“It matters little how much information we possess about development, if we have not grasped its inner meaning”.
DENNIS GOULET, THE CRUEL CHOICE.
Every nation strives after development. Economic progress is an essential component, but it’s not the only component.
It’s been observed lately, that countries in Africa have been on an average growth rate of five (5) percent. Nigeria woke up one morning in march 2014, to be told her GDP increased from $270b to $510b, making her the “largest economy in Africa”, thereby overtaking her south African counterpart. As much as growth in this region is being celebrated mostly by macroeconomists and the international community, growth has not transcended to improved standards of living, changes in institutions, social and administrative structure, as well as in attitudes, customs and beliefs. The average man cannot match these figures to his current reality. As inflation in Nigeria hits a single digit of seven(7)percent, ” papa kelechi”still finds it hard to feed his family with three square nutritional meals, not to talk about seeing his five children through primary to tertiary education.
Nigeria currently holds a poverty rate above 71.5percent , with a life expectancy of 47.7years, Cameroun 50.9, Senegal 55.4, Kenya 53.6, Ghana 56.5, Mali 48.1, Democratic Republic of Congo 46 years. Inequality still persists within and among nations, which is said to have originated from lingering colonial impact and unequal international relations; thereby creating institutions that often favor extractors of wealth and enabling a few that gain access to and take advantage of economic opportunities. Population growth rates are skyrocketing, with an ever growing but distracted younger generation, coupled with high dependency burden.
Braindrain, despite poor educational system, increased health challenges and an urgent need for skilled workers, continue to be the order of the day. As noted by development economists, between 1960 and 1990 more than a million high level professional and technical workers from the developing countries migrated to the United States, Canada and United Kingdom.
One thing I believe is, most Africans have failed to understand that all countries of the world are on different developmental stages ,while some are struggling to get across, some are stuck on the border line, others who are battling with sustained development, while a few are challenged with growth. We should understand that development could be an evolutionary or revolutionary process.
Also important is an understanding of how low income countries today differ from developed countries in their earlier stages, and how we can leverage on major trends and understand the new breed of developmental challenges that must be tackled to take the leap. Recently economists have come to the knowledge of the truth that we need to step up in the quality of growth. But all these will make no true meaning if we do not grasp the inner meaning of development. I LEAVE US TO ASK OURSELVES;
- What then is development?
- Have we truly grasped its inner meaning?
- Are we genuinely running the race for development?
- What truly does the future holds with regards development and sustained development for Africa?
All these and many more, I intend bringing our way next week.
“Development is not real until we can account for the quality of life of the average man on the streets”.