Tunde Leye: As Africans, our outcomes need to be better ( Y! FrontPage

by Tunde Leye


All across Africa. We need better, cheaper outcomes.
In Africa, when we face a problem, what the government announces as solutions is how much they are earmarking to tackle the problem. So we for example hear that the Federal Government of Nigeria has release 1.6Billion Naira for the Ebola Emergency Fund. Or we hear that X amount has been spent of Agriculture. Or that in Liberia, over 60billion in foreign investments have come in but the people feel zero impact on the streets.
Another way that African governments tackle problems is to make announcements banning something or liberalising something. Two examples will suffice. In ‎Mauritania, slavery has been banned severally with the most recent being in 2002. All slaves are declared free and it is virtually a crime to report slavery there. But it is a real festering reality there. One wonders what happened each time the slavery is banned. In Liberia, the government banned bushmeat sales in the wake of the Ebola outbreak in 2014. But one can walk into any market in Monrovia and other Liberian cities and buy bushmeat openly, business as usual. In Nigeria, almost every new Inspector General of Police bans police checkpoints on the road. Yet Nigerians are daily harassed at checkpoints all over the country by rifle totting policemen.
It is the same story everywhere you look in Africa. It leads to a general distrust of government in the electorate. The better reactions are where the people largely ignore government efforts due to previous experiences with unfulfilled outcomes. In other words, people either live on as they have without the government, solving their own problems themselves, or they are anti-government in their stance.
It costs more to achieve the same outcomes in Africa than it does the world over. I tried to get on a plane to travel recently. First, I had to cross about 10 desks in the airport to get to where I would board. Absurd. But what is more absurd is that each person demanded for a bribe of about 1,000Naira (about 5dollars) in order to move me along. When I failed to pay up, I was delayed endlessly. To achieve the outcome of getting on a plane, it was going to cost me 50dollars. In Dubai, it didn’t cost me a dime beyond my ticket fare.
We need our African governments to begin to achieve the outcomes that the stupendous resources expended warrant. We cannot continue to have governments spend billions of dollars on security whilst we continue to feel insecure. We cannot have governments spend vast amounts on agriculture in a country where over 70percent of our land is arable and yet we cannot feed ourselves. And our outcomes must be reasonably priced. We cannot keep on building the most expensive roads in the world, with poor quality to show for it. We cannot keep making it so easy for officials to extract money by way of bribes from citizens simply because we deliberately set up systems to be inefficient. We cannot make renovations and road repairs turn into nightmare experiences for citizens when others do it routinely on larger scales without making their citizens suffer. We cannot keep announcing monies spent on problems, whereas the people experience these very problems without any respite.
A good example in the study of outcomes is the way Innoson crashed the prices of motorcycles popularly known as Okada in Nigeria. By becoming innovative, the prices of the bikes were crashed, making them affordable to the general public. We need such innovation in housing. In building roads. In fighting poverty. In agriculture. All across Africa. We need better, cheaper outcomes.
Tunde Leye tweets from @TundeLeye

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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