US and Western Policies Towards Africa – Africans Must Take Responsibility

US and Western Policies Towards Africa – Africans Must Take Responsibility

In the wake of US President Barack Obama’s recent trip to Africa, some have continued to blame the US and the world for failed policies in Africa. Granted, America and the world could do more to help better things in Africa yet we must not fail to recognize the efforts that have been made so far even if some are yet to yield successful results. To focus only on unsuccessful policies and insist that US and the West must help Africa is in fact not being helpful to Africa as it stirs the wrong mindset that may encourage lethargy and dependency in Africans. Policies of Western nations need not be accepted hook line and sinker. Imposition of policies should not be condoned under the guise of “sympathizing with Africa” nor simply because “Africa needs help.” It is essential to recognize that for the policies of foreign nations aimed at Africa to succeed they have to be open to scrutiny and pass the threshold of acceptance, and/or cooperation of Africans themselves.

The truth is that “only us can free our minds.” The challenge is that some are quick to believe or welcome misguided thought-manipulations under the excuse of “Africa needs help.” Accordingly, when things fail to work in Africa we are quick to blame the so called helper but we never examine indigenous roles in making things work or fail. Many buy into the dependency or “wait for help” attitude and therefore forget that there is a limit to how much America and the West can help Africa. Besides, the choice to help Africa is never a binding obligation. Africans have the foremost responsibility to help themselves before they can complain about not being helped. Africans will not be crying or waiting for the failure or success of Obama’s America’s (or Western) policies if Africans themselves go ahead and be proactive in establishing policies that would address their issues in the first place. It is said that “a beggar has no choice.” As long as Africans continue to allow themselves to be beggars they will continue to run into that situation when the rewards of begging seem no longer lucrative or satisfying. Appreciating what help can be received while continuing to work on their own to thrive is a better position to take than just begging, waiting, complaining and eventually blaming others.

Africans have the responsibility to adjust their pattern of thinking on socioeconomic issues or at least begin “taking responsibility.” Africans might cry against Obama (America) and the West today, while cheering the Asians for coming forth lately, but unless Africans take the bull by the horn and come up with ways to deal with their problems themselves they will continue to suffer and lag in the same vicious cycle. Those who sing the praises of the Asians in Africa today will realize by objective analysis, that once the Asians (or other foreigners) are no longer benefiting from Africa they will pack up and leave for the next economic lucrative geographic zone. The aid or investment from such foreigners will diminish and Africans will find themselves back to square one, used, abandoned or deserted and once again left to pick themselves up if they wish to move forward, or do nothing and continue to lag behind in the league of nations.

Hopefully, Africans will wake up to reality and imbibe the mindset that Africans have the responsibility and ability to create and work themselves out of the rot, and that help from the West should be seen for what it is – HELP. Nobody survives perpetually on help alone. The persons being helped must help themselves to take advantage of the help. An African saying goes like this – “If I help another man to get married, I cannot be expected to also help him consummate the marriage.” Many of us are familiar with the Western saying that goes like this – “Heaven helps those who help themselves.” Another African saying goes like this – “he who falls into a pit must brace himself and raise his hands up if he wishes to be lifted out of the pit.” Africans must learn to be grateful for help rather than solely dependent on it. Africans are blessed but Africans themselves have the responsibility to recognize such blessings, improve their leadership process and responsibilities, focus on the right priorities, and follow through on ideas and policies with the kind of integrity that would bring positive results. Africans can do quite a lot for themselves if they sincerely look within and embrace their true potentials.




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