Development: Why Africa Has Several Aging and Infirm Presidents

December 18, 2023
map of africa

By Nneka Okumazie

As Africans continue to debate why Africa is unindustrialized, the consideration that there may be small to no talent in Africa should not be off the table.

It is easy to ascribe talent to whatever enthrals Africans, but the talents that are necessary for development appear not to be available.

There is so much confusion about the problems of Africa, that the ways people talk and react to them expose this paucity.

As a people, Africans don’t have landmark political theories, by which they can govern themselves into progress. There are variants of democracy, yet little is different if there wasn’t.

Africans don’t have extraordinary economic theories to pull the majority of their people from the unprecedented poverty of the modern day.

Africans have not built their satellites. There are no rockets. No space programs. No plans to build semiconductors. There is little or nothing of massive economic value with which the continent is ahead of others. They are not developing medications for their common public health issues. Nothing indicative of extraordinary talent is obvious.

There are several spotlights on Africa’s tech scene and its startups, with most of their so-called solutions that are nearly preposterous.  Food delivery solution is not food for all. Neither is ride-hailing the path to solving their public transport shortages. Payments or loans do not solve poverty for all.

Digital skills for everyone are not skills that can develop hard and leading answers to return massive economic advantage to Africa. Learning and skills are okay. However, they mostly guarantee a slot in a long global queue and are of minor benefit to a few people.

Africa holds elections. Winners are rarely surprises. Even when some surprises emerge they end up disappointing. There have been some candidates that have galvanized the youths, yet, they lost, in part because the talent needed for ways to surmount the old order is not there.

There are several positions across Africa with young leaders, yet most are not remarkable. They move nothing forward and are not better than if they were not there. Africa has ministers with great pedigrees, yet they solve nothing.

There have been revolutions in Africa with leaders that emerged after defeating the past, yet it has amounted to nothing. Some have left Africa for other parts of the world, yet are not present in recent histories of major advances happening where they are.

The approach of Africa to progress is to guess. Where the wrong problem is identified and the wrong answers are applied.

Some people said Christianity is the problem of Africa, many have stopped going to church, yet they have not made notable differences in their lines of work.

Some have said that government schools are inadequate, private schools have sprung up, and some have gone away to school, yet nothing much has gone forward.

Progress is unlikely to come by the guessing approach of Africa. Some people want new revolutions in Africa, as the usual wrong problem, wrong answer.

What is stopping Africa from having a new policy on education? At least it does not require more than what they already have, but it appears that for all those in the education sector, coming up with a way forward for the kind of education models they need is beyond their capacity.

Complaining is everywhere. That is not the characteristic of a place that is flooded with talents. Most presidents in Africa are probably dull. They often manoeuvre nonsense for their advantage, since those that carry them out are rewarded or attached to them in different ways. It is not difficult for a better power base to emerge in any African country with a decent amount of talent to wrest power easily from them in ways without obvious forces—which is what they always expect.

There is a lot to be proud of for Africa but there is also a lot to be ashamed about. Many people continue to discuss Africa’s problems but forget that it may be difficult to talk up talent for change, where it is not available.

The things that are necessary for Africa’s progress seem hard to do for Africans even when talent is not involved. Changes to behaviour or character adjustments for fairness, courage, resilience, sincerity, selflessness and trust are hard for people, even by a low percentage that might end up meaningful. Everything is always about others not doing it and fear that if they tried, they would be ostracized.

Africa’s lack of talent is not about education or exposure but about the possibility of doing things that are directly vital to marked progress. Easy and fun is everywhere in Africa for Africans. There is a strange obsession with sex, something that has existed for a long time, but did not for its own sake bring any change. It is what some people want to talk about or optimize all they do for, only offering the same thing that many will never remember offered.

The podcasts, shows or whatever too are not drivers of the change they need for their development. There is an obsession with triviality in a world that does not care what is exciting to these people, or how they make themselves feel important. Whatever they do to make themselves or those next to them happy is a bubble they live in that has no bearing on what can make a difference.

Africa is in a really bad place. The people in positions have all failed. Those complaining about failures have also failed. The problem is not the government. The problem is talent, raw, rich, surpassing and heavy going at their problems for change. As stone was to be cast against a woman years ago like many bring out their smartphones to look outward, Africa with that attitude, may lose this century.

[Proverbs 23:30, They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.]

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