of his people. In these days, however, when one presents their challenge before fellow congregants, the most common responses would be ‘God bless you’, ‘it shall be well’ or ‘we shall pray for you’ with no practical help given. Sadly, some solutions could be with the fellow church members.
The church houses so many unemployed people and many employers, it houses the rich and the poor, it houses the skilled and the unskilled. Financial challenges could be addressed by members sharing their income, unemployment could be provided by those that have opportunities to offer and other solutions could be within and do not necessary depend on prayer alone. If church members put resources to start businesses, to create employment, provide school fees, brainstorm solutions to national problems among other things, the improvement in the lives of the people would be so great that the nation would benefit. However, the status quo rarely considers the needs of their people but rather focus on lessons that may not even be applicable and relevant to meet the needs of the people.
Actually, the bible has in several instances referred to the fact that religious people neglect the needs of their people. It would be important that solutions that need prayer alone are separated from the solutions that can come from among the people. Other than just preaching the gospels, identifying the needs of the people and finding solutions would help people be solution providers for others also.
It is sad that some religious leaders have taken advantage of their members by swindling them of their hard earned income in the name that they would pray for them if only they brought money. If religion is to work for Africa, it would be important to get all the principles of success, apply them correctly and work to ensure that they work for the people. We cannot pray ourselves out of poverty, unemployment or under development. Now is the time to think beyond church economics but rather pick the principles and apply them correctly for our prosperity.
By: Nchimunya Muvwende An Economist