We live in a foreign society in our homeland. I remember seeing a colleague eat ‘banku’ with spoon, most people now prefer canned foods to fresh ones and others prefer fried rice and fried chicken with stew. All this point out to the fact that the African mind has been seriously mutilated. We have been made to think that there is nothing good about African Culture or that our foods, customs and ways of thinking are inferior and unproductive and some have even gone as far as labeling us as a third world. How many worlds did God create then or how many evolved?
It is a well-known fact that the basic ideas that inhabit all men are the same; it is the manifestations of these ideas that differ from culture to culture. For example, scholars have found out that at a certain point in time in the history of the world, all cultures believed in magic and witchcraft, so these things are not only peculiar to Africa. Culture is dynamic and the African culture is no exception. Traditionally and historically, the African leader is not just an administrator but also a spiritual head. He is responsible for our spiritual, physical, social and most importantly our economic well-being. He is an embodiment of our dreams and aspirations.
But today, leadership on the African continent has become a nightmare and this problem has eaten deep even into our youth groups and associations. Take a look at our campuses and you will ask yourself, what are we teaching our youth? What do they learn? What do they use their mind for? The development of a nation’s economy depends to a large extent on a successful transmission of skills, ideas and processes from the older generation to the younger. But that process has been seriously interrupted by westernization. I don’t want to use the word ‘civilization’ because we were already civilized (in our own way) before the coming of the white man and again civilization is different from westernization. Consider an old lady who lives in the village and does not know much about the new technology and her young grand-daughter who lives a vibrant city life and doesn’t know about culture, nature and African history. In the Future, how can this girl who has lost her unique selling point compete with her European, American and Chinese counterparts in the global market? All technological innovations from other cultures were built upon an already existing indigenous technology so as Africans why do we throw away our indigenous technologies and go in for foreign ones instead of trying to better ours. Today when it comes to business, only a handful of African youth are interested in entrepreneurship. Most of them dream of a better life in Europe and America.
However, there are quite a number of the youth who are interested in entrepreneurship but do not get the necessary push they need partly due to unavailability of funds or unfavorable regulations. Regulation plays a very important role in economic development and every investor is concerned about favorable regulations. A prominent business man once said that regulations bring peace, peace brings trade, trade in turn brings investment and investment brings wealth. But that’s not to say these processes go on smoothly considering the political agitations that pour into the continent everyday. Aside that, these processes are also characterized by long bureaucratic procedures that the ordinary African finds difficult to understand.
As the prolific writer Akua S. Ejisu will put it:
”Africa will only emerge from its economic difficulties as a continent if it can consciously and consistently remodel its institutions to be more compatible with its culture and the structural components of its own society. The challenge is to build on the elements that are in tune with African life today, discarding those that are not, and where appropriate adopt and reconstruct any useful foreign models”
NB: I sincerely apologize for the shallow treatment given to this topic as I ‘m always on the move. We shall surely revisit this later.