The 42nd Generation organization and Think Tank Africa based in Accra, Ghana with the aim of enlightening the minds of the African youth and Rebuilding the leadership of Africa organized a leadership conference on Africa.
The purpose of this conference was to attempt to answer the question, what is wrong with Africa and proffer solutions that can change the fortunes of Africa for a brighter future.
We also asked whether corruption is the major problem of Africa and what can be done to remedy the situation.
This write up is an excerpt of what participants from six (6) African countries based in Ghana came up with.
What is corruption? Can a country develop without corruption? Is corruption the major problem of Africa?
It is important to understand that those considered as advanced economies have over the centuries used illegal, unfair and “corrupt” means to build wealth and power.
Things about huge money laundering syndicates, arm sales and arms smuggling around the world, prostitution, gambling, slavery, bribery and forced labour. All these measures though controversial are corrupt practices which have enriched advanced economies for centuries.
Corruption in Africa, However –is projected as though other regions and powerful nations have not used such crude and unjust measures to earn billions of dollars around the world.
On the question of what is corruption participants spoke their minds on the issue.
- Corruption is a practice of hoarding unto oneself unfairly what is meant for many others and literally eating up the future of generations to come.
- Corruption is also described as the misuse and abuse of power and authority unjustly to suit one’s selfish and individualistic ambitions.
- Corruption is also described as the failure to do, speak and practice what is right in society.
Now what is wrong with Africa? The lack of the political will to do what is right.
- There is a deficit in leadership. That corruption is a product of poor leadership.
- What has gone wrong in Africa is the failure of our systems to function. (Systemic failures). Examples: Erratic water supply, poor management of power supplies, poor healthcare delivery systems.
By focusing on building systems and institutions, most of the problems of corruption would be brought low.
What is wrong with Africa?
- The ignorance and gross disrespect for our value systems. The cultural orientation, traditions which holds families and communities together seems to be disintegrating with time and technology. Despite this, there is the need to keep the unity and friendship alive.
- Good men who should take the lead and be at the helm of change have taken the back seat and allowed the wicked ones to control systems in Africa. Probably afraid of denting their good image. It is time to stand out and speak out for what is right. It is time to show some care about our society.
- What is wrong? The victim Mentality. The blame game. That it is others who have caused our predicament in life. From forefathers to colonial authorities. This may be true. However, your destiny now is in your hands – and only you can do something to change your story.
- Not questioning the status quo. What is wrong is wrong. The old ways of doing things which have not helped Africa make progress must be challenged and abandoned.
Speak up against dead and repressive systems keeping the nation and continent down.
- What is wrong? Africans must write their own story and history and project it to the world themselves. Huge damages have been caused by non Africans attempting to tell the African story when they themselves do not fully understand it and project half truths and falsehoods to the rest of the world.
- Religion – though positive, have put a lot of Africans in a box. People do not challenge anything because of religious stands and would be considered unspiritual if they take strong stands against wrong doing. The African youth whether religious or not, must use his abilities and skills to create positive change in society.
- Laziness and Inertia: African youths must put away laziness out of their lives. Social media for instance is a powerful tool to project one’s image and cause great change. Many African youths use it for extremely trivial and irrelevant purposes. Example: “selfies”, fashion, gossip, base entertainment, whiling away time etc. Let us grow beyond this. Get more serious about life. There is so much more that can be achieved if laziness and idleness is put away.
- Corruption is not Africa’s biggest problem. Corruption is only a consequence of disorderliness, weak systems and institutions, lack of political will and commitment and not learning from past mistakes.
When Africa begins to put the systems in place, strengthen its institutions and enforce its laws, most of its problems of corruption and underdevelopment will be overcome. Wake up- the youth of Africa.