By Kudzai Shirichena
The cradle of mankind, with a vast resource base that was and still remains subject to direct and indirect conflicts with disastrous consequences, the story of Africa is bitter sweet.
War, poverty, hunger, and disease outbreaks continue to ravage the “dark” continent, but “dark” as it might seem, the warmth and hearty smiles of the millions of its inhabitants, the captivating sunset on the shores of a distant lake, and the roars of lions in heat, is just but the light that gives hope to the home of civilisation...AFRICA.
This year the continent celebrates and commemorates the 49th anniversary of Africa Day launched on May 25, 1963 in Addis Ababa with the aim of uniting Africa. The beauty of Africa still stands despite all that it has had to go through, be it colonialism, war, economic hardships and sanctions!
Though labelled the “dark” continent, Africa is the cradle of main kind. It still upholds its beauty! Look at the beauty the continent carries; the resources - be it economic. One can not talk about the treasures of Africa and not talk about the wealth that it possesses - the minerals - its gold, chrome, platinum, the iron, the coal, just but to mention a few!
The great wonders of the world, the Victoria Falls, the Table Mountains, the wildlife, the beach, and the sunset. One stops to think and just wonder what the world would be like with no Africa, yes without the so called “dark continent”, what will the world surely look like? It is just unthinkable! However, Africa still struggles economically, health wise and politically.
Africa Day provides an opportunity for Africans to reflect on the challenges that are currently facing the continent and its people. However, the people should take the day as an opportunity to also celebrate the achievements that have been made. Africa has managed to reduce the poverty, it has given the people freedom, and some of the countries such Zimbabwe, Malawi and South Africa have managed to overcome the famine that has been experienced in the continent.
The continent has managed to reduce gender inequality that was in the order of the African continent and this calls for celebration. Through the African Union, the continent has been made a better place and continues to thrive in that.
This year the continent celebrates Africa Day under the theme “Africa and the Diaspora”. Therefore, even the people who have left the continent for the Diaspora indeed have a role to play, that of upholding the continent everywhere they go. The African Union is made up of 54 independent nations and its aim is to promote unity, economic development and accelerate the total independence of African countries which are faced with neo-colonialism.
Many Africans emigrated from the continent in order to seek education, employment and better living for themselves and their children. Most of the people who have resorted to going abroad have been pushed by the economic instability that the continent has had while in the process of development.
Though Africa has been known for poverty, war and disease which in most cases have been brought about by Westerners, the continent still stands as the place for human kind. One author once said that Africa will rise again and Africa is indeed on the verge of rising again.
Africa may indeed have all the economic beauties, but the breakthrough of Africa’s economic challenges may come from programmes such as the engagement in intra-African trade. Trade which is widely accepted as an important engine of economic growth and development for the success of any continent’s economy remains vital for Africa.
The implementation and promotion of programmes such as the “Buy in Africa,” “made in Africa” which will promote indigenisation in the continent and may improve trade among member states, is just but one system that Africa can in actual fact afford to bring a break through to the continent’s challenges.
The programmes stand to reduce the number of imports made from other continents, and will make Africa self-reliant. Africa exports and imports products to and from the rest of the world. Africa exports products such as ores, metals, precious stones and fuels. While it imports products such as manufactured goods, chemicals, machinery and transport, increasing industrial capacity utilisation in the manufacturing sector will enable Africa to be more self-reliant and have a better balance of trade within the rest of the world.
The solutions then for our continent lie within Africa. However, this can only be possible through unity of purpose and movement towards regional and continental integration. Regional blocks such as SADC, ECOWAS, and COMESA must compliment the African Union in uniting the continent in trade, politics, business, tourism, and other aspects.
Thus, as Africans on Africa Day one ought to realise and know the importance of celebrating and upholding the continent and its capabilities and wealth.
An African writer once said that the problems of Africa can only be solved within Africa. The continent therefore has the full potential to develop its economy which will promote health and political stability in the country.
Without unity, Africa’s challenges cannot be overcome, thus hindering the development of continent.
The views presented in this article are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent those of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.