Gender Gender

How does Africa compare?

Can we help? with PASTOR & MRS BANDA
DEAR AFRCN,
With reference to your comments on whether Africans are lazy or not, let us start with some definitions. By lazy, we are not referring to a lack of ability to perform different tasks. A lazy person might actually be highly skilled, qualified or endowed with various abilities.
Rather, laziness refers to a failure to apply oneself adequately in order to improve oneself and the society around them. Neither are we saying that every individual in the culprit nation or continent is lazy. Saying that a country or continent is lazy means that although they might have a handful of hardworking citizens, on average, the majority do not exert themselves adequately when it comes to work.
Those who are hard working in a given society will obviously feel offended to be classified with a group deemed lazy, but they need to understand that it is a comparison of whole societies and not individuals. Laziness affects the rate of development and causes whole societies to be stagnant.
The comparison of continents mentioned in our article, was done on the current performance on a pound for pound basis. It is not a comparison of which is the wealthiest continent. As already pointed out with respect to acquiring wealth, some countries had a head start over others, whilst others exploited others in acquiring their wealth.
Rather, it is a comparison of how people currently apply themselves and their resources to improve their lot.
Away from Western powers like Britain and USA, how about comparing ourselves to countries like Malaysia? Like Zambia, it was colonised by the British and gained its independence in 1957. At independence, its economy was very similar to that of Zambia. Thereafter, it has transformed itself into a highly industrialised country posed to be a developed nation soon.
The following are some critical areas of comparison:
• Work culture: How is our work culture as a people compared to peoples from other nations? Do we drag our feet when going to work, resulting in us being late for work, yet we are very much in a hurry to knock off? How many productive hours do we put in, in a day compared to others?
What do we do after knocking off or when we are on leave? Is our work confined only to the work place? How do we compare with others from nations where they work more than one job?
• Utilisation of resources: How much natural resources do we have as a nation or continent and how are we utilising them to better ourselves compared to other continents?
• Procrastination: How easily do we postpone work to tomorrow? For example, students waiting until the last minute to study and they only do so to scrap through exams and not for the love of the subject they are studying.
• Lack of creativity and innovation: How much hunger as a people do we have to find solutions to challenges we are currently facing as a nation? How easily do we create employment for ourselves instead of always waiting to be employed or bailed out by someone?
If as a continent we are lagging behind others in many of these areas of comparison then it would seem our laziness lies in an inability to manage ourselves. A hardworking African corporate executive, who is helping his employer to rake in millions, becomes useless when left to themselves and ends up as a pauper after retirement.
Your examples, AFRCN, seem to prove rather than disprove this observation that as a people, we suffer from a lack of self-exertion left to ourselves. Therefore, using your examples:
• African slaves produced abundantly under and for their slave masters. But independent Africans fail to reach the same levels of productivity.
• Similarly, the World Cup was won by a team consisting of largely players of African descent but under French management. Compare with the performance of the five indigenous African teams who all caught the first plane back home.
• The Norwegians you quoted at one time were in our shoes but they have progressively made their lives easier whilst we have continued to manually scrub our floors with buckets and brooms.
• More often than not, the few hard working Africans end up taking care of a horde of unproductive dependents who spend their time drinking alcohol and bearing children out of wedlock
• That we have not documented our own history whilst other people have, is another indictment on our failure to exert ourselves in various areas of human endeavour.
In conclusion, rather than giving excuses for our lack of progress as a continent, let us instead strive to learn from others who are doing better than we are.
RELATIONSHIP TIP
Excuses will always be there for you, opportunity won’t. IHEARTQUOTE
For comments and suggestions, email: raphaelandnamukolo@gmail.com

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