Speaking on Tuesday at the African and Diasporan Young Leaders Forum, which formed part of the US-Africa Leaders Summit, currently underway in Washington DC, USA, President Nana AddoDankwaAkufo-Addo appealed to Africans in the diaspora to help change the negative narrative about Africa and help make it a place for investment, progress and prosperity.(See our lead story).
He expressed worry that the narrative had been characterised largely by a concentration on disease, hunger, poverty and illegal mass migration.
Supporting his appeal with evidence, he cited the case that when foreign companies reduced investments in China in the 1970s, it took the Chinese in the diaspora to shore up its economy.
The issues media reports present as having been raised by President Akufo-Addoare critical and some of them must not pass without comments.
For instance, this quote attributed to him needs some comment(s): “We have done enough talking, enough conferences and workshops. We know what to do and it is time to do it. We have run out of excuses for the state of our continent. We have the manpower. We should have the political will. It is time to make Africa work.”
It is clear President Akufo-Addois using “we” to refer to African leaders.
If that is the case, then we deduce from that quote that he is appealing to African leaders to change their leadership style of promises and all manner of talking and instead act for results that should benefit the people.
Everyone who cares can find out why the Chinese in the diaspora ran to the rescue of their country in the 1970s.
China had in place structures, including leadership with vision and ready to support the ideas and investments of the people to grow.
Today, with that diaspora and other sources of supportnurtured by good
leadership, China has become a great economy and a global power in its own right.
African leaders mostly think about themselves, including their families and cronies, first and others come later.
To a large extent, African leaders want to entrench themselves in power and so care less about their people’s progress.
The Chinese emphasise propriety in economic activities and thus protect investments and punish economic crimes, even if the perpetrators are members of the Communist Party.
What do we see in Africa? Politicians are able to sabotage the economic activities of investors perceived to be political opponents or associates of opponents and protect their own even when they commit the heinous crime.
Some people from the diaspora have lost their investments, including land and landed property, to some dubious characters in African countries and the governments and their courts could not help the victims.
The negative narratives about Africa would stop only when leadership on the continent is changed for the better and by this, we mean that the leaders should outlive mismanagement, corruption and cronyism; punish economic crime and put in place all the necessary structures that help investment to grow.
That way, Africans in the diaspora would naturally be attracted to run and take advantage of all the resources available here and invest to help the continent and its people’s progress.