Friday, August 5, 2011

Can Africa Ever Be The Best Continent on Earth?

Can The African Ever Be in The Pole Position As The Earth Changes?

Within the same set of limitations and developmental constraints as it exist now 2011?

The fact is that the African is the least endowed in the world today and has the least willingness and ability to generate economic value for his own progress and prosperity. I am attempting to examine this current African situation from the opposite end, and see if it is actually doom-and-gloom. Assuming that, the African attitude to development and progress remains as bad as it is forever, can the African benefit from it? Can the African find any reward for being the least willing and able to generate economic value for his own progress and prosperity? Most of the people in the west and some Africa (myself included) are worried for the future of Africa, wonder why in the mist of plenty the African is hungry. Why the African cannot go the way of the west and create his own industrial resolution and so on and so forth?

Industrial Revolution

Talking about industrial revolution, it has moved Europe into an era of remarkable improvement in the conditions of life and material prosperity. This incredible development exported to the Americas, where abundant resources and strong will of migrant Europeans brought about greater prosperity that surpassed that of the originator Europe. Japan and then lately China downloaded the key strategies used by Europe and America for their rapid industrialization and the results has been impressive. 

Africa is a Scar on the Conscience of the World?

Africa is been referred to as the "scar on the conscience of the world" by Tony Blair the former prime minister of the United Kingdom.  Being an African and studying in Europe at the time this statement was made, I felt depressed by it and ashamed. I recognized that the African is least likely to explore and exploit their environment for economic gain, and that the Africa is least likely to be innovative and aspire for progress and prosperity.

Putting aside hard feeling, the African situation is indeed worrying, we easily reminded of this by pictures of starving Somalians every year and that of the many wars on the continent. If the situation is that bad and worrying, why are the Africans not taking charge? Necessity is the mother of invention, which is true until you cross the borders into African and you quickly discover that to every rule there is an exception.

Africa: The Origin of the Modern Human Being

The current theory of human origins states that the modern human being originated from Africa. Why is it then that the offspring will evolve so many positive attributes, which make them more successful and their original form (the African). Most of Africa has had more than 100 years of Western Education and aid, yet progress is morbidly slow. Estimates show that, corrupt African politicians steal and take outside the continent, far more than all the aid money given to Africa each year. Using a common sense approach, one can infer then that African is incapable not only of creating his own economic value, but will do the contrary by dissipating economic values donated to him instead of multiplying it.

Africa’s Change of Fortune: Is It Possible in the Future?

Actually, an article I read on Human evolution, which tracks the many changes that has occurred to bring about the different races, inspired this piece. Prompted also by the old adage, "No condition is permanent"; I started to examine the possibility that the African could be the most prosperous and progressive in the distant future, even if the African would maintain his current attributes. What at all can happen to the earth we live on, that will reverse the fortune of the African without reversing his attributes? This scenario appears fictional and more so even to the most optimistic person on earth. Perhaps I can illustrate this scenario: imagine two rafts, the first one made impervious material so the user will remain afloat and survive a drift on the lake (The Western type) and the second one is made of material that is leaky so over time, it absorbs water and the user drowns and dies (The African Type).

Less is more and more is less

Then imagine again that the two rafts drift into another body of water with different constituents and now make the Western-type raft begin to adsorb water and sinking but the opposite happens to the African-type raft. In real life, what at can happen to the earth for this unusual scenario to play out? This is the 1000 trillion dollar question, I am not sure I can answer this but I will suggest something, what if the world population continues to grow but resources remain the same. Whether rich or poor, industrialized or rudimentary, we all have to live our lives with far less that you are makes us comfortable. 

Ability to be Happy with little: Does it Offer a Conditional Selective Advantage?

Granted that every opportunity exist for the African to industrialize and develop but the development is not happening. Is it because the African is just too happy with little? A single chamber thatch-roofed house for a family of seven in an African village and they are just as happy as living is a fully computerized 90 bedroom castle in London. There are people in this world, who live is 3 million pound mansion and still struggle to be happy, who find solace in drugs even fatal drug-addition. An inborn metabolic disease called G6PD deficiency known to offer protection to sufferers against malaria, clearly demonstrates this scenario. There is the possibility that the attribute of being happy with little, with all its attendant low life expectancy and high disease burden, can place the African in a pole position. In pole position as the world most powerful continent on the earth of diminishing-resources and exploding-population.

What do you think?

I just do not know what to expect in the distant future but for now, I will prefer a knowledge-based economic development. I will continue to be committed to the pursuit of a life of happiness, good health and endless possibilities, but once a while I will spare a thought on this scenario. So that in the unlikely situation that it plays out, I will not hit myself for lacking imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge – Albert Einstein.

Patrick Kobina Arthur (PhD),


  1. All hope is not lost. I believe there is a candle light hidden in this dark continent of ours. We have it covered and if only we can allow it to shine, Africa will be a home to the world. We are faced with the issue of mediocrity coupled with short-sightedness. We happen to settle for anything without looking up to what the future beholds. For me, I see the solution as having the right attitude with a dream-filled spirit. The right attitudes from our leaders and every African inclusive even from the hawkers on our streets.
    We do not have to be despondent, I believe Africa would get to her destination one day.

  2. Even though I advocate for the African to develop her full potential and I am appalled by the African settling for less when they can attain greater things, I believe that it is this quality of the African to live and be happy with less that would put Africa in the pole position as the earth changes. As the world population increases and resources remain the same, there would be the need to economize and this is where the African would be useful. The tides will change, Africa would take charge of the world one day. We must however prepare ourselves for this coming change and develop the right attitude so we would be able to sustain this power.

  3. I use to wonder whether the black skin on Africans had something to do with our level of thinking. But due to certain previous and current events this notion doesn't seem to hold. Anyway, i think every continent is faced with various challenges and with different magnitudes. The Arabs are faced with suicide bombings and wars, tsunamis and earthquakes facing the Chinese, Japanese and the middle eastians, Africa is faced with poverty and bad governance and recently the harsh economic crisis in the states and some part of Europe. Overcoming these challenges make a continent a better one. Africa needs to overcome these broad challenges and i believe the solutions exist. there is hope for the future of Africa and it will come soon since nothing last forever

  4. Interesting, for me its simple: We are myopic! We have the problem running from the dog-chain seller on the streets through the University student to the politician sitting in the castle;they all don't think beyond the present into the future. The dog-chain seller wants to sell on the streets and see money 'today-today',whereas he could build a business that he will see its profit later, thus, learning to crawl before walking. The University student chooses a course he/she thinks is cheap and not that he sees a bright future in that course. People are forced into certain academic fields because they are extraordinary in academics and not because they have the passion. Now if medical doctors embark on strike actions we seem not to understand. The politician will also embezzle the tax payers' money that should be used to build good infrastructure for the next generation. No! come to think of it, is it really being myopic? I think it's coupled with greed.
    let's hope for the best...that is the only thing we can hang on now as we play our part, thus, brightening our own corner.

  5. I will not write much because the writer has said enough to motive any one who will. lets promote a positive change and ready to sacrifice or else Iam afraid to say there is no hope. it is said " the one who has no course to die for is not fit to live"

  6. It is never the fault of the Africa man but the conditions that surround us. There is saying that in the community of the blind the one-eyed man is the king. Poverty prevails and hovers in Africa and so one gentleman who happen to acquired a single bedroom is so excited because his colleagues do not have that. All hope is not lost though. Time changes and I hope if we all sack up our minds the future will be bright.

  7. hope i lost is what we always use to console ourselves.well,lets just say hope is not lost,then the right thing is a change in attitude or else hope will be lost.

  8. I think Africa can still compete? The only problem is lack of setting realistic goals. We should take a cue from people from other part of the continents. We have the skilled personnel and the raw materials available to promote our standards of living yet what do we do? There is still hope provided we settle for nothing but the best.