A young American friend of mine once narrated how horrible she feels about having access to enough food to fill her stomach and even more if she feels like calling sick from work due to uneasiness from a bloated stomach, and yet, living with the reality that millions of people die of hunger in several parts of Africa.
In a similar trend, I have observed that most humanitarian organizations (to their result-oriented credit) publicized the importance and relevance of their work through efforts in parts of Africa, and most often, with either pitiable picture of an African child, or that of a camera-happy African holding on to a humanitarian aid package provided by humanitarian organizations.
While the first picture aggressively convinces the likes of my friend to make a contribution, the camera-happy second picture encourages more of such contributions. Alas, it is for the common good.
Statistics coming out of Africa clearly indicates corroboration on the aforementioned circumstances. According to the Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics in a report by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), 60.9% of Nigerians in 2010 are living in absolute poverty; some 112.47 million out of Nigeria’s estimated 150 million population.
Relatively, correlating figures from Africa as a whole gives credence to the growing expansion of humanitarian activities in the continent through infiltration into the 300million plus Africans living in extreme poverty according to Megan Smedly, author of Poverty in Africa. The website, Global Issues has a lot more of compiled data from varying sources, showcasing the amount of poverty in the continent.
However, it is also important to note the disastrous effect of a rather noble effort towards the eradication of poverty in Africa through foreign aid, a measure strongly advocated by global diplomats and African political and economic leaders despite glaring failures and ability to cause even more poverty on the continent.
A situation such as the arrogant insistence on aid as a potent means of eradicating poverty in Africa casts not only doubt on the reasoning of foreign aid advocates, but also on the possibility of ever experiencing a poverty-free Africa. This ignorant insistence also gives room to conspiracy theories on the true intent of the blind aid provisions being forced down Africa’s throat, as either a just effort on poverty eradication or a leeway to the fulfillment of other seeming unrelated interests.
The true path to a prosperous Africa lies solely in transformative governance, and the people’s attitude to governance in Africa. Hence, by implication, the solution to Africa’s problems is in the hands of Africans.
In 2012, a particular island nation from Africa created a positive and inspiring stir in the annual Index of Economic Freedom published by the Heritage Foundation by emerging as the first country from sub-Saharan Africa to climb up to the top 10 position of world leaders in economic freedom.
The feat by the Republic of Mauritius is also reflected in the Mo Ibrahim Foundation sponsored 2012 Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) which puts the island nation on the top spot in Africa with an overall score of 82.8% covering indexed factors such as safety, rule of law, participation, human rights, sustainable economic opportunity and human development. Meanwhile, Nigeria in an unrelated fashion and famously considered as West Africa’s powerhouse, has for the first time this year fallen into the bottom ten governance performers on the continent.
The indicating factors responsible for Mauritius feat are the basic relative necessities to a path of national or continental prosperity for the African continent.
In the view of the Heritage Foundation, Mauritius impressive economic progress “is underpinned by a sound and transparent legal framework that strongly upholds the rule of law. A competitive tax regime and an efficient regulatory environment have encouraged broad-based and diversified economic development. Open-market policies that support dynamic trade and investment have bolstered productivity and competitiveness. With only a modest natural resource base, economic prosperity have been achieved through policies that encourage flexibility and empower individuals.” (http://www.heritage.org/index/country/mauritius?src=home)
The formidable path to prosperity of any nation or region of the world are enshrined in basic ideas that expressly empowers individuals whose independent purposes and plans forms the very unit of which composes the society, rephrasing the words of the late Roy A. Childs, a scholar of the CATO Institute.
The Mauritius testimony is worthy of responsible emulation, emphasizing the importance of a constitutional and limited government, regulatory efficiency that promotes competitive productivity and innovations, open markets with no biased preference to anyone or groups, and sound rule of law that is free of chaos and corruption, protecting and enforcing the rights of individuals to life, liberty and property. These are the very ingredients to facilitate a prosperous, peaceful, and economically free African continent.
PS. This article, by the same author, was originally published on AfricanLiberty.org as part of its VOICE OF LIBERTY AFRICA (VOLA) Project