This is the 21st century, the world is moving at an incredible fast rate, the world but Africa. Africa still battles problems other continents have dealt with years ago, issues like electricity (power), clean water, housing, clothing, high rate of unemployment and serious poverty. The world has moved beyond these issues, but this is not saying they have been able to completely solve all of these issues, but these issues are no more prevalent in other continents, the world now is most concerned about two issues, climate change and nuclear proliferation.
It is quite unfortunate African states have not been able to concentrate on the issues of climate change and nuclear proliferation because it is still held back by issues that most of the world have dealt with and moved on from.
Reasons for this Underdevelopment/backwardness.
Many scholars argue, the main reason for underdevelopment/backwardness in Africa is because the colonial powers left Africa in a hurry, and Africa was not properly placed to take charge of itself and operate without the influence of the colonial powers, this assertion is wrong because we have an example of several states that were under colonial rule and have had rapid development afterwards, most notably is China, a state that has developed to the extent of being reckoned with as one of the major world powers in the international system. China has even outgrown its former colonial masters, you cannot mention three states in the international system and not mention China, they have improved in all areas, their economy, military, political participation is amazing, and they continue to improve on what is already on ground. To understand Africa and its issues with underdevelopment you need to look inward.
First the insincerity of African leaders. Corruption has eaten deep into the heart of the continent, most African leaders struggle to get to political offices and pursue personal gains. With the exception of South Africa’s former president Nelson Mandela, the African continent has a history of corrupt and power hungry leaders.
The insincerity of African leaders leads to another reason why Africa has remained as it is. In pursuing personal gains, it becomes very difficult to remove these leaders from office, thus young minds “the youth” never have the opportunity of assuming office. The youngest African president, Joseph Kabila, of DR Congo (Aged 43) has been in office since January 2001 till date, this means he has continued in the same vein as other African leaders that have refused to leave office.
Unequal distribution of wealth is also a major problem Africa is facing. The distance between the rich and the poor is too much, economic policies have to be put on ground to close this gap.
The mentality of Africans has been a problem the continent faces. Inferiority complex has affected progress on the continent. Europeans/foreigners are treated special, which will not be bad if Africans treat themselves the same way but they do not, they seem to think Europeans/foreigners are somehow better than they are. This is a great problem and unfortunately psychological and abstract. Africa does not see itself as a continent that can solve its own problems, instead it brings in Europeans/foreigners to manage major projects. The idea behind reconstructing the OAU and changing it to AU, was for African solutions to be found to African problems, unfortunately this has not been the case.
The Way Forward.
The way forward is dealing with the African mentality, Africa needs to see itself not different from other regions of the world. The mental decay needs to go. Curriculums need to be developed in schools, starting from the elementary levels, to deal with this mental decay. African children should be taught what the ideal future of the continent should be
Africa needs to find a way to get rid of the current crop of leaders. In the past 20 years, the same set of leaders have led the continent, they are just being recycled, the same ideologies, same policies, same tyranny. Young and brilliant minds should be allowed to become political leaders, as these are the ones that will create sustainable development in leadership.
Africa boasts of a lot of natural and agricultural resources, the effective cooperation and maximal utilization of these resources will provide the necessary results.
Africa needs to take the bull by the horn, stand up for itself and sort the issues that its facing by itself.