Africa countries should place on strategies and actions (action plans) at their levels that they will adhere to in their process of liberating their continent beyond aid so they can be measured. Writing this comes from the backdrop of emerging issues on the African continent, Ghana’s President, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo at a global partnership for education conference said “We have the resources to finance education in Africa” and indeed during the just ended state of the stations address (His second) on 8th February 2018 he said “We will build Ghana beyond aid” reechoing the need for the commitment towards Ghana and Africa beyond aid process. The Rwandan president H. E Paul Kagame and other leaders have always done so.
In the Ghanaian president words, I deduce the leader has dedicated the free SHS programme not to be tied to an aid promise by any foreign government. Directly, it means that that the country will not relying on aid to fund such a heavily revenue demanded programme. That’s refreshing though Ghana still has some donor support on its budget. In practice, past Ghanaian leaders have in one way or the other walked in similar lines with the general aim of a self-reliance economy. But a lot is expected, the presidents of African nations need specific commitments and they including Ghana will be marching towards what I call’ Africa in Action beyond Aid’- the everyday actions and way of living that take us to economic independence… Surely it will not take a day, it will take years, to achieve completely. Even so, some countries will before others.
The question as to when individual countries will be economic independence, no one can tell. But working together, someday it will be achieved. It is “only when we cross the river can we say the crocodile has a lump on snout ” at that time we can say, it is over. We need to commend our continent leaders for accepting the “Africa In Action Beyond Aid” and challenge them as well to take up specific actions in their country’s context and work on achieving economic independence, no matter how small it may feel, it adds up and it is to take us all off aid within the process. In that way, we will be helping to re-orient our minds as well as be working in achieving the “Africa beyond Aid’ What needs to be done – For Africa in Action without aid to be achieved? Just too highlight a few.
AFRICA UNION (AU)
AU plays a significant and important role to achieve this mission in our everyday lives as a continent. If the body could agree together for members to make specific dedication and declaration towards Africa beyond aid, it will mean a lot in the onward match. AU can help in:
1) In the short to medium term, members agree none of its own is to accept any support from any foreign government that comes with “strings” attached except those to deter corruption and increase its effectiveness (The strings in themselves can make a country so dependent on these donor countries)
2) All African countries should come up with strategies on how at their country levels they can work to achieve the beyond aid project in process
The truth, however, is that countries are at different development levels in Africa (just as any other continent), some countries on the continent at different level of our development will surely need some help whiles others may not as much
3) So, AU can start seeking funds from its own people to help/fund projects its own people without strings attached in the medium to long-term
4) Also in the medium term, foreign aids that still comes to support economies should be tied to individual projects and not items in African countries budgets ( For example, if a German firm wants to build a library for a community and hand it over to authorities, why not. “Africa in action beyond aid” does not mean we stop supporting ourselves. However said, when aid and support from donors are tied to countries budgets, then when the support stops coming, the budget becomes distressed and people suffer the resulting policies from managers of the economies. Britain and Netherlands aid cut to Rwanda caused the country about 12% of their budget estimates for inflows back in 2012
CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS AND OTHERS
Civil society organizations (CSOs) and all other groups are needed in such a laudable change “in doing things” on the continent. Also, (4) CSOs (and all other dedicated institutions and Groups like ours,) Can petition individual countries and sub-regional bodies on the need to effect strategies at country levels on the “Africa in Action beyond Aid”.
5) Also, CSOs can help in behavioural change activities and projects to re-orient citizen on the need to support ” Africa in action beyond aid” and issues arising (some economical)
6. Corruption: But in all these, the continents ability to put forth actions to eliminate or reduce to barest minimum corruption are important if any country is to achieve resilient and economic independence. Because if you garner all revenues and they go into peoples pocket, the country will surely be vulnerable to take aid and weak enough to accept conditions even when they don’t favour the economies
7) Generate revenues innovatively to support budgets: Countries need behavioural change messages- the average human being won’t like to pay tax(its normal) but when countries attach purposes to taxes and utilize revenues well- the people are reason mostly enough to support governments. Without countries ability to raise funds, they will always go hungry and that’s when they go begging. Importantly revenue leakages can be blocked and resources channelled for development activities
The Mamprusi’s have a saying that ” a healthy person who begs for food is an insult to the farmer”- To some people, it doesn’t matter where funds come from, as well as there is development, who cares. This thinking may be justified, however even as individuals, if we can manage our families without the need of help always (financially) of others who may have their own families to manage, then African states can use same too. Let’s support this noble course. The “ruins of a nation begin at the homes of its people”. ‘When a noble course calls, we render our support at our homes and wherever we are for a “worthy course is worth pursuing to the end”
Lastly, we co-operate to develop.
United Nations and donor agencies must support this course. If aid does not help Africa to be like or better than donor countries, then there is definitely a need to re-look into such and thread on a different course- Development in cooperation and respect for each. Also, Africa governments will have to create more opportunities for all by targeting their resource well for the benefit of the people on the continent. For as H.E Nelson Mandela once said “for to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others”. In doing so then we will be taking our people along with us to a development on the continent that is sustaining and impactful.
Now, “Africa beyond aid is a vision” but “Africa in action beyond aid” is a mission… Let us work in action to achieve the vision!