For sometime now we have as a continent kept clamoring for a socio-economic and political growth. This is even more so in Sierra Leone where the effects of a brutal civil war has had its toll on our domestic infrastructure. However we have forgotten to take into consideration one major factor that can ensure our development;- the need for us to be seen partaking in the process of development. Over the past decades Africans have preferred to go to developed nations, despite the serious challenges they normally faced; and this has been a major concern to most Africans at home. As a continent, Africa has the wherewithal to ensure the much needed socio-economic and political development.
We have the resources; we have the manpower and several other factors needed for the growth of a nation, but these have not been utilized fully. In fact we have always argued that the developed world owes Africans a lot taking into consideration the fact that it was during the slave trade that developed countries became what they are today, and practically, the role of Africans in this direction need not be overemphasized for obvious reasons.
In the West African sub region, we have precious minerals like diamond, gold and bauxite in Sierra Leone, a small country with less than six million people, but yet that country has almost always been ranked at the bottom of the Human Development Index of the United Nations Development Program. Liberia also has its own resources that can be a major factor to the economic growth of a nation, but yet still, there isn’t much from the viewpoint of cohesive national development.
This is almost also the case with Nigeria, a country that is believed to be the giant in the West African sub region in terms of oil production .However almost on a daily routine, tens of people are being killed for oil and the ordinary Nigerian has still not been able to see the relevance of the oil industry in that country.
Instead of actually utilizing our God given resources for the betterment of the continent, we rather would prefer to use such resources as major factors fueling conflicts in Africa. From Sudan, to Nigeria, Sierra Leone Congo and et al, this is the same. In Sierra Leone for instance, diamonds accounted largely for that country’s decade long civil war that only came to an end in 2000 after thousands of people, including women and children were killed; in Nigeria, the oil rich states have not literally known what is the meaning of peace, I mean real peace and the need for coexistence; the Democratic Republic of Congo is the worst scenario among other countries when it comes to evaluating the impact of internal conflict and strife.
All of these are as a result of our own making. Am saying so because the worst neo-colonial war that we are still being faced with is the fact that most Africans would prefer to go to the West, amidst difficulties rather than staying home to see how they could contribute to the growth of the continent. This has even drawn the attention of some African leaders in recent time, including that OF Sierra Leone who recently pleaded on his fellow citizens in the Diaspora to come home and help ensure the development of the country.
Granted that one is at liberty to determine his destiny, it is also prudent to realize that the growth of the continent depends on the collaborative efforts of all its citizens. To me, the fact that Africans are still ‘fighting’ to get to the West by all means is indicative of the fact that we are still in some form of mental slavery; mark you, this time we are not being forced as was the case during the slave trade but rather we are forcing our ways to the developed world and this is pathetic to say the least.
As you read this piece, most Africa Heads of State are in the United States, attending the UN General Assembly meeting. One of these leaders, Sierra Leone’s President Ernest Bai Koroma had time out of his busy schedule to talk to Sierra Leoneans in the Diaspora to see the need to come home and help in the development agenda of that country. In fact in Sierra Leone, there is an Office of the Diaspora Affairs that serves as a conduit to getting Sierra Leoneans from the Diaspora to come and help in ensuring a sustainable development for the country.
One can understand the intricacies involved, especially from the perspective of financial resources; it has often been argued that one cannot get the financial benefits at home, taking into account the type of pay that would normally be offered to those coming home. But from a realistic perspective, the development of the continent should be seen as a sacrifice from its citizens and that it is better to come home and make such a sacrifice than staying in the West doing odd jobs. Let them come home
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