Of Empowerment, Africa And The Future

Africa

VENTURES AFRICA – The single greatest crime of any government is deliberately undermining the future. More heinous than that is a deliberate step by the government to ensure that today’s generations of citizens are raised for yesterday’s challenges as opposed to equipping them to handle the challenges of tomorrow. Unequivocally, African governments have taken it upon themselves to create laws and an environment that does less empowering and more arming with chaff!

What is the role of a university? Yes, it is to educate but that is not the only role of a university and some might argue that that is slightly less than 50 percent of the role of a university. In addition to educating, the developmental role of a university is creation. Further than simply learning centers, universities are also centers of inspiration to create and push the boundaries of our cumulative knowledge. In Africa, there are fourteen noble laureates. Eleven of them were recognized for their work in either literature or promoting a more peaceful Africa. Both of which, although admirable and desirable are less dependent on the quality of a tertiary education. The other three Nobel Laureates are South Africans. In three different years, these three different South Africans were recognized for their contributions to Medicine and Physiology and none of their groundbreaking work was done in any institution in Africa. They currently represent the closest to a dent the entire African continent has been recognized for making in a hard science.

Currently, every known resource available to generate electricity in commercial quantities is available on the African continent. Although the resources are not evenly spread through out every country, the fact that all African countries belong to at least one economic bloc means in theory, they are able to reap the benefits of the resource anywhere within their bloc. Resource blessed-geographically; economically by virtue of economic blocs; and population wise to drive the demand, yet, the continent only accounts for 4 percent of world electricity output. 75 percent of this 4 percent are generated in South Africa, Egypt and other countries along the North African littoral region. With barely any electricity, how do we expect any kind of access to emerging technologies- Information technology, Biotechnology, Micro technology and Communication technology that have revolutionized the socio economic development of other nations? Even in these abysmal situation, information and communication technology have been able to thrive. Private investment and capital have spurned success in the form of MTN, Multi Choice and the likes. Only few governments like that of South Africa and Kenya have made a concerted effort to pursue an IT agenda.

The fact of the matter is we currently live in a digital age and every aspect of our lives are getting more influenced by the digital age and it is moving fast. It is imperative that as Africans we catch up now or continue to allow the development gap to be widened. Catching up is only possible with infrastructure for empowering educations and legislature that allows for the rapid development of key industries like power, technology. It is one thing to loot and run governments with no kind of accountability, but a rather large, well defined line is crossed when reckless abandon dictates education and private sector development in any nation.