Africa’s must-do, can-do decade
SINCE 2000 the continent of Africa has recorded impressive rates of economic growth. This remarkable performance has been largely driven by the prolonged commodity boom and development assistance. While the continent shows great diversity in the socioeconomic trajectories of its countries, growth rates have generally masked an underlying lack of structural transformation, which is needed to achieve socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable development.
Wherever industrialization has occurred, it has been a reliable force in steering economic diversification and has contributed to developing, strengthening, and upholding the framework conditions for competitive economic growth and development.
Over several decades, some developing countries — mainly in Asia — have been able to industrialize. Despite repeated attempts, Africa has not. If we look at the shares of global manufacturing value added for 2014, we see that the Asia-Pacific region’s share was 44.6 percent, whereas Africa’s share was just 1.6 percent. Sub-Saharan Africa is still the world’s least industrialized region, with only one country, South Africa, being considered industrialized.
African countries cannot achieve sustainable development without an economic structural transformation. They seek to change the structures of their economies by substantially increasing the shares of industry — especially manufacturing — in national investments, national output, and trade.
African countries realize that they must undergo this structural transformation in order to address a range of interconnected challenges.
One of these is the growth of the population. More than half of the continent’s 1.2 billion-strong population is under the age of 19, and almost one in five are between 15 and 24 years old. Each year, 12 million new workers join the labor force. The continent’s young people need the tools and skills to take their lives into their own hands. Industrialization is the key to ensuring that the continent’s fast-growing population yields a demographic dividend.
Another associated challenge is migration. Many of Africa’s most ambitious and entrepreneurially minded young people feel compelled to join migration flows to the North. No country can afford to lose this potential. Migration remains a complex issue, but industrialization can address one of the root causes by creating jobs in the countries of origin.
In addition, the threat posed by climate change hangs heavily over countries where agriculture remains the primary employer. Africa needs to apply and develop green technologies and channel investments into resource efficiency and clean energy. These investments can lower the cost of bringing power to rural areas, while contributing to global efforts to mitigate climate change.
Africa must industrialize, and it must do so in a socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable manner.
Previous efforts to foster sustainable economic transformation in Africa have failed, and the need for a new approach is clear. What is needed now is a broadbased and country-owned process that leverages financial and non-financial resources, promotes regional integration,
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IN its partnership with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) for the dissemination of election education, the Development for Peace Education (DPE) held a series of workshops on the theme of “Local Government and the Culture of Peace” covering its allocated councils in the Berea and Leribe districts. The targets of, and participants in, these initiatives were DPE election educators team leader, the chiefs and selected secondary schools’ teachers; as well as regular (political) phone-in radio talk show callers and opinion shapers of all known radio stations.
This was done cognizant of the fact that participation in elections whether local or general had remained low despite multi-pronged, multi-stakeholder efforts to reverse this trend, and there was need to enthuse large sections of the population to own their government by participation in its formation or birth through a popular choice.
This in turn would lend the government the necessary integrity in the face of the various contending interests making demands of either service or protection, concessions or restrictions from the government. This proposition contrasts starkly with the obtaining scenarios where the majority of the populace would seem to have taken an “exit” from the public affairs or matters of the state and governance, and consider these as areas for indulging in conflict and friction. All involved in these workshops in the end expressed their appreciation of their ample opportunity, feasibility, and potential ease of reclaiming their citizenship at local level through participation in local government; where everybody knows everybody in close communities, their history, connections, and social and antisocial traits, and all categories of achievements – and those given mandate of running community affairs are easy to monitor, advise or censure. Holding people thus elected accountable, it was agreed, would ultimately eliminate frequently occurring conflicts, and reproduce the culture of peace for which Basotho were known from the times of Moshoeshoe.
The culture of peace was defined as avoidance of violence in all its forms and manifestations, and elimination of conflict by tackling the root causes, not merely its occurrence. The various forms of violation were canvassed, including physical, gender, cultural, political, economic; together with their contextualisation and justification and the challenges of the changing times and social structure. The eminent elements of the culture of peace enumerated as (1) tolerance as opposed to confrontation; (2) equality of all persons regardless of their state of ability, gender, economic and other status; (3) cooperation and understanding instead of conflict; (4)seeking of friendship and partnership as opposed to creation of enemies; ( 5)harmonious coexistence with nature instead of its selfish exploitation; (6) respect for human rights in contrast to wanton disregard of such rights; (7)peaceful resolution of conflicts through dialogue instead of resort to war; (8) participatory democratic governance as opposed to dictatorship and unaccountable rule.
Members of each of these categories were briefed on their specific importance for which they were included in the activity, and the instrumentality of their role in promoting participation in local government (elections) as a vehicle for building local peace.
From the outset the regular-caller “opinion leaders” were excited to get to know one another through meeting physically, hailing from the different districts of the country. They included both men (in majority) and women. They said this fact alone created or added to an urge of mutual accommodation and acceptance of one another as “rivals” followed by sizeable communities of loyal listeners of competing political identities/parties and independents. Many of them were not meeting for the first time, since the organisers had employed the stratagem of bringing them together in this fashion in its two previous campaigns of public awareness and opinion survey activities under the tags of “The Government I want” ( started in August 2015), and “The Lesotho I Want” (started in January 2016). They were urged to regularise the need for participation in local elections in their public-debate interventions through radio, and preach the philosophy of tolerance; building upon the budding culture where as participants in this callers’ forum had begun to wear their different (political) identities without being enslaved by them as instruments of animos- ity and conflict. They pledged to uphold the culture of peace in popularising their various parties’ platforms and highlighting the importance of local participation. The teachers and their schools were chosen as partners in a voter turnout drive through competitions for pupil to get their parents and guardians to votes, prize debates on importance of local government; and for their universally recognised role as agents of socialisation – in that behalf capable of planting lasting messages on impressionable minds, hence the importance of having them on the peace culture train.
The chiefs were included for their role as traditional authorities and in that capacity the first peace officers in terms of national administration norms and law, and for their non-partisan, unifying as permanently present mediators of community relations at various levels and in various forms. While teachers protested that they were not allowed to take part in party politics whereas they were expected to teach about it, the chiefs often complained that their respectability in community, and some said even said in the eye of the ministerial authorities, had faded or declined since the arrival of local government as it was tacitly taken to replace them. For their part, the chiefs were motivated with a reward for a chief whose Electoral Division scored the highest rate of voter turnout. The sessions were accompanied by drama performances highlighting local government resourcing, integrity, and efficiency.
These working gatherings brought out the ever-present disaffection with the continuing powerlessness of the people’s elected councils, their resource starvation, friction between the traditional authorities and the elected representatives, the councils and the central government, the imposition of anti-people candidates by the main political parties, and the selfwilled nature of councillors; the use of councillor status for self-aggrandisement including abuse and desertion of communities – where some councillors actually out-migrated to places more in keeping with their new status. An exciting redefinition of the relationship of these tiers and categories that emerged from the callers’ forum was that the councillor should be viewed as a developer (montlafatsi), the chief as the ruler ( mobusi) and the Government as benefactor ( mofani oa matlotlo) – where the Government is obligated by call of duty and national accountability to enable local communities
Continues on Page 9. . . OMRADES, there is no true social revolution without the liberation of women. May my eyes never see and my feet never take me to a society where half the people are held in silence. I hear the roar of women’s silence. I sense the rumble of their storm and feel the fury of their revolt.”
— Thomas Sankara, the late Burkinabé military captain, Marxist revolutionary, pan-Africanist and President of Burkina Faso from 1983 to 1987.