Africa is the second largest continent with 30.2 million square kilometers and second most populous. African comprises of 54 sovereign nations with all these it is the most backward continent in term of development although with little growth rate.
Growth is embellished in development. In actual fact, a country may be growing without development when the variables of growth are not properly harnessed. A typical example is Nigeria; that has been generating huge income from export of petroleum product for many years now. This actually is growth, what we lack is development. At 50 we still depend on advance countries of the world for supply of virtually all our needed. We needed on Sweden for supply of Volvo cars and Lorries; Germany for supply of Mercedes Benz vehicles (Cars, Vans, Lorries, and Trailers): Japan for Nissan, Honda, Toyota vehicles similarly, that small Italy produces Fiat Cars, Buses and Trucks. What are we capable of doing in our big and rich Nigeria? Now are assembled Keke NAPEP, the completely knocked road were shipped to us from india. TATA Lorries on Nigerian road were produced (not assemble) in India. The pertinent questions now is: How far with the Nigeria made car of the Project Development Agency (PRODA) which was said to have been invented in 1989 and exhibited by the Minister of Science and Technology on Monday October 16, 1989 at Tafawa Balewa Square Lagos? Again, the centre for automotive design and development of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria was mandated to develop a Nigeria car (see pages 8 & 9 of Sunday Tribune November 20, 1994). This centre spent about 10 years and yet it was unable to develop a Nigeria car. The centre (CADD) was closed down in year 2000 by Obasanjo’s administration.
Our country is a dumping ground for virtually all products from Indian, Taiwan, England, Germany, Japan, China, France and other countries. We even import oil and certain people in the oil industry are making us to belief that the Federal Government is subsidizing petroleum products. What is wrong with our refineries?
Shortage of fuel hampers running of factories and transport system. These are clearly variables of development. Most of our factories are either working below capacity or have closed down. Dunlop is a typical example; we now depend on second hand tyres and imported tyres from Europe and Asia Countries.
Coming to agricultural products and food supplies, we depend slavishly on foreign countries. Rice is being imported from Thailand, Indian and other Asia countries; our penchant for consumption of foreign goods is to the benefit of the foreign producers of these products.
Nigeria has 923,268 square kilometers of land, out of these 324,981 square kilometers is arable but only 32,405 square kilometers is under cultivation. This leaves 90 percent of the arable land uncultivated. The most unfortunate thing is that we expend billion of naira on importation of rice and wheat annually. We have the largest population compared when with other African countries. Nigeria accounts for 25 percent of the entire African population and yet we can not feed ourselves despite yearly huge expenditure on agriculture by the federal and state governments.
Problems of African Countries
African continent for a long time has been maintaining a state of tenderness, instability and underdevelopment. The countries that are being classified as third world are largely African countries. Nearly all of them are lacking behind due to their stage of deficiency and inability to flourish. In African we are blessed with natural and human resources but we have nothing to show for these, Nigeria for example is the 6th largest oil produce in the world, but to the contrary we occupy the 13th position among the poorest nation of the world. The pertinent question now is; how do we account for the expenditure on poverty reducing activities of the Government over the years? This negative position is not limited to Nigeria.
THE WAY FORWARD
There are several issues that are retarding the economy of African nations. They are also responsible for lack of growth and bad governance. When Africa countries move away from them, significant improvement will result.
Dependency Syndrome: Many African countries depend on their formal colonial matters for direction and solution to their internal critical problems. They lack the willingness to succeed on their own.
Aid programmes and loan to African: African nations take different kinds of loans from World Bank, International Monetary Funds (IMF), and also from developed countries and other International Development Institutions. These loans are readily available to be granted. They are usually with high interest rate and payable over a long period of time to make it attractive. Many African countries take loan, upon loan for different kinds of projects since they have up to 15, 20 or 30 years as pay back period. This kind of situation has put many African countries in serious financial mess. The most unfortunate things, is that the loans are not always utilized for bona-fide purposes.
DR. MUFUTAU ADEBOWALE is the President of CIPSAN, being excerpts of paper presented at the First International Conference on Development by Integrity International Magazine, at Abuja, July 16, 2011.
By Dr. Mufutau Adebowale
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