I am a fan of Business Week magazine. I like the magazine’s short but informative pieces on the state of the world’s economy, especially in these harsh economic times. However, being an ardent Africanist, I am often disappointed by how little coverage there is of the Continent in the magazine. This week’s piece had articles mostly from the US, Europe and Asia – with a few mentions of Latin America, notably Brazil. Africa was nowhere to be seen in terms of investment or economic performance. And this is not just the case with BW. Africa is still largely irrelevant when it comes to global economics – irrelevant in the sense that, with the exception of South Africa, it remains a passive player, being a mere source of raw materials for other regions of the world.
I wonder if anyone in the Continent’s state houses reads any of these international publications. I wonder how many of them look at The Economist’s Middle East and Africa section and hit their heads against the wall thereafter. May be they do, but just don’t give a rat’s behind or don’t know how to begin tackling their nations’ many problems. These are the same clowns who oftentimes complain about the Continent’s negative press. While I agree with them to a point, I think most of the negative press that the Continent gets is well deserved. It is true that way too many African children die before they are five. It is true that most of Africa is still in the 16th century. It is also true that most African leaders are visionless kleptocrats. And most importantly, it is true that Africa remains poor and, objectively speaking, backward not because of her people’s shortcomings but because of poor leadership. Where there is good leadership – like in Botswana and more recently in Mozambique and Tanzanaia – we have seen good things happen.
The Continent has to stop being a spectator in global politico-economic issues. But this will only happen if its leaders take their jobs more seriously. Less sleaze and arbitrary government will definitely help.