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Monday, August 17, 2009

Africa’s case of the Gift and the Curse


As the battle for control of Global natural resources reaches new height in the modern world it is interesting to note that Africa remains challenged in terms of developing an effective strategy to exploit its own resources. At the heart of the problem is transparency and inequitable distribution of the wealth derived from Africa’s vast wealth. Some have referred to Africa’s natural wealth as the gift and the curse.

The continent’s wealth has been the gift that could uplift the continent from poverty, but it has been a curse in as much it has brought wars, corruption and other ills associated with wealthy looting and exploitation. The control of Africa’s wealth has attracted untold suffering for some of its Citizens who have become victims instead of beneficiaries.

The list of countries that have been totally devastated and remain poor despite unmatched natural wealth is rather long. This conflict is normally driven by a few who have control of the wealth and do not feel the need to properly re-invest the wealth within the communities where the wealth originally resides.

In the Nigerian Delta oil centered conflict has been raging on, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) war has been going on, same in the Sudan ,Angola and several other nations .Liberia and Sierra Leone went through horrible times fueled by blood diamond money.

Closer to home Zimbabwe’s Chiadzwa diamonds have now joined the infamous league of blood diamonds due to the horrible treatment which the locals are going through at the hands of the security services on the instruction of a few powerful men. Zimbabwe has been going through a low intensity conflict centered on diamonds and other natural resources. This need not be.

Despite being home to what is reportedly the second biggest diamond reserves in Africa ,Chiadzwa remains an impoverished village whose inhabitants are haunted by those with the means. This has been Africa’s tragedy. The lack of will to be accountable with natural wealth. This lack of transparency breeds poverty as a few seek to hideously exploit this wealth and nothing much is re invested in the area and country of origin.

This brings us to the recent flurry of American diplomacy on the African continent .The last 2 months have been an very interesting period especially with regards to the relationship between Africa and the United States. Prime Minister Tsvangirai became the first African leader to meet President Barrack Obama at the White house. Given Zimbabwe’s rocky relationship with the USA this was meant to indicate that America is watching both Zimbabwe and Africa with a view to make Africans more of the owners of their destiny rather than blame third parties endlessly.

President Obama then followed up with a visit to several African states during which he highlighted the need for Africa to start looking inwards, look within it self for solutions. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton then followed up with a similar “tough love” message for Africa and Africans to accept ownership of their destiny and act accordingly. This appears obvious but it has far reaching implications for the continent should African Citizens act with a new sense of hope, pride and responsibility for their own destiny.

The central theme to all this is self belief and positive attitude about accountability and transparency in handling public affairs and national resources. It is critical that the continent develop and believes in its own brand based on transparency, accountability and self belief that we indeed are masters of our destiny. Once you accept that you are the master of your destiny then you can not blame “detractors” for your short comings.

This article appears courtsey of GMRI CAPITAL – www.gmricapital.com

Gilbert Muponda is a Co-Founder of 3MG Media . He can be reached at; www.ZimFace.com

Email: gilbert@gilbertmuponda.com . Skype ID: gilbert.Muponda

Twitter ; http://twitter.com/gmricapital

Phone: 1-416-841-5542

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