Africa, world’s second largest and second most populous continent, is home to a large number of people who do not have access to clean water, food and quality education.
But that is because its leaders have decided to choose the path of poverty, said Professor PLO Lumumba, a former director of Kenyan anti-corruption commission and former director at the Kenyan School of Laws.
Lumumba, who addressed both private and public stakeholders at the sixth Goddy Jidenma Foundation public lecture, said the high poverty mindset of the African race was what had subjected it to relying largely on grants and aids from the advanced countries of the world.
According to Lumumba, these grants and aids can never solve Africa’s problem rather it would continue to make its citizens poorer, and unless it unites and speaks with one voice, it will continue to play a second fiddle among other continents.
Read also: Changing culture in Africa (1)
“The problem of Africa is the problem of leaders,” he said. “However, instead of it to liberate itself from poverty by electing the right leaders, it continues to vote in men and women who do not understand good governance”.
The Kenyan professor, who is also a staunch pan-Africanist, explained that only good governance could translate into economic development for any nation.
He noted that the time had come for the African nation to define its own democracy and governance that is suitable for its economies and not those that was defined for it by the Western economies of the world.
“The architecture laid by the international economies of the world does not take care of the Africa, making the continent an orphan in international affairs,” he said.
Lumumba, while speaking on the topic: “Governance, insecurity, poverty and economic development: Wither Africa,” said Africans had some of the best brains but the search for greener pastures had made its youthful population preferred contributing to the development of other countries instead of their home land.
To him, the world is talking about the fourth industrial revolution, with the advancement of technology, Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics, among others, but Africa is nowhere in the scheme of things.
Africa lost in the first, second and in the third industrial revolution and from all indications, it is losing out in the fourth industrial revolution, Lumumba said at the event.
He however tasked Nigeria to wake up in its role as the big brother, in championing the cause for unity in the continent as only in one voice can there be major development in the region.
He decried the high level of disunity in the continent in terms of trade, saying that “Africa produces what it does not consume and consumes what it does not produce”.
He believes however that the new trade pact signed by the African nation should go a long way in stimulating trade in the continent.
Kingsley Moghalu, a one-time deputy governor of Central Bank and presidential aspirant at the 2019 elections, who was also present at the lectures, said the Nigerian case is unique as the country is blessed with vast resources as well as best brains, but is still lagging in the continent.
He tied the problem of the country to bad governance, with the populace voting for the problems rather than solutions.
“The issue with Nigeria is that the psyche of the people has been battered making them not to realize unless it votes in leaders who has the mindset of transforming the economy, it would continue to remain the way it is,” Mohgalu said.