How seaworthy is the South African ship?

10 January 2011

The Challenge for Africa, the book written by Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize winner, Wangari Maathai, should be prescribed reading for all South Africans.  In a few short paragraphs she itemizes the generic problems facing Africa and the role that African leadership has played in its own undoing.  By way of example I would like to quote some passages from this work and let you decide if you see any homegrown similarities:

  • One of the major tragedies of postcolonial Africa is that the African peoples have trusted their leaders, but only a few of those leaders have honored that trust. What has held Africa back, and continues to do so, has its origins in a lack of principled, ethical leadership.
  • If African states had prioritized the budgets and work of the ministries of agriculture and environment, instead of defense and internal security – indeed if governments had concentrated on practical measures that helped their people rather than, at times, investing in grandiose, attention-seeking projects or misguided attempts to satisfy the demands of outside investors, often at the expense of their own peoples…
  • If the continent’s governments had organized their development priorities so that productive land was used more wisely, natural resources conserved and suitable urban planning undertaken…
  • If African leaders had invested more in education, the creation of sustainable employment options, and inclusive economies, and if they had been concerned with the welfare of their people and not their own enrichment…

Sound at all familiar?

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