Monday, June 03, 2013

This is time for Africa!
By Editor
Wed 29 May 2013, 14:00 CAT

Tomaz Salomao, secretary general of the Southern Africa Development Community, says African states should exert their efforts in implementing clear independent strategies of managing domestic affairs away from reliance on regional integration or external intervention for development.

Salomao emphasises the need for African states to concentrate on mobilising their domestic resources for development. And he further observes that our so-called co-operating partners "are here in Africa to deal with their own business".

When Che Guevara was asked by Mrs Josie Fanon in an interview that was published on December 26, 1964 about what road of development was best suited for the African countries, he responded: "If my advice were asked, or rather my opinion, as Cuban Minister of Industry, I would say simply that a country beginning to develop itself must, in the first period, work, above all at organisation, and that one should approach the practical problems by 'using your own head'.

This may seem to be an abstract and rather vague opinion but it is something very important… It may be necessary at times to set up small plants requiring a lot of workers and offering jobs for many unemployed, rather than highly mechanised enterprises employing a reduced number of workers. In certain cases, a sector must be rapidly mechanised; in other cases, this is not necessary.

In fact, in a country on the road to development, most problems involve agriculture and extractive industries, but it is quite evident that these problems are posed in a different way in each country, and that one must pay attention above all to particular realities. That is why it is impossible to give a general formula that could be applied to all the African countries."
Che was not opposed to aid but emphasised the need for vigilance on this score: "There are also other positive aspects: the present possibilities of much more rapid development for African countries that even a few years ago due to the aid which some of the capitalist countries can likewise provide under certain conditions. But on this point, we must be vigilant." That was Che in 1964.

We should stand for self-reliance. We should hope for foreign aid but we should not be dependent on it; we should depend on our own efforts, on the creative power of our people; on our own strength, and that means regeneration through our own efforts. We should rely on the things we ourselves can organise.

We stand for regional integration but it must be regional integration based on integrating our strengths while clearing away our weaknesses. We have a pressing need to unite. We think that the correct strategy is to unite and regionally integrate. But this, as Salomao has correctly observed, does not take away our responsibility to manage and develop our individual countries in the most efficient and effective way. If we ignore this, we will be running in circles. The political leaders who fail to see this will have to answer to history for it. We hope they will accept their responsibility, understand the problem, state it in correct terms in order to solve it and move our countries forward.

We must choose concrete, realistic and definitive solutions - not take the path of agony. We must choose a clear, intelligent, effective solution - not head toward Calvary.

We think we have been struggling uphill for long enough. We have suffered not only the torment of Calvary but also that of Sisyphus, who had to keep pushing a boulder up a hill and every time he was about to reach the top, it would roll back down, and he would have to start all over again.
Our situation is worse than Calvary because Calvary was climbed quickly; we have been climbing our hill for a long time, and we keep on having to start over. Calvary is preferable to Sisyphus' torment, and if we have had our Calvary, we should also have a resurrection.

What we want is to find a real solution to the problem, but what will happen is that others will try to prevent the implementation of those things that would move our countries and our people forward; they will divide the people; they will give a little aid here and there so that each will remain his own Calvary - and not even a Calvary, but with the agonising torture of pushing the boulder up a never-ending hill. But one day, the peoples are going to demand, 'How much longer do we have to put up with these conditions?' And then they will find solutions.
We prefer an orderly solution; internal and external unity; and a real, definitive solution for the problems of dependence and underdevelopment.

Let each country handle its issues in a way that best suits its democratic process and the solution of its most pressing economic problems. Generalised prescriptions that have been imposed on our countries have not achieved much. As Salomao has correctly observed, "we need to have long-term visions on how to do this".

We need to exert ourselves that much more, and break out of the vicious cycle of dependence imposed on us by the financially powerful; those in command of immense market power and those who dare to fashion the world in their own image. We are perfectly capable of deciding upon our own future form of government, discovering and ourselves dealing with any dangers which might arise.
Africans are eager and willing to be among the very best in all areas of human endeavour.

Our renaissance is at hand - and our challenge is to steer our continent through the tide of history.

As it is said, it would be a cruel irony of history if our actions to regenerate our continent were to unleash a new scramble for Africa which, like that of the nineteenth century, plundered our continent's wealth and left it once more the poorer.

And as we try to redeem and work for the regeneration of our continent, we should be conscious of the fact that the African renaissance can only succeed as part of the development of a new and equitable world order in which our marginalised continent takes its rightful place and becomes a maker of history rather than the possession of others. This is time for Africa!

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