Editor's Comment

Africa has answer to its problems

FROM left: Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) sub-regional centre for southern Africa director general Belay Begashaw, Rwandan President Paul Kagame and President Edgar Lungu during the launch of the centre at Mulungushi International Conference Centre yesterday. PICTURE: COLLINS PHIRI

AFRICA’S problems are peculiar to Africa. And as such, they can be solved by Africans themselves through indigenous solutions.
For instance, challenges of poverty, disease and underdevelopment have haunted the continent for a long time.
And for the many years that Africa has continued to focus outside for solutions, such have eluded it.
This goes to show that solutions to Africa’s problems are being overlooked right within the continent.
Africans more than anybody else understand better the causes and context of their challenges as opposed to foreigners.
Africans better than anybody else understand their culture, value systems and environment, which is vital to developing ideal and practical solutions.
It is, therefore, an illusion to expect people who are not Africans to understand our problems and provide solutions.
While it is acknowledged that Africa can learn from other continents, such knowledge is only useful if customised to the African context.
This could be one of the reasons why initiatives that are thought to be working in other continents when brought here fail to produce similar results.
Unless Africa rises up to proactively and avidly develop homegrown solutions to its vexing challenges, it will continue going round in circles and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals will only remain but a dream.
This is why President Lungu is calling on Africa to adopt home-grown solutions to address its many challenges.
Mr Lungu observed, and rightly so, that without conceited action from African countries, many will not attain all the SDGs by 2030 as was the case with Millennium Development Goals in 2015.
“In our pursuit to achieve SDGs, this trend is unfortunately likely to continue unless Africa devises more innovative ways in addressing its developmental challenges,” he said.
Time has come for Africa to adopt homegrown solutions to its own challenges,” he said.
Certainly, time has come for Africa to take bull by its horns.
Moreover, Africa has what it takes to attain the SDGs. Africa is blessed with vast natural resources and qualified personnel.
Africa has produced great minds in various fields like medicine, which have contributed to development at the global level.
This goes to show that Africans have solutions for their continent too.
The call for homegrown solutions to Africa’s problems is not rhetoric because examples of success stories are there for all to see.
Rwanda is one of the African countries that has demonstrated that with homegrown solutions, African countries can come out of the doldrums of its challenges.
Despite going through disruption due to the genocide that occurred in 1994, the country has been able to break the record as one of the fastest developing countries on the continent.
The secret to Rwanda’s fast growth is the homegrown mechanisms adopted by Government and the people.
As a way of rebuilding the country quickly, Rwanda adopted Umuganda – a practice of self-help and cooperation among family, friends and neighbours, to construct and rehabilitate schools, clinics and other infrastructure.
Through this practice, the government partnered with community members to provide materials while the latter provided labour.
Umuganda was also a platform for people to come together after finishing the assigned work to discuss communal and national matters that needed to be conveyed to the government.
This is a good example of an inclusive and people-centred approach rooted in the country’s tradition.
Rwanda has managed to come up with various solutions rooted in its traditional culture and values. This is what Africa needs.
African countries can draw lessons and inspiration internally to come up with solutions that will transform it for the better.
Africa has the answer to its problems.

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