After decades of independence, economic development in African countries continues to lag behind. However, several models and ideologies of development have been applied. Are these ideologies and models inadequate in Africa’s specific case or are the real causes of Africa’s failures due to different factors? Considering the complex process of development, the answer to this question is not simple. In trying to find the real solution to the problem, the importance of identifying the source of poverty in Africa is very relevant.
In his latest book (A continent in tears: The origin of Africa’s collapse and how to reverse it), Dr Roland Holou thoroughly analyzed the real evils that undermine development in African countries. After reviewing the literature on Africa’s development and the misconduct of African officials, the importance of human resource and knowledge in the process of Africa’s development has been revealed. The in-depth analysis focused on the failures of the education systems, lack of thought, problems with intelligence and creativity, scientific research, negativity, rote learning (mechanically memorizing information without truly learning how to apply it), corruption, the mismanagement of Africa’s natural resources, reproduction, witchcraft, politics, trade unionism, ignorance, the African mentality, accountability, the awareness of Africans, corruption of foreign powers, the brain drain, and so on. Examples of elites that Africa needs are included as well.
Indeed, Africa suffers from an intellectual, demographic, and spiritual crisis. The decline of Africa is due not only to its poor management and governance, but also to the acts of evil inflicted upon the continent. From households to the very top of the state, Africans are faced with major challenges. Many Africans are afraid to think or do not want to think; many are afraid to speak, do not want to speak, or cannot speak; many are afraid to act or do not want to act; many leaders are corrupt and/or do not want to learn; many have knowledge but do not want to or cannot apply their knowledge; many religious figures are so attached to narrow visions that they have disregarded the management of cities and politics. Above all else, intellectuals are often spurned by those in charge. When certain individuals want to contribute to society or become something, they are suppressed and rejected. Many skills are scorned; great minds are rarely encouraged or heard. Though several politicians do have some skilled knowledge, recognized experts and skilled workers generally do not want to get involved in politics.
When dictators come to power, they do as they please; when politicians have power, they hardly listen to skilled workers; when skilled workers take power, they act as if everything is technical. Moreover, radical trade unionism and political opposition are destroying Africa. Many do not want to contribute to successful initiatives, preferring instead to advance their own interests. What’s worse is the erroneous African mentality that makes development and progress impossible. While skilled, able workers who could make a difference are out of work, lazy and unqualified individuals are promoted to important positions by their relatives in power. Meanwhile, the expenses of the “great” have robbed Africa of the little that is available, all to the detriment of the poor, “innocent” farmers who are dying under the afternoon sun. With the help of foreign powers and politicians, African officials have effectively beaten Africa down.
Moreover, in many education systems, diplomas are not always symbols of knowledge that will lead to positive action toward development. Indeed, Africans distribute and collect many useless degrees. Many graduates claim to be educated when in reality their credentials are a sham. Africa trains too many scholars—parrots whose heads are filled with useless theories and words—who are unproductive and ultimately do not contribute anything of value to society. There are very few exceptions to this rule. Meanwhile, uncontrolled reproduction is enhancing poverty and other problems pertaining to underdevelopment at a faster rate than preexisting problems can be solved. Indeed, polygamy and certain sexual perversions not only contribute to underdevelopment in Africa, but also to the culture of African destitution.
Additionally, African intellectuals are under the influence of spiritual factions that often impede efforts toward development. Unfortunately, the classic debates surrounding underdevelopment in Africa have always ignored the spiritual dimension of the problem. Undoubtedly, developed countries had advantages and other assets that aided them in their growth. These countries have had their Enlightenment period; great minds have worked to put these nations on the right path. Today, Africa’s best minds are afraid to even remain on the continent. Due to this massive brain drain, there are real problems pertaining to coordination, awareness, accountability, and intelligent, rational application of development strategies in African nations.
In an attempt to find a lasting solution to the impoverishment of Africa and to put the continent on the path to prosperity, Dr. Roland Holou (www.RolandHolou.com) has suggested pertinent and practical reforms in his book that should be initiated. This book provides anyone who is concerned with development in Africa valuable information and instruction on how to take action. The ideas proposed in this book could be applied to other continents as well, as these same issues occur outside of Africa.
Dual citizen of the USA and Benin Republic, Dr. Roland Holou has a doctorate in plant sciences, entomology, and microbiology. He is an agricultural engineer and a specialist in environmental development and management. He also holds a diploma in Rural Development and is the Founder and CEO of DiasporaEngager (www.DiasporaEngager.com), the world’s #1 diaspora engagement platform. To learn more about Dr Roland Holou and his books, or to contact him, please write to: [email protected] and [email protected]