Africa must rise to future challenges

Posted on May 16, 2013 11:09 am

As Africans mark the 50th anniversary of the fall of colonialism and formation of Africa Union formerly OAU, they have every right to be proud of how far their continent has come. Just over fifty years ago, Africa was a continent in crisis and very well balkanized by western powers jostling for supremacy in the continent. Most governments were in disarray and countries economies ware in free fall. In countries like South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria riots, looting and mass demonstrations had erupted in major cities in retaliation to harsh living conditions that characterized colonization. Money was fleeing the continent and white businessmen ran for the exit. Back then, future of African countries looked bleak and chaos all over were the order of the day.

Fifty years on, Africa is a continent transformed. It is the darling of foreign investors and has six of the ten fastest growing economies in the world. More than half the African countries have thriving democracies and is now a respected voice in global affairs. There is no doubt businesses is booming and a young middle class is rising across the continent. Those chaotic days before independence seem a distant memory to many and now as a continent with a free press and an engaging civil society, political stability is taking shape in the continent. The number of countries conducting free and direct presidential and parliamentary elections without violence is growing every year. Africans have every reason to be proud of their continent and what it has achieved over the past half a century.

It has taken courageous and strong leadership to turn the continent around with a fast-growing economic development. As the continent of Africa bask in achievements of the last half a century, Africans must look to the future and what the next half a century will bring for the 1Billion continent. My visits to more than 13 African countries over the last six years has provided me with insights about new challenges that will need fresh thinking and innovative policies if the continent is join the middle income economies and regions in the next half a century. The continent must reform its education system to ensure the population has capability to tackle rising to the challenge. Most importantly, African countries will require extraordinary leaders to take the continent further forward. Although Africa has come far, there is plenty of hard work that lies ahead.

Contador Harrison