Debate on Africa Day: Building a better Africa and a better world

2016-05-25
Dr Pieter Mulder

The question today: Are we building a better Africa?

On this day in 1963 leaders of 30 independent African states signed in Ethiopia a founding charter to establish the Organisation of African Unity.

In 2002 the OAU established its own successor the African Union. This time in Durban.

In his speech to launch the new AU Pres Mbeki's said: "Through our actions let us proclaim to the world that this is a continent of democracy, a continent of democratic institutions and culture. Indeed, a continent of good governance, where the people participate and the rule of law is upheld.” The AU will set its sights on achieving sustainable development, peace and respect for human rights, and defeating poverty, disease and ignorance.

Did we succeed in this? Partly.

We achieved successes and failures.

In 2015 the Eurmonitor found that five of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world was in sub-Saharan Africa. The region as a whole achieved the second fastest rate of growth behind Asia. That is success. But...

Weak infrastructure, electricity shortages, etc is some of Africa's challenges. In Ethiopia, one of Africa's largest and most dynamic economies, only 34% of roads are paved.

Nigeria, the largest economy, has a similar sized road network as the Philippines, despite having a land area more than three times the size. Nigeria is also plagued by electricity shortages.

Let’s stop blaming a colonial past for all these problems. Most African colonies became independent more than 50 years ago. If you want to blame the past -- first compare these African countries with colonies in Asia that became independent at the same time and are doing much better at the moment. Then you realise that bad decisions, unrealistic economy policies, corrupt leaders and internal strife in Africa caused many of our problems.

Take Liberia as an example. It was founded in 1847- 169 years ago -- not as a European colony.

Gestig deur vrygeworde Amerikaanse slawe onder leiding van JJ Roberts as 'n plek om weer vry te wees. Hoewel hulle nooit gekoloniseer was nie, is daar vandag steeds groot armoede en is hul geteister met etniese geweld en konflik. Al Afrika se probleme kan nie net op kolonialisme en wit onderdrukking geblameer word nie.

As ek van ons suksesse en mislukkings in Afrika praat, is hier lede in die raad wat sê ek as Afrikaner is nie deel van Afrika nie. Ek mag nie van "ons" suksesse en mislukkings praat nie. Hoe kortsigtig. Asof hulle kan besluit of ek my as deel van Afrika sien. As Afrika of Suid-Afrika tot niet gaan raak dit my en my kleinkinders net soos almal anders. Ek het nie ‘'n tweede adres nie en my taal word net hier gepraat. Hulle aanvaar die Arabiere in die noorde van Afrika as deel van Afrika maar nie die Afrikaners in die suide van Afrika nie. Die Arabiere met 'n totaal ander kultuur en 'n wrede geskiedenis van slawehandel.

Tydens my besoeke aan Afrika lande as adjunk minister was daar altyd groot waardering vir ons boere se kennis en produksievermoë.

Waar Afrika die wêreld se natuurlike kosmandjie behoort te wees, word die vasteland se landboupotensiaal eenvoudig vermors. Van die 48 lande in Afrika suid van die Sahara was 35 teen 2000 netto invoerders van kos. Afrika se aandeel in die werelduitvoer van kos het sedert 1970 gehalveer tot slegs 4%.

Op hierdie tydstip is daar reeds 26 Afrikastate wat amptelik vra of daar nie landbouers/boere van Suid-Afrika is wat by hulle wil kom boer nie. In Afrika word hulle waardeer maar in Suid-Afrika word vir kort termyn politieke redes die landbouers van alles wat sleg is beskuldig.

Dit is in belang van Afrika dat hierdie potensiaal benut word en dat almal wat kan, ook Afrikaner boere, toegelaat word om ‘'n bydrae te maak.

In that way we all together build a better Africa.

 

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