#bbcafricadebate: The way to Africa’s progress

by Adebowale Adekunbi

Africans do have noble dreams about the future although they are blighted today. Their faith, crave and desire for prosperity is undeniable. The people better understand that power belongs to them and elected officials should be anxious more than ever, to deliver.

Today, the eyes of the world keenly observe this continent characterized by progress at snail’s pace: the irony of a land of bountiful human and natural resources and potentials.

This paradox of stupendous wealth and abject poverty is a major concern to planet earth. Volatility of governments and ethnic conflicts are the justified worries of investors. Local entrepreneurs face the challenge of bridging budding enterprise and basic infrastructure. The first solution is building solid, basic infrastructure to improve the quality of life and business. Here is where governments need to get it right. Basic infrastructure for the people comes first, not a wild-goose chase for hi-tech projects.

Corruption, the main canker, is delicately side-stepped and gently confronted. However, its effects come out loud and undeniable. If this continent would grow, all corrupt ravens must be jailed for the ravaging the collective wealth of millions of people. Freedom from corruption would be the defining point for Africa’s exponential progress. Also, job creation is currently a more pressing need than tertiary education. Unemployment which generates discontent is at sky-high points, staring prosperity in the face and making her quiver. It is the reason for the exodus of many Africans to the West and is the cause of feverish insecurity of the employed about their jobs.

We hope to one day become a continent of globally powerful nations. Impressively, telecommunication has succeeded in Africa in the last decade. Nigeria, which barely had access to mobile phone technology before the new millennium, now has the highest number of internet subscribers and is second only to South Africa in mobile phone subscription on the continent as reported in 2007 by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). This proves that electric power generation can succeed in Africa if countries like Nigeria have recorded tremendous success in telecommunication in a decade.1 The ICT report of the ITU in 2009 stated that developing countries are just 10 years behind Sweden in the penetration of mobile phones which is truly remarkable. 2

In 2011, the Commitment to Development Index (CDI) which measures ‘development-friendliness’ and scores wealthy countries on helping poorer countries ranked the United Kingdom twelfth but with the highest rating in investment in developing countries at an index of 6.4, at par with Norway and Germany alone. The CDI classed Sweden and Norway first and second respectively whose averages are influenced by the large value of foreign aid given in quantity and quality. Albeit, for true progress, the currencies of foreign aid need to be exchanged for investment, for these countries to have stronger stakes in her development.3

For Africa to live her dream, the basics of nation-building have to be given priority in African countries: water, transportation, electricity and employment to begin with.

The wealth of unique cultures and endowments of nature on the tropical continent has been a source of pride to Africans and the shame of poverty, conflict and endemic corruption discolours the continent in the eyes of the world.

Africans do have noble dreams about the future, although they are blighted today. Their faith, craving and desire for prosperity is undeniable. The people better understand that power belongs to them and elected officials should be anxious more than ever, to deliver.


1. Africa, ICT indicators (ITU, 2007)


2. The world in 2009: ICT Facts and Figures (ITU, 2009)


3. CDI index (Centre for Global Development, 2011)





About the author: Adebowale Adekunbi’s writing credits include Africa News, Italy and other publications in print and online mediums in Italy and on YNaija!

His first nonfiction book: ‘Next Nehemiah’ (Rebuilding the broken walls of modern society), was published in Rome in 2011 and has featured in pages of a new memoir by Professor Giuseppe Nisticò, a management board member of the European Medicines Agency, London.


Editor’s note: Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.


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