Saturday, December 23, 2006

Africa talk, Africa walk...

Heard about the fable of Gondwanaland? Its an interesting and intriguing concept I was introduced to in my first Geography lesson in secondary school (in some parts of the world, it is referred to as High School). It postulates the idea of one super continent called Gondwana comprising of Southern Europe, Africa, South America, Antarctica, and Australia. In essence we were all together as one continent before now. It was said that due to some tectonic "gyrations" and not too familiar jargon accustomed only to our geology comrades, Gondwana was split and drifted into separate continents as we know them today. Is this true or just one of those sage-like postulations? Well, I have some reason to believe this is true...both from scientific evidences as reflected in climatic conditions along the fault lines of this drift...and more importantly some biblical evidence...yeah...but that is not the topic of discussion in this post. But what is particularly interesting is that of all the continents, only Africa remained in the initial Gondwana position, all the other continents simply drifted essence new destinies and definitions for the drifted continents...but Africa...same position?...does this ring a bell?

I am not one of those who appreciates the open sores of Africa as it dots the entire landscape of its seductive anatomy, neither do I berate gerontocracy for the heaps of challenges ingrained into the African psyche. When will we mobilise ourselves for some economic tectonic shift similar to that which split Gondwana. When will we stop murdering the soul of Africa in the name of opportunities that portend more of rape of the continent's resources than actually builds a foundation for its growth and economic emancipation (and please do not see this as a Black vs White is heartwarming to see that Africa is a continent for all colours). It is very important that we put first things first. I'm a believer in Globalisation (it works for the benefit of those who choose to be prepared and very specific in what they aim to achieve)...but in the African case, to build a long lasting and sustainable development path for the continent, our path to globalisation and eventual drift from current Gondwana location must begin with intense "localisation" of the continent. What do I mean?

How come there's not a super railway system running across the continent? How is air travel within Africa coordinated (travel within Africa is relatively more expensive than trotting from Africa and former Gondwana "colonies"). How is regional security synchronised for the benefit of Africans(not just about Interpol). How seamless is road transport within the continent? What about other infrastructures? Why on earth should there not be coordination between providers and regulators of social infrastructure in the continent? For instance, I can't imagine why a mobile or phone call from Nigeria to Cameroon, or to Togo, or to Benin Republic or even to Ghana will cost much more than calls to either Europe or the United States.

The solution to this quagmire from my point of view is a challenge we as individuals and the private sector needs have to strategically champion. Why the private sector? The high cost of doing business within the continent hurts mostly the private citizens of the continent, and believe me it chokes our ability to see opportunities beyond our various "local" governments called countries. Let the "gerontocrats" only provide the direction needed in pushing for a political framework for Africans to unleash their true potentials...just maybe...just maybe...we may be able to generate enough force of tectonic proportions to move Africa from its current Gondwana position to a location of continental bliss.