umans are born with innate potentials to create, recreate, produce and reproduce. Anything, imaginable and/or unimaginable can come to life with the power of the mind. And over the years, humans have attained feats that were deemed unattainable in time past. They have surpassed heights beyond the skies, and discovered new habitable world out there in the galaxy. Plans to relocate some earthly citizens down to the new world had already begun. Also, attempt to grow food on that planet is taken shape too.
All these and many more are the unimaginable powers that human possess to say the least. Looking back, from the inventor of lightbulb to computer and from the inventor of telephone to the least of invention today, I have never heard a name synonymous to an African descent being an inventor of some sort, let alone seeing it. That makes me to wonder and would want to believe the quote from George Orwell’s allegorical novel, Animal Farm, which says, “all animals are equal but some are more equal than others.” In this case, “All humans are intelligent but some are more intelligent than others.”
Going by history, one would want to agree that the Caucasian predecessors and their descendants were and are more intelligent than people of African origin (past and present). If not, why have I or anyone else not stumbled upon a world changing innovation exclusively by an African descent? Is it by omission or commission that an African is not recognized let alone listed among the world’s inventors? Or Africans were designed by nature to be bystanders in terms of science, technology, innovation?
Moving on, I believe there is nothing in the world to be invented anymore. What we are experiencing in this present day and time is simply innovation. Finding a new, easier way of getting things achieved is the least any innovator could come up with. It is sort of like a copy-and-paste process with a little creative touch would birth a new product/service.
A typical example is China. When they first started after the end of 2nd world war, people condemned products that were from that nation and simply labelled it “fake and inferior”. But, they kept at it, improving on all human endeavour in term of production and manufacturing.
I could still remember coming across a mobile product from China a decade and half ago called “Nokla 2310”, an imitation of the famous mobile phone giant, Nokia Corporations. It had the same functionality as its superior even though it was an inferior. Yet, it was all over the markets in Nigeria and, similar imitated products from China also dominated front stores across Africa. They (the Chinese) were experimenting with products back then (via the imitation of popular brands), trying to get it right and of course what better place to test their imitated prototype if not Nigeria (a popular consumer nation) vis-à-vis Africa.
Soon enough, they got it right and here emerge the most powerful economy in the world in terms of manpower, manufacturing and otherwise. There is virtually a Chinese touch in almost all the manufacturer product in the world today from computer, clothing, phones, Television set, vehicles, to chemical products, you name it. When they were busy “imitating”, the world was busy on the sideline criticising anything and everything “Chinese”. Overtime, the Chinese doggedness, tenacity and never-say-die attitude paid off. Today, arguably, every household in the world has a Chinese product.
It is really sad to know that, despite being the world’s second most populous continent (1.2 billion people), Africa accounts for only 1.4 percent of global manufacturing value added in the first quarter of 2020.
Let us start by tracing Africa’s economic retardation to its source – a major issue that has hampered our policymakers and damaged our economy. With documented evidence of colonial masters’ institutionalized unhealthy policies and planned episodes of standstill events, a critical question must be asked: Why is it that during the industrial revolutions of the 17th and 18th centuries, Europe refused to allow industrial education in Africa for over 50 years of colonization, preferring instead to send aids?
Of course, given the fact that Africa is currently freckled with projects built with aid from the United States, Europe, and, more recently, China, the above question may not be without merit. Let us take a view at some Chinese development aid to Africa to get a better grasp of this item.
According to Reports, China’s development support to Africa accounted for 47% of the country’s overall foreign aid in 2009, and it funded 1,666 official assistance projects in 51 African nations between 2000 and 2012. In addition, the Brookings Institution Aid Data research indicated that between 2000 and 2014, China provided at least 70% of its international aid to Africa.
Among these projects is the African Union building in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which cost $200 million to construct and was completed in 2012. China recently indicated its readiness to provide a $31.6 million grant to ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) for the construction of a new headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria.
Egypt, which bought supplies worth $45 million in 2014, is China’s largest African market. There is also a healthy flow of carpets between the two countries, with multi-million dollar shipments traveling in both directions. In recent years, China has funded the construction of dozens of African hospitals. Infrastructure projects, such as the $8.3 billion Lagos-Kano rail line in Nigeria, are China’s biggest investments in Africa till date.
All of these, of course, were completed entirely by Chinese enterprises, with no indigenous firms handling any aspect of the construction process, including manpower, materials, or management. This essentially demonstrates that they are not doing the economies of Africa any favour. Instead, they are steadily scouring a naked wound with bare hands for a relief rather than providing a lasting solution for healing. In the end, Africa, rather than progress, would retrogress by ending up being heavily indebted to a ravenous wolf who came in the form of sheep clothing with aid. This is similar to giving a beggar a penny with the right hand and taking a pound off his plate with the left.
Whatever the truth is, I believe there is something unsettling technologically that makes Africa more of a gloomy continent. More so, given current events and commentary on the continent, it is clear that fair-minded and foresighted Africans accept this perspective, with the view that the solution to Africa’s underdevelopment especially technologically, is for Africans to rise up for Africa. And, it begins by shunning any form of aid from the western world because their foreign aid (the 21st century form of neocolonialism) always come underlined with costly consequences.
Indeed, many have argued at various times and places that, while Africans have shown apparent progress in their culture and civilization, the fact that, nearly 60 years after independence, African countries continue to look to China and its counterparts (Europe and the US) for assistance reveals a continent devoid of the capacity to take responsibility for its actions.
On the way out of the continent’s technological quagmire and the current wealth disparity between nations (industrial and non-industrial economies), the current wealth disparity between nations represented by the highly industrialized Western world on the one hand and most developing (non-industrial economies) countries, particularly Africa, on the other, is primarily due to differences in technical caliber. The gap has widened significantly since then, and will continue to do so as long as developing countries rely almost entirely on industrialized nations for the technologies and industrial inputs they require to sustain their economies.
Regularly, by continuously revising their policies and keeping up to speed with new discoveries as they emerge, western countries have been able to master and harness technologies to create globally competitive industrial goods (and services) and sustain the dominant position of science and technology in their economies.
Accordingly, the only solution for developing countries to close the wealth gap is for them to establish their own endogenous talents and capacities to generate modern technology and competitive industrial commodities within their own economies.
In order to catalyze the process, African leaders will want to borrow from Asian tigers once more. They must examine and comprehend the basic components of foresight in leadership, as well as draw a lesson on how leadership decision-making procedures incorporate judgment concerning unknown factors, as opposed to a pure mathematical probability approach. Learn why Asia’s leaders came to the conclusion that the only way to survive was to industrialize after coping with the region’s unemployment difficulties.
It is evident that, with the right conditions and opportunities, Africans would realize their full creative potential. With the manpower and material readily flowing in the continent, what has been the bane since the discovery of the black nation is leadership that can manage both the manpower and material effectively and efficiently to create excellent results.