Search The Doctor's Report

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Africa’s Abandoned Natural Resource: The Youth

Youth unemployment is extremely high in Africa

By Honourable Saka
“Everything in the world revolves around Africa. From the Starbucks coffees to Apple iPads, Microsoft’s computers, Airbus’ aeroplanes and the components of the Mars Curiosity Rover; even the resources employed by NASA to man its missions – all these things are taken from Africa though Africa doesn’t get paid its true worth”. - Dario Thurston.

Most importantly, there is no doubt that Africa still has in its possession, a vast amount of untapped natural resources. Apart from the gold, diamond, copper, uranium, cocoa, and many other strategic natural resources which are still in abundance, there are plenty of oil and gas reserves in Africa that hasn’t “officially” been discovered, though many of such discoveries were actually hidden until further colonial interests recently developed.

Africa’s Plenty Resources and The Colonial Agenda

Undoubtedly, Africa is the world's resource base. The world moves around in activity because of Africa. While there is a brewing peak of oil crisis elsewhere, we are discovering oil in unthinkable quantities in Ghana, Uganda, Sudan, Algeria, Nigeria, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon among others. From country-to-country, Africa is so rich to the point where the true value of her entire resource cannot be properly estimated by any single resourceful institution.

For instance, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) alone is said to be the world's richest country by resource endowment. The country is estimated to possess over $24 trillion worth of mineral reserves. Therefore it is no surprise to some of us, that since the brutal murder of Patrice Lumumba in the region, the imperial powers have managed to keep the Congo and the neighbouring countries in chaos up to today, while these resources are been looted on a daily basis.

Zimbabwe, a country which the corporate media sometimes refer to as a “failed state”, is also said to be proportionally the world's richest country (resources divided by population) and we are already starting to see what it is capable of doing on its own terms. But it is no wonder that colonial powers have also been fighting hard to remove President Mugabe at all cost and to put in his place someone who will sell off these resources to the West, just as they recently did in the Ivory Coast under their usual hypocritical guise of “democracy”. As for Libya and Nigeria, I don’t think there is any need to discuss their resources and the strategy currently being employed to loot these countries.

The chaos in Libya today, the foreign-backed rebels currently operating in Nigeria (Boko Haram) may explain the strategy often used to destabilize the prospects of a country and the subsequent looting of their resources just as it is on-going in the Central African region. In the case of Nigeria however, the problem is not that they have passionate leaders that are working in the interest of the ordinary citizen (did you notice how many Nigerians were murdered in Libya without the government doing anything?). The problem however has to do with the growing Chinese influence in the country and how the West seeks to contain China, hiding behind rebels as a justification to establish military bases across the Ecowas region (under the guise of fighting terror), after which more military pressure can be mounted on the African leaders to distance themselves from China. At worst, rebels will be used to destabilize the country until Nigeria end up divided, just like they have successfully done in Sudan, (all because of oil). It is a painful truth but there is definitely the need to raise the awareness.

The strategy has always been the same: the imperial powers always sow the seed of chaos in any country where they have strong economic interest, especially where its leaders refuse to go by IMF-imposed conditions. The Ivory Coast was no exception.

Currently, there are strong indications which suggest that South Africa could soon be targeted by rebels as well, unless the people discover the truth and act immediately. The process beigns with genuine protests, then foreign agents hijack the peaceful protests and turn it into arms rebellion. And this is why South Africa must watch out. Any African country that has strong economic prospects must continually be on guard, as imperialism is on high alert to suppress economic growth in Africa. The situation is like a vampire which survives by the suppression of its host, usually tearing its prey into pieces. Otherwise, there is no reason for Africa to be bleeding today.

Is Economic Prospects Brighter for Africans or Foreign Capitalists?

The abundance of these strategic resources should be an indication that as far as the future of the African people is concerned, the sky should not even be the limit but rather the beginning.

In the next few years, if Africa’s resources could be managed efficiently, certainly there would be no poverty anywhere on an African soil. But how can Africans continue to dream of wonderful future economic prospects, when majority of the youth who ought to be the most strategic African resource are being abandoned for cocoa, copper, oil and gold? Is Africa truly investing in her youth to take over the management of these plenty resources from the hands of the foreign “advisers”? When will Africa discover that the youth are her most valuable untapped resource? A continent that continues to abandon its youth is indeed a continent with no future.

The Forgotten Multitudes: The Youth

Photo: Politicians waste billions on election campaigns,
 as they neglect the youth in economic hardships.

Today, in their quest to receive quick revenue for their families and their political rallies, our leaders have been keen on selling off Africa’s natural resources to the point where little or no attention is paid to training the youth who ought to be the future managers of our economy. Our streets have been overcrowded with too many young men and women selling dog chains, foodstuffs, bread and sachet water, while many of them ought to be in the factories, doing productive works or in the technical/engineering schools studying practically-related courses that focus on solving real life problems.
There are those in the rural communities who continue to work hard on the farms but also never get the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of their hard labour. The whole economic situation in Africa is geared towards the interest of the foreign capitalist.

In his book “Towards Colonial Freedom”, Kwame Nkrumah wrote:
“It is the aim of colonial governments to treat their colonies as producers of raw material, and at the same time, as the dumping-ground of the manufactured goods of foreign industrialists and foreign capitalists.”
For instance, the Ivory Coast produces over 40% of the world's cocoa beans. Yet it is very unthinkable that due to IMF-imposed conditions, the country does not have even a single chocolate factory! Therefore the farmers who produce the cocoa cannot even afford to buy this chocolate which is often imported from abroad and sold at cut-throat prices. How reasonable is that? The African youth are merely serving as slaves one their own motherland just as they do overseas.

When will African leaders pay serious attention to the plight of the African youth? There are many young men and women in Africa who possess wonderful exceptional talents. Across the continent, young men are making serious inventions and innovations. Yet, our societies do not provide the needed environment that will enable the youth to harness these potentials.

In recent years, government across Africa are wasting too much money in the entertainment industry whiles science and technological institutions are begging for help. Nobody sees the need to provide the infrastructure that will help equip the youth adequately so that they can contribute meaningfully to the economy.

Every year, the rate of people who do not get the chance to enter the secondary schools and tertiary institutions continue to rise. Though many African leaders had the opportunity to attend some of the best schools at the tax payer’s expense, no effort is being made to ensure that the mass majority of today’s youth could enjoy the same privilege. Because of the lack of adequate educational infrastructure here at home, parents are forced to send their children abroad for studies, often paying ten times the cost: an amount that could boost our local academic institutions if we were to expanding the structures.

Meanwhile the lack of industrialization means that majority of these students have little or no hope of gaining a job back home. As a result, many of those with degrees and relevant qualifications are still stranded in Europe and America, cleaning and washing dishes despite having master’s degrees. Is this the destiny of the African youth? Certainly not.

Lessons from China: Invest in Your Youth

Today, the whole population of China is an economic advantage. Thanks to ambitious industrialization. Though they’re currently about 1.5billion in population, the people of China have managed to put themselves to work and are grabbing jobs at every corner of the earth. This is so because the government has invested huge resource to ensure that their educational system places emphasis on science and technical education, unlike our style of education that is characterized by theories and stories that often have no real-world solutions.

Besides, the Chinese government has ensured that adequate funds are always provided to support their local companies. For instance, all the Chinese contractors operating in Africa can secure funds from a special bank dedicated to that course (Chinese Development Bank).

Unfortunately in Africa, instead of helping the local industries to flourish, the banks are rather looting the people and crippling the local business community with high interest rate, usually over 25% APR. The last time I checked, the “official” interest rate figures across many African countries were over 15% whereas in Europe the figure is below 3% in many countries. Meanwhile, regular commercial banks in Ghana are charging annual interest rates of between 15% and 30%! Therefore many local industries are lacking adequate financing and many are being forced to shut down operations, forcing many to lay off their workers. All these conditions have been strategically designed to cripple local African industries who may rely on banks to expand their operations, at a time when our governments and the politicians continue to deposit their moneys in overseas banks that later turn around to loans these same money to our governments.

The youth are therefore paying the price for such measure as unemployment increases, bringing about high crime rates, prostitution, increase in social vices among others, whiles their politicians continue to ignore their plight.

“I have always believed that the basis of colonialism is economic, but the solution of the colonial problem lies in political action, in a fierce and constant struggle for emancipation as an indispensable first step towards securing economic independence and integrity”. –Kwame Nkrumah, (Consciencism, pg 98).

It is very sad that majority of the African youth are increasingly becoming more hopeless despite the fact that the continent continues to discover plenty of strategic resources, which only requires political foresight to bring about the needed benefits to the African people. As long as the youth who are Africa’s most strategic resource are being abandoned, it remains to be seen whether the continent can hope for a brighter future.

I am appealing to all African leaders to listen to the voice of our revolutionary leader, Kwame Nkrumah, and act in the best interest of the youth.

Long live the African youth!
Long live Africa!

Honourable Saka
The writer is a Pan-African analyst and a well-known social commentator in Africa. He’s the founder of the Project Pan-Africa (PPA), an organisation that seeks to create a mental revolution across Africa. PPA’s website is available at:   He is highly grateful to Itech Plus, and all the media which supports his vision for the African people.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

How Africa Should Celebrate Nkrumah’s Birthday

some books written by Kwame Nkrumah which
 have been hidden from the African youth

By Honourable Saka

Friday 21st September 2012 will mark the 103rd birthday of Kwame Nkrumah. This day is also a continental holiday: a day all Africans are expected to observe in honour of the Great Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah. On this day it is expected that many African leaders, will as usual deliver political speeches that seek to highlight the significance of Kwame Nkrumah in Africa’s political history though many of them are not willing to follow his examples.

Ideally, instead of making political speeches and celebrations that usually lead to no physical results, the African people, especially the leaders should use this opportunity and reflect upon the challenges we still face as a people despite the fact that Nkrumah, Thomas Sankara, Marcus Garvey, Julius Nyerere, and many others have already demonstrated the way out many years ago. For me, the good news is that all these ideas are well-documented in Nkrumah’s speeches and many of his books though these books have been deliberately hidden from the African youth for decades.

Nkrumah is not just an international figure but a historic person who made lasting contributions to all Africans and the Black race everywhere. Undoubtedly, without Kwame Nkrumah, there would be no Nelson Mandela and even Kofi Annan, a former Secretary General of the United Nations. To many of us the youth, the greatest honour we yearn for Nkrumah, would be the day when the African people will unite as one people and strive for their common destiny, instead of leaders fighting among themselves and sabotaging one another from behind the scenes.

In fact, Nkrumah’s focus on a united, free and economically viable Africa was probably more paramount to him than his vision for Ghana his beloved country.
Therefore during his Independence Day Speech on March 6 1957 (in Ghana), Nkrumah proclaimed:
“The Independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is linked to the total liberation of the entire African continent”.

It was his dream that Africans all over the world will unite, work together and to address the challenges of the ordinary African together.  
Therefore instead of celebrating his birthday merely as a public holiday by wining and dining, the greatest honour which the African leaders can give to Nkrumah would be to take the bold steps to implement his ideas for a unified Africa. This must begin with a real political unity between north, south, east, west and central Africa.

Nkrumah also had a serious worry regarding the attitude of the African leaders in their loyalty to their foreign masters as against their respective citizenry. He bemoaned the danger of Neo-colonialism which has become very common in modern Africa as “multi-party democracy”.

“In neo-colonialism, the people are divided from their leaders and, instead of providing true leadership and guidance which is informed at very point by the ideal of the general welfare, leaders come to neglect the very people who put them into power and incautiously become instruments of suppression on behalf of the neo-colonialists. (Kwame Nkrumah, Consciencism, pg 102).

Today’s African politicians, though many of them usually have no money for political campaigns, they are too desperate to win political elections at all cost. As a result, these desperate politicians are willing to sign any bogus “agreements” with their foreign sponsors to enable them secure enough funds for their campaigns. They travel to the US, Britain, France, Germany, Canada, to solicit for funds from abroad. When these politicians finally win elections, they’re forced to implement policies which they know will never be in the interest of the African people. Those who promised to build industries end up selling off state-owned institutions to these foreign capitalists who funded their campaigns under the guise of “privatization”. As I speak, almost all major African resources have been sold to foreign companies. They own our copper, our gold, our diamond, our oil, our uranium, and many more. This is gradually making the African people, a slave in their own land while foreign capitalist take all the profits, usually without paying any tax.

Instead of investing enough resources into indigenous agriculture, African leaders rather take glory in borrowing from the IMF. They then use these funds to import rice from America and Europe while local rice farmers beg for government support. Why would any African leader take glory in importing food from America when the whole African land is fertile for the cultivation of food? Why must famine be a problem in Africa if our leaders truly have conscience?

Local Experts Abandoned for Foreign Advisers

Another serious challange we face in Africa is not because our leaders do not know the way forward. The problem however is that we currently have too many leaders whom because of "Aid" are always ready to obey instructions from the IMF and the World Bank. Meanwhile it has already been demonstrated by many African expercts  that the IMF is Africa's major problem but never the solution. In her book "Dead Aid:  Why Aid is Not Working and How There is a Better Way for Africa", Dr Dambisa Moyo, a Zambian economic expert warns that “No nation has ever attained economic development by aid." Yet, African leaders continue to embrace aid whild they follow directives that hinders our development.

“It is far easier for the proverbial camel to pass through the needle’s eye, than for an erstwhile colonial administration to give sound and honest counsel of a political nature to its liberated territory. Therefore to allow a foreign country, especially one which is loaded with economic interests in our continent, to tell us what political courses to follow, is indeed for us to hand back our independence to the oppressor on a silver platter”. –Kwame Nkrumah, (Consciencism, pg 102).
To prove the above point, Professor Akosa, in his letter to Presidnet Obama upon his arrival in Ghana (2009) hilighted what Nkrumah had been warning (above) regarding these economic advisers:

“Evidence also shows how the World Bank and International Monetary Fund provided the advice and Technical Aid that halted and reversed work by the Nkrumah Government that was to bring relief and benefit to ordinary Ghanaians. Many have died through the resulting poverty and Ghana has not progressed much since that time”.

Indeed, Nkrumah demonstrated beyond all reasonable doubt that after all, the black man is capable of managing his own Affairs. Unfortunately, today, the same thing cannot be said of our current crop of African leaders, many of whom continue to abandon their local expertise for the foreign "advisers".

In recent years, Ghana, a country that ought to be the torch-bearer of Pan-Africanism and a strong advocate of Nkrumah’s ideologies, Ghanaian leaders have rather been paying lip service to the local experts. Almost any major infrastructural development in the country has been awarded to a Chinese firm, a Korean company, an American firm or their European allies, while the African professionals are left with no jobs.

A few days ago, the Ghana Real Estate Developers Association (GREDA) expressed disappointment with the introduction of some Chinese contractors who have been tasked to reconstruct a market complex in Cape Coast which is the home town of the late president Jonh Mills.

President John Mahama who was recently sworn into office after the sudden death of John Mills, has over the weekend introduced the Chinese contractors to the people of Cape Coast at the “Fetu Afayhe” (a festival in Ghana) as those who are expected to start construction works on the market.
When the country recently discovered oil in large commercial quantities, many were those who thought the local contractors were to benefit from the black gold. Shockingly, the oil is now in full control of Western firms while African firms wonder about with no jobs.

Why will African leader honour our great heroes by mere political speeches when they ought to demonstrate this gesture? Of course I am not suggesting that Africa must not do business with the East nor the West. However, for the African leaders to serve the interest of their foreign masters and to completely neglect the very people who put them into power is my worry.

I therefore suggest that, as we celebrate our founding fathers and acknowledge their contributions to our society, it is also very important that we take the opportunity to examine the vision which the founding fathers expected us to fulfil for the benefit of our people. For there is no point for the current African leaders to honour Kwame Nkrumah, whose vision they’re not ready to implement. The African people are tired of the speeches. We now want to see action. For it is said that Action speaks louder than words.

Some Recommendations:
  • Legislations must be introduced across Africa that will ban all politicians from receiving funds (donations) from abroad for their political campaigns. By so doing, the sovereignty of these countries can remain intact without our leaders having to succumb to political interferances from the outside world.
  • The current African leaders must also lead by following the examples of our forefathers. By merely paying lips service to the dream of African unity is not good enough. Yes, the founding fathers did their best. What are we also doing to ensure that the dreams of our founding fathers will become a reality?
  • African leaders must join hands and supply copies of all books written by Nkrumah especially “Neo-colonialism” to the schools so that students can read and understand for themselves exactly what Nkrumah expects from them. This is one of the ways by which we can celebrate Nkrumah, by giving the youth the chance to learn for themselves what Nkrumah has written.

Long live Africa!
Long live the African Union that must be!

Honourable Saka
The writer is a political analyst on African affairs, and a well-known social commentator in Africa. As a strong Pan-Africanist, he founder of the "Project Pan-Africa" (PPA) a Pan-African project that seeks to create a mental revolution across Africa for the freedom of Africa. He is the editor of “The Doctor’s Report”, your most reliable source of critical analysis on African issues. Please visit his blog at: and Email him at: Visit PPA at: PPA is very grateful to all our media partners for your continuous support for this vision.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Africa’s Misplaced Priorities: Any Lessons Or Business As Usual?

Many African leaders continue to die abroad 
as local healthcare infrastructure collapse.
Photo: Ethiopia`s Meles Zenawi in a coma in a foreign
 hospital where he died soon after

By Honourable Saka

Earlier in life (even as a baby), I had learnt that if you want something, you had better made some noise. –Malcom X

We have been inspired to understand that our lives begin to end the moment we become silent over the things that matter. –Martin Luther King Jr.

The above statements explain the reasons why some of us the African people, having been fed up with the status quo, cannot afford to be silent any longer. In times like this when our most useful institutions are on the verge of collapse, choosing to remain silent is definitely not the way forward. Things must change. But the only way things will change is when we the people continuously demand these changes from our current leaders.

The Rise of African Democracy and The Collapse of Healthcare Institutions.
Democracy has arrived in Africa. Happy days! People are excited to vote and choose “their leaders”. It doesn’t matter whether these leaders would represent the people or not. Whether these politicians would appreciate the suffering of their people or not is not an issue. Every year, our governments are happy to spend the most part of their taxpayers’ moneys on elections, living little or nothing for the educational and healthcare institutions. Is it a wonder that many African leaders continue to travel abroad for their “routine” medical check-ups as many of them even die there?

Guiniea worms, malaria fever and many diseases are killing our people because “there is no money”, yet billions are always available for democracy. Our healthcare systems are in complete jeopardy because money is not available. As a result, even our leaders, who are the major stakeholders of our various countries, have NO confidence in our healthcare. Many of them therefore always travel overseas to seek medical treatment and some of them even die there. If our healthcare infrastructure were “good enough”, why would politicians travel abroad for medical their check-ups?

Since 1980, almost all African leaders who have died, passed away abroad or shortly after their routine medical check-ups. Even in our current 21st century, this attitude hasn’t changed as the list keeps increasing year-after-year. Here is a short list though not all of them:
  • Levy Patrick Mwanawas, the third President of Zambia died in France (2008) whiles receiving medical treatment.
  • In Ghana, a former finance minister, Kadwo Baa Wiredu (2008), passed away while receiving medical treatment abroad.
  • Then the President of Guinea, Lansana Conte, also died in 2008 after several medical check-ups abroad.
  • Gabon president, Omar Bongo, June 2009.
  • President Umaru Yar'Adua the former president of Nigeria passed away in Saudi Arabia (2010) while receiving medical treatment.
  • Malawi’s Bingu wa Mutharika, had a heart attack and passed away in April 2012.
  • In January 2012, the president of Guinea Bissau, Malam Bacai Sanha, died in a military hospital in Paris after a long illness.
  • July, 2012 a president of Ghana, John Atta Mills died after several routine medical check-ups in the US.
  • Then in August 2012, Meles Zenawi, the prime minister of Ethiopia, also joined his ancestors at a hospital in Belgium.
Apart from the above, there are several tens of government officials, ministers and other African politicians who have also passed away in a hospital somewhere overseas. Many of the women in government also travel abroad just to have their babies safely delivered because they have no confidence in our healthcare system. Yet, whiles we continue to cut the budget on healthcare and education, the amount allocated to holding elections continue to increase every year. What are our priorities?

It is very sad that the concept of “democracy” has been given a misplaced priority over basic necessities such as: quality healthcare, quality education systems, industrialization, etc.
From Nigeria to Ivory Coast, Liberia, Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, etc. people are told to hail democracy while their healthcare institutions collapse. As many governments across Africa invest billions of dollars in “democracy”; their leaders continue to travel abroad for routine medical check-ups, while millions of their people also live in darkness and die of malaria/tuberculosis. Why would Africans invest huge resources in democracy though many of their communities exist without electricity, good roads and portable water?

Go to Nigeria, even Ghana, and Liberia, plenty of money is always available for democracy. However, when it comes to the educational sector, healthcare and the issue of industrialization, the people are often told “there is no money”, the money is not enough, and so on. Currently, many children are still studying under trees in the rural communities. Our capital cities have been overcrowded with many young boys and girls selling dog chains and all sorts of trade, when they ought to be in the classrooms. Hospitals are often overcrowded with many patients having to lie on the floors.

In the public university campuses, many rooms are overcrowded with as many as 6 to 10 students sharing a single room. Students are often forced to sleep in “shifts” because beds are not enough to accommodate roommates. Yet, our African governments do not see the need to allocate enough funds to address such pressing issues.

I must however admit that Ghana is the only country worldwide that commits a chunk of its national budget to education. Currently education accounted for 31% of the national budget, with Ghana Education Service’s share of the sector’s budget ranging from 60-70 per cent.
That notwithstanding, democracy, elections (and political rallies) consume billions of the taxpayer’s money as compared to the amount invested in healthcare and industrialization.

According to Ghana’s 2012 Budget Statement, it is estimated that meeting Ghana’s infrastructure needs would cost approximately US$1.6 billion per year (over the next ten years). Unfortunately, even though about 70% of this money is “not available”, it is very interesting that over $500 million will definitely be available for the 2012 elections. Yet after every four years, majority of the people would still yearn for a change in government.

Time To Learn Lessons From History
Why do African leaders need a serious attitudinal change? The answer is not far-fetched. For the past few years, many African leaders continue to travel abroad for medical check-ups. Even though many of them have passed away shortly after these routine check-ups, it appears no lessons have been learnt from this cycle. In many cases, the huge amount of money spent on these medical trips could be enough to put up hospitals in the local communities.

Recently, in one of my articles (Multi-Party Democracy: An Imperialist Tool For Conflicts Control and Civil Wars), I recounted a tall list of African leaders/politicians who have died overseas after routine check-ups while the African healthcare infrastructure gradually collapses under our watch. Having personally written to the African leaders on the way forward, I was expecting that there would be a policy shift and a swift change in attitude. However, it seems like “business as usual” despite the numerous lessons available.

Therefore as we continue year-after-year to mourn the dead among our leaders, I would rather we take such moments to reflect upon the critical steps that ought to be taken to save the lives of the millions of the African people who do not have the resources to travel abroad for medical treatments like our leaders often do. The death our leaders should continually serve as a reminder of the urgent need for the current African leaders to pay attention to our local healthcare infrastructure. There is still enough time to act before the next African leader also joins his ancestors in his/her medical check-up abroad.

Let us allow history to teach us lessons so that it does not continue to repeat itself year after year.

Honourable Saka
The writer is a political analyst on African affairs, and a well-known social commentator in Africa. As a strong Pan-Africanist, he established the "Project Pan-Africa" (PPA) to create a mental revolution across Africa. He is the editor of “The Doctor’s Report”, your most reliable source of critical analysis on African issues. Email him at: Also visit PPA at:
Project Pan-Africa is sponsored by iTech Plus. We're also very grateful to all our media partners for their commitment to our vision for the African people.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Intra-African Trade Is Possible, But...

Intra-African trade is the way forward

By Honourable Saka

“As far as I’m concerned all of them need to go back and read Osagyefo’s (Kwame Nkrumah’s) speech in 1953 and 1955, that all because it’s so prophetic that everything the man said in both speeches and Africa is the worst for it. A president of a country that goes begging even for 1 million dollars is not a country worth being a part of, and that is Africa’s story. -Professor Agyeman Badu Akosa

There is no doubt that the African people can generate huge  investment opportunities for their various countries if they were to focus more on trading among themselves rather than having to travel several thousands of kilometers outside the continent for their business and economic needs. Apart from the huge employment opportunities that would come with this initiative, Africa will also have the opportunity to retain the huge amount of money that usually flows out of the continent to elsewhere.  
Over the years, many African countries have taken their precious resources and raw materials to the “global market” where unfair prices are imposed by the West. In many cases, either they’re forced to accept these unfair prices or the raw materials would rot on the world market.
After the high shipping and transportation costs, the cost of dollar-to-local currency exchange (currency conversion) and many other unnecessary costs, our various governments are often left with no choice but to comply with these unfavourable prices.
With such a system in place, there is no doubt that Africans stand to benefit more if they were to take it upon themselves, the challenge to address such a system once and for all. Intra-African trade would be a very useful approach. However, there is the need for certain key measures to be put in place before such an idea can be implemented for the benefit of future generations.

1.      Industrialization
Currently, Africa still remains the number one supplier of raw materials to the entire world. Yet, where are the industries? Strange isn’t it?

There are certain simple issues that the African people must understand. For instance, if Nigeria and Zimbabwe decide to supply Ivory Coast and Botswana (respectively) free uranium for electricity, one should ask: where are the industries that will convert this uranium to the electricity? Is it a wonder that many are living without electricity in Nigeria? The sad part of it is that, these African countries which have the uranium (Nigeria, Zimbabwe, etc.) do not even have the industries that will produce the electricity themselves. How then can they trade uranium with other African countries?

This problem is the same with copper and bauxite (aluminum) which Zambia and Ghana have in abundance (respectively). But it is sad that these African countries do not have the industries that can convert the raw materials to the needed finished products in substantial quantities for export. This explains the reason why intra-African trade is currently difficult. We all have plenty of raw materials but we have no industries to process them.

For decades, Ghana and Ivory Coast have been the leading producers of cocoa. Yet, as we continue to ship this precious material to the world market, no steps have been taken to establish the industries that will process the cocoa right here in Africa. Therefore we will always expect to produce the cocoa beans as much as we can. But then, when we take the raw cocoa beans to the market and we do not get anything out of it, we continue to blame others for our lack of foresight.

In his book “Towards Colonial freedom”, Nkrumah states the following:
“It is the aim of colonial governments to treat their colonies as producers of raw materials, and at the same time as the dumping-ground of the manufactured goods of foreign industrialists.”
Immediately after independence, Kwame Nkrumah laid down the industrial framework for the future of Ghana. He established the Akosombo Dam as a reliable source of energy to power the industries. He laid the various motorways that connect the cities to the main Tema Harbour. He set up the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission to carry out research to produce nuclear energy in the future. He also established several industries for the production of rubber, textiles, shoes, and many more
After the military coup which overthrew the Nkrumah’s government, successive leaders sold all the industries and closed many of them down.

Today, Instead of building industries, the government is building democracy, while majority of the ordinary people focus on building churches. Warehouses and industrial sites in Ghana are being converted to churches while the majority of the youth walk the streets with no jobs. 
Therefore anytime the politicians fail to deliver on their campaign promises, they play the religious card to cover their incompetence.

2.  Too Much Visa and Border Restrictions
In today’s world, time is money, and the African leaders need to understand this: If time is money, then speed should be seen as profit. The faster one can transact business without unnecessary delays, the more profit one can make within the shortest possible time. This is how businesses grow.

Therefore why would the South African businessman, allow himself to be delayed for two months before he can acquire a visa to travel to “Ivory Coast”, “Ghana” or “Malawi”, when he can just travel the next day to Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, Hong Kong or Malaysia without the need for any visa?

Can somebody now understand what is basically wrong in our diplomatic relations with our own African neighbours?

In my recent letter to the African Union, I highlighted the urgent need for African leaders to immediately take steps to remove the long visa routines that have restricted the African people’s ability to explore the continent for business and cultural purposes. Doing business in Africa has become frustrating because of the long visa queues and the cross-border restrictions.

For over 40 years, successive African leaders have been gathering in Ethiopia and elsewhere in the name of “African Unity”. Yet, how many Africans can travel to Ethiopia without the usual visa queues? Isn’t it ironical for Africans to accept Addis Ababa as the headquarters of the AU, when the majority of them cannot travel to that country without going through tough visa routines?

Recently, the AU, during one of their usual tea-conferences declared: “we’re going to have free trade by 2017”. With such a declaration, one would expect that certain political decisions would immediately follow to ensure the free movement of goods and services across the continent to make the declaration feasible.
Instead of removing the thick boarders, Zambia (a country I admire so much) is rather tightening its visa rules for many African nationals.

Meanwhile the time taken for cargoes to successfully cross over our borders is another headache. Just take a trip to a typical border crossing area even within the so-called “free border zones” and find out how long it takes the cargo drivers to cross over to the other side. Yet we continue to hear our politicians chanting “economic integration” and “intra-African trade” at their various summits/forums while this problem remains unresolved. These talks must stop. We must begin to see real actions.

We have consistently been reminded that Africa is 500 years behind the “developed” world. But I want to remind the African leaders that in the “developed” world, such restrictions are not imposed on their citizens. All those visa restrictions are imposed on Africans and the so-called “third world”. Therefore the earlier we remove many of these time-wasting procedures on our people, the better it would be for us to develop the continent we so love.

3.      Transportation and cost
Transportation is a very useful instrument in all the major economies worldwide. Goods and services cannot be conveyed from one point to the other without a reliable system of transportation. The challenge posed by poor transportation networks in Africa is very enormous. Currently, the most reliable system of transportation across borders in Africa is by air. There is however more limitations on how much goods can be conveyed by air as compared to road and sea transits.

Additionally, the cost involved to travel by air is too expensive. In many cases, travelling by air within Africa is even more expensive than from Africa to Europe and other parts of the world.
Meanwhile road transports are more ideal for the conveyance of large amount of goods from city to city and across borders. This is one of the reasons why African leaders must focus on the Trans African Highway project so that they can establish the necessary foundation to offset the current deficit as soon as possible. 
African governments led by the AU, must come together, put resources together and establish a team of professionals that should be tasked to oversee the swift implementation of this project. The project can be initiated from the various regional levels, and then connected to the continental level. It is said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a step. Therefore the leaders of our current generation have a responsibility to take the initial steps so that future generations can have a sound foundation to build on.

4.      A Change of African mentality towards African products/innovations
For decades, many Africans continue to develop the mind-set that anything produced (in Africa) by an African is not good. Africans with special talents are therefore struggling for attention.

In today’s Africa, even though many individuals/institutions have made some technological breakthroughs in their various fields, it remains to be seen whether the African people will patronize these services. Thanks to Apostle Safo Kantanka, today the people of Ghana can make cars. There are also many African companies such as Alltell Ghana Ltd, rLG Ghana Limited, and tens of others who produce laptops, smartphones, digital notebooks, smart TV (Akasnoma), in the country. While Ghanaians produce the K-Pad Cameroonians are producing the Cardiopad, a digital medical tablet to save lives. Nigerians are coming out with the 'INYE', also a table that could soon to be unleached onto the African market. These are all set to compete with the iPad and other similar forms of innovations. In Kenya, Uganda… the list is endless.
Yet, it remains to be seen whether these efforts will attract the attention of the African leaders and the people as we continue to look elsewhere for similar “inferior” goods.

Some Recommendations
·         Ideally, it would be more appropriate for African leaders to abolish the visa restrictions altogether so that all Africans can travel easily to any African territory without having to acquire a visa. This would make economic integration and intra-African trade more realistic, reliable and profitable since all the waiting times would be eliminated altogether.

·         In the meantime, African leaders must also consider the issuing of Regional Visas (Ecowas Visa, EAC Visa, SADC/COMESA Visa, etc) and abolish the individual country visas. This would also enable foreign investors/visitors the opportunity to visit many African countries on a single visa while avoiding all the long visa queues at the various African embassies. The European Union currently has such a system in place where citizens of the “third world” can acquire the Schengen visa and travel to as many EU countries as possible.
Until this is done, the dream for African economic integration will remain a mirage. Time is money. Let us take these measures so that we can our business investors the unnecessary delays as a result of many visas queues.

May God bless Africans to overcome our inferiority complex and to resolve our differences once and for all. For we will have nothing to loose but our chains!

Honourable Saka
The writer is a political analyst on African affairs, and a well-known social commentator in Africa. As a strong Pan-Africanist, he is currently seeking to establish the "Project Pan-Africa" (PPA) to create a mental revolution across Africa. He is the editor of “The Doctor’s Report”, your most reliable source of critical analysis on African issues. Please visit his blog at: and Email him at: Also visit PPA at: