Africa now needs mind set change

EMELDA Musonda.

AS ZAMBIA joins the rest of the continent in celebrating Africa Day, let it be a time for Africa to reflect on its journey for over five decades.
Africa Freedom Day (now Africa Day) was founded in 1958 during the first Conference of Independent African States in Ghana.
The day was set apart to commemorate the political liberation of African countries which had been under the shackles of colonialism for a long time
While Africa managed to liberate itself politically, it is certain that there is also need for economic emancipation.
It cannot be business as usual when five decades on, Africa is still that beggar trotting to the Western world for help.
It is no wonder, the continent has not yet found its audible voice on the international fora.
Africa is no longer a baby which needs pampering by the Western powers.
It is time for Africa to position itself to a level where it can stand shoulder to shoulder with other continents.
This can only happen if Africa becomes economically independent.
Five decades on, Africa is embroiled in poverty, disease and political conflicts among other vices that paint the continent black.
Over 50 years on, Africans still believe they cannot run big industries without the help of investors.
It is also sad, that despite being politically independent for a long time, Africa is still being colonised through foreign value systems.
It is in Africa where you find people speaking ill against their countries while celebrating foreign ones.
The levels of unpatriotism are appalling. Some citizens and those in leadership make decisions that favour foreigners at the expense of the indigenous.
For instance, the case where foreigners are amassing land in various countries, they do so with the help of Africans themselves.
This is the continent where leaders take their wealth to build other countries, leaving their own economies to crumble.
Yet when the foreign investors reap their profits they externalise everything to their home countries.
It is also in Africa where many people ascend to political leadership for personal gain as opposed to saving their countries.
Given the current scenario, it is indisputable that Africa needs mind set change.
Africans are still mentally enslaved to think that, they can only develop with the help of the Western world.
However, Africa must wake up to the fact that no one will develop the continent except for Africans themselves.
Africa is richly endowed with a wealth of natural resources such as minerals, oil, gas, arable land, abundant water and wildlife among others.
This is why Africa has an influx of investors coming to exploit its resources. Africa has a lot to offer.
More and more Africans are getting educated. Actually Africa also exports human resource in specialised fields like medicine to other continents.
One wonders why despite all this, Africa still lags behind in terms of development.
Certainly Africans needs mind set change, to believe that can develop the continent by themselves.
Instead of competition, Africa should embrace the spirit of unity as was the case of our founding fathers who liberated the continent politically.
Our founding fathers demonstrated high levels of patriotism to the continent.
If our founding fathers were not united, probably even today, most countries would have been under political slavery.
The kind of commitment and determination demonstrated by our founding fathers is what Africa needs today to liberate itself economically.
Africans must first love and believe in this continent.
This is the only way they will give themselves to developing it.
Africans must move away from the mind set of: what is government doing for me? To what can I do for my country or continent?
At continental level, countries must work towards increasing trade among themselves to ensure that the continent develops.
It is only when African countries become deliberate in ensuring that they do not externalise resources.
It is acknowledged that regional economic communities COMESA, EAC, ECOWAS, IGAD and SADC among others are working towards the continent’s integration and economic growth.
Certainly much more needs to be done to ensure a complete economic revolution of the continent.
There is need for conviction at personal, community, national and continental level.
In commemorating Africa Day, let us be reminded that the battle fought by our forefathers to liberate the continent seemed insurmountable then, but with determination they conquered.
Africa may seem the darkest continent, but if this generation can put on the determination and unity of our founding fathers; Africa can be the economic giant that commands respect on the global stage.
The author is Zambia Daily Mail editorials editor.

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