On Tuesday May 2, 2023, Ugandan legislators passed the ‘controversial Anti -Homosexuality Bill for the second time and attracted heated debate both locally and internationally. The high priests of Ugandan society had a reason to smile. However, the ‘watchdogs’ of Africa in the false pretense of human rights started barking and hawking threats among which is the bait of cutting back on the aid extended to Uganda.
Analytically, heavy reliance on foreign aid is largely responsible for Africa’s vulnerability to external interference to which the re-tabling of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill by the Ugandan Legislators is no exception. A case in point is the US $58.4 billion that Africa received in 2021 which was 33.6 percent of global aid to justify what a weak economy Africa is.
The economy is to a state what blood is to a body. All the fortunes of any country hinge on the to be strength of its economy. For anything strong, it should be independent so as to have the free will to make choices without fear or favor -which explains why the already developed countries (ADCs) are where they are with the economic muscle to say yes or no depending on their political, social or economic goal at a time. The lion question crops up immediately; is the African economy independent?
The answers to this are different definitely basing on the analogy that everyone, from wherever s/he is, sees the sun and the moon. Even then, the truth like a thief of an elephant, is hard to hide. It is now a public secret that the African economy is not independent. Africa lacks the policy space to implement domestic actions that benefit our economic recovery without consulting and aligning with the interests of the world powers such as USA, China and France to mention but to save our time. This is chiefly explained by the heavy reliance on foreign aid. Africa lacks veto over the exploitation of her resources. Africa has no power or whatsoever choice over the value of the native currencies. Africa is a price taker not maker of her exports in the international market!
To crown it all, there is no choice over which economic education Africa equips its young population with in pre-primary, primary, secondary and post – secondary institutions of learning. This is testimony to the ever-increasing numbers of financially and economically illiterate graduates on the African continent because they are fed on barren economic studies that are bent on meeting the interests of the ‘’economic angels ‘’ we all know. Statistics of a report from the African Centre for Economic Transformation (ACET) reveal that 50% of graduates in Africa do not find work each year. Consequently, the development we wish to attain remains a rumour. The game changer.
Africa needs a free and ’virgin’ policy space. Dear USA or China allow Africa to handle the African economic problems’ Africally’. After all long before you stained the continent, it was a prosperous land advanced in commerce, science and politics evidenced by great civilizations in Egypt as well as organized monarchies such as Buganda in Uganda, Songhai among others.
With that, Africa can have the monetary and fiscal space to hatch policies that are ‘’African oriented’’ as the case was in Muammar al-Qaddafi’s Libya. Little wonder then that at the tail -end of his reign in calendar year 2010, Libya was a model economy defined by a high GDP growth rate of 5% against the global GDP growth rate of 4.54% in the same year. This can ensure that unemployment and inflation are diagnosed to stimulate sustainable economic growth and propagate economic stability. This is an automatic red card to the foreign aid of charity which is actually ’sharity’ of Africa by the economic Popes such as China, USA, France to mention but not to exhaust them.
Africa needs equal power in determination of prices for goods on the international market. It should not appear as though foreigners are helping us to buy our goods moreover at take away prices which partly explains why in calendar year 2020, the total value of all African exports amounted to a paltry US$205,741 million as compared to only Switzerland’s US$198.42 billion in 2022 that is due to non-negotiable import quotas against African goods.
If it is defiance, let it be defiance. There is no logic in one unit of any currency be it a dollar or pound being equivalent to 3000 or 5000 units of another currency. In this we can realize more revenue from exports which is an engine to strong domestic currencies whose multiplier effect is a better position in international markets.
Africa needs to internally unite and have a consolidated United States of Africa. This can magnify Africa’s bargaining power in the international space in issues of politics, economics and social affairs. In addition, it is the only if not the first chance to harness the maximum benefit from the over1.4 billion people since it is an avenue for a widened and smooth African market for Africans
The teeth that are together can bite the meat so goes the senile saying by the Baganda. As the individual economies limp back to normal, they can produce the economic messiah.
And this is none other than a one African currency to die for our economic sins. Please Africa, the independence of the previous century was a Moses that saw the promised land but never entered it. Our unity now in economics and politics is the Joshua to help us cross the Economic Jordan. Short of this, the eulogy will continuously ring in our ears-gone are the days when children inherited wealth. We now inherit debts. If statistics are anything to go by, Africa’s external debt increased by more than fivefold between 2000 and 2020 to an alarming sum of $ 496 billion, an economic death bed from which the above strategies can liberate us. Wake up Africa!