Thoughts

Africa doesn’t want any more western band aids

Africa doesn’t want any more western band aids via Al Jazeera

Maybe not in relation to Ebola. But what about the other issues? Who is going to tackle the current problems in the current economic climate? When most African leaders show little willingness or initiative to change and confront their country’s problems? When it appears as though staying in power is a higher priority for most, than tackling problems.In this regard, the same solutions which haven’t worked the last 50 years, why should they work now? Can we really say Africa doesn’t need initiatives like band aid when western government aid budgets are either being cut back or have been frozen?

In my view, what Africa needs is increased Security, better infrastructure, quality level of Education that will create a society of better-informed individuals, Improved Healthcare including well-resourced hospitals with enough doctors, and Capital that will empower African innovators. And band aid could just help in delivering or achieving some of those aims?

Security

Take Security for example, you can’t build a functional economy when your country or a region of your country is constantly hounded by the likes of extremist and terrorist groups like Boko Haram. If businesses (both local and foreign) cannot feel safe to operate, how will you attract investors? No country in the developed world can fully realise its potential when theft and thuggery is a big problem, and the police are incapable or underresourced to carry out police work that reassures communities on safety and security. In my research, I’ve found three main obstacles to effective security across Africa.

Firstly, there appears to be gaps in intelligence, whereby it has often been impossible to intercept communications between individuals in extremist groups who are planning a theft, terrorist attack or other security breach. This is unsustainable, because it means that authorities cannot act to foil an attack before it happens, and in the end it leaves citizens vulnerable. The solution, which is not as simple as it sounds, is to obtain equipment and capability to enable extremist groups to be monitored and apprehended, before they carry out their dirty work.

Then there is the lack of willpower. Or shall we say weak leadership? Despite clear threats posed by certain extremist groups, there appears to be a reluctance by certain governments across Africa to squarely apprehend terror groups. There appears to be a reluctance to address security concerns in certain regions. The excuses you hear is ‘That’s their stronghold’; ‘Some government officials are involved’; ‘We cannot defeat them?’. ‘They have more money so can pay better wages to their militants’ Which makes you wonder who is really in control here. Maybe dialogue is the key, but, think about it, how can you have any kind of meaningful dialogue with an extremist group whose fundamental principles includes kidnapping, killing or ‘marrying off’ your young girls – if they are sent to school to obtain an education?

Finally, resources. Vehicles, Motorcycles, Policing equipment (Tasers, firearms, etc), more practical police stations, and even human resources, because it seems in some countries there are just not enough well-trained, well paid, well resourced police officers on the streets. And that’s not a good thing because it means there are gaps which extremist groups or thieves can take advantage of. African countries need more police officers, who are well-trained and who have the equipment to respond to citizen calls for help. In Malawi at the moment, that job is not being done well enough, the security situation is dire, and crime rate is on the increase. What Malawians (and citizens of most African countries) need is an effective police force which can quickly respond to calls for help, which has police officers patrolling the streets (even at night), and which can give confidence to citizens to feel safe in their neighbourhoods.

Infrastructure, Education, Healthcare and Capital.

For some of my thoughts on these themes, please read my earlier posts here , here , here and here respectively, to understand how these are interlinked.

 

 

 

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