A continent that sells most of its raw materials, and does not have the concept of a Patent office, with the limited exception of a few countries including South Africa. A continent that nurses lethal grudges against enemies of the past and sees the presidential office as a revolving door for "pay back." And a continent, that sees democratic plurality as infiltration of Western intelligence and unAfrican.
I am writing about Africa and African democracy. In this milieu of intractable problems, what is the missing ingredient to assisting African society to develop at a fundamental level?
It is one thing to teach Africans how o write grant proposals to ask for Aid in the West and another to teach Africans the science of immigration so that crops can be watered during drought and famine periods. The west is not an inherently oppressive place; in as much as Africa is not a dark and backward place. It is people who change countries and cultures, as such no place has a monopoly on talent. No leader is irreplaceable, and no leader can rewrite the Bible putting his name into it as Messiah without bringing his country and cult to certain doom.
The Problem of the cult of personality / False Messiah in Africa:
The world has seen many self-made Messiahs rise and fall, and unfortunately Africa has its own share of false Messiahs. Here, I am writing about a Messiah in the secular sense of a non-Jewish / Non-Biblical self declared Messianic leader. In this regard, Africa is a land that seems to attract the "divinely-anointed" delusional leader who consolidates his cult during office. This mentality of the cult leader mirrors Nazi German and South East Asian countries, where the leader seems to be above the country he governs and is ushering a new country different from the previous one he inherits. But as usual he is reminded that the new name does not change the country's GPA, food production, work force and the theme of this article - its scientific accomplishments.
Whether it is in medicine, commerce or civil engineering a good invention makes a big difference between whether you can store meat for a day or refrigerate it. I am a firm believer that Africa's intractable problems flow from the office of Presidency, whether it is in Gambia or South Africa - that fundamentally a cultural shift has to occur where African presidents understand that they work for the people and not the other way round.
During Great Britain's industrial revolution numerous industrial inventions kept that nation ahead of other nations. This inventions included John Kay's "flying shuttle," James Hargreaves's "spinning jenny," Richard Arrkwright's "water frame," and Samuel Cromplton's "Crompton mule." Africa must use its natural fuel, coal and electricity, to fire up factories that export finished products to the West.
The economics of scale where one exports a raw diamond for $1000 U.S. and then buys the same finished product for $975 U.S. is not a logical long term solution to Africa's development needs. Why not export a finished diamond ring for $500 with a stamp of hardwork and love - Made in Nigeria, Made in Angola , so forth and so on? Even to this day, BMWs are made in German, everyone knows this. It is a German car designed, manufactured and perfected in German.
What Africa needs is new leadership with a clear understanding of science and economics, and not revolutionary leadership. This age of African science and economics is the post-revolutionary age, a time for what former South African Presidents might term African Renaissance.
Africa needs to connect back to the idea of Timbucktu, in Mali, that ideas matter above personalities. In a culture that embraces science, hospitals replace home remedies improving the health of the working class; teaching is understood from a synthesis perspective and not a superstitious one. And for those out there who will say science is a Western ideal, they should be reminded that over 700,00 manuscripts were destroyed at Timbucktu. And that Timbucktu had as its central study astronomy.
Science is the stuff that builds buildings, that creates refined food and more efficient machines. Africa's revolutionaries must be willing to hand over power to a younger generation for the stimulation of scientific discover and invention.