Technology from the West or foreign aid, Africa must chose one

President William Ruto and his Rwanda counterpart Paul Kagame during the US Africa Summit in Washington D.C. [PCS]

Foreign aid has been used by many well-off Western countries to enhance neo-colonialism in the Third World. Therefore, rejecting foreign aid and embracing technology is the sacrifice we have to overcome as Africa.

Neo-colonialism will not be overcome by the goodwill of our modern colonizers. Just like there is no colonized country in Africa that gained its independence on a silver platter, Africa should not expect to break the yoke of neo-colonialism without any struggle.

Third World countries have got a lot of unutilised potential unrivalled even by the rich West. Kenya, for instance, has fine weather and all its land including the ASAL regions can be transformed for farming. DR Congo has enormous minerals. If a desert land like Israel could be transformed for farming there is no reason why Kenyan dry lands cannot be reclaimed.

Most African countries have got enough experts cum professionals who can steer the continent towards economic empowerment. Western countries aware of our (Africa) potential and are shipping our scholars to their countries, manipulating our politics for their own interests, corrupting our leaders and masterminding political unrest.

Kenya, for example, exports one-third of its university-trained graduates only to re-import technological products created by these human brains. Major construction projects are given to foreign companies and profits made by these companies is reinvested back in Europe which, in turn, increases the level of poverty in Africa. These they do to ensure we continue depending on them forever.

The Economist recently reported that over 75 per cent of African businesses are adversely affected by malaria, with 40 per cent suffering severe consequences, and that World Health Organisation observes that Africa needs US$ 5b to finance malaria control, recommending that ten per cent of this amount be spent on long-life insecticide and 70 per cent on medical products to be manufactured in Western countries.

This figure is enormous and provides very profitable business for the West earmarked to manufacture and deliver these products. The question on everybody's minds should be: Is it cost-effective to produce these medical products miles away from the population it is intended for? Of course, the answer is no.

There are some pharmaceutical companies established in Africa to manufacture drugs, but the United Nations agencies do not purchase drugs from them. Why not? If the existence of these agencies is to help reduce poverty, then African firms should be used to manufacture and supply drugs.

Hope in the future is not built by US policy to promote trade and investment in sub-Sahara Africa or investment/aid commitments by the Paris Club, nor by the forgiveness of millions of dollars worth of debt. Hope is built by allowing Africans to rule themselves, encouraging trade between them instead of exporting their valuable resources to the West and then dumping processed foods and consumer goods imports on them.

-Writer comments on emerging trends.