A Reflection Journal on the following entries on Africa
The emergence of the African State
I think colonialism of Africa played a big role in the transformation of Africa into modern states of governance. My sentiments are shared by Ayttey (2002) who argues that sovereignty defines the modern African state in the world. Although African countries still struggle with issues of western influence in terms of policies adopted and the running of various activities, the countries are in constant tussle to remain autonomous and self-ruling. In short they try to cut the link between the maternal loins of the colonial masters. However Poverty and undeveloped systems of governance, coupled with political malfunctioning continue to be a major hindrance in the overall development. Despite all these, the African state is undergoing major transformations with developed strategies in the political, economic and social arena (Blommestein & Horman, 2007).
Corruption, Kleptocracy and Big Man Rule
I think corruption is that act which deviates from the formal rules of conduct governing the actions of someone in a position of public authority. In my view it’s the root cause of the economic and political wrangles affecting most of African countries. The blatant disregard to the rule of law and political jingoism and cronyism are some of the problems caused by corruption.
It leads to crippled service delivery and hampers development in the entire continent. Lawal and Tobi (2001) note that though the effects of corruption are more felt in the short term in the economic platform, the effects are much worse in terms of long term consideration. Funds intended for developmental purposes are diverted to other things due to corruption. Services and products of engineering developmental projects are also incarcerated due to the same problems; therefore I think corruption cuts across the social, economic and political levels of African states.
Ethnicity and Ethnic conflict in Africa
My perception of Africa is of a highly ethnic society. I think this is attributed to the many ethnic groups residing in the continent, and diversity in cultures of the different ethnic groups. The politics in the countries of Africa are shaped by the numbers of the people and the ethic inclinations where the greater the ethic group the greater the chances of political hold in the country (Deng, 1997). Here elections are held and determined by the number of people who vote; therefore the small communities are more disadvantaged as compared to the larger communities who occupy bigger positions and the majority in the government. Therefore politics is directly affected by the number of people in ethnic groups or conglomerations. Ethnic feuds are common in Africa, and add to the plunder in the African politics. Therefore, it is something that has really affected the development of Africa.
Armed conflict, Security and political economy of violence in African Conflicts
Greed and Grievances in African Conflict?
Africa in my perception is blurred by these factors which have caused the problems affecting it in terms of hindering the prevalence of good political will (Otite, 2000). There have cases of reported armed groups and political conglomerations of illegal groups which in advertently are organized by the members in tussle of power. To me greed has been equally manifested in the overall running for political office, where members are in tussle to compete for material gain at the expense of service delivery to the country. Death and political killing for convenience have often been fueled by greed and corruption. This therefore has led to blatant disregard to the rule of law and gross violation of human rights. I think all these account for the poor state and the political jingoism experienced in most African states.
Failed state, Intervention and State-building in Africa
Crumbling of the society’s political and economic strongholds has made the international community set in to try and rectify the situation. The most vocal one, though it has not been so effective in arresting the law breakers is the ICC (International Criminal Court) based in The Hague. The international community has been on the forefront in assisting in the negotiations of power sharing and conflict resolution in the region through various mechanisms and at some instances involving in powerful removal of poor governors in the African states. I think the international community should therefore continue to aid the failed states of Africa which cannot put in place mechanisms to end the human injustices that continue to rock them. However, I think it should be done carefully to avoid eating into the sovereignty of the independent states (Wunsch & Olowu, 1990).
Regional Structure and Pan-Africanism
Problems experienced by the continent are diverse and unrelated because of ethnicity (Gnaka, 2009). While the thought of uniting Africa into a single state as envisioned by the late Muamar Gadhafi is good, I think the atrocities of embarking in such a program should not be ignored. This means that the national cohesion experience in some stable African states may be interfered with leading to poor performances and an overall disintegration in the systems of governance.
The continent is still young in resource harnessing and in systems of governance unrelated (Gnaka, 2009).This therefore poses another problem whether the usual greed, cat and mouse politics, witch-hunting and strategic positioning in the search for political niches by communities of influence will not manifest their ugly heads in the new partnerships. However it is a good thought worth trying because it will have more economic good to the African states than when left to grapple on their own autonomous nationalities.
What is the correct way to develop African States?
My view here is that African states should be developed through approaches as expostulated by (Gnaka, 2009).I think this is by harnessing the economic powerhouse of the continent into a resource that should be utilized by all states. This develops from the effects witnessed from multinational companies that extract the African resources and remit the benefits to their countries leaving the continent deprived of its economic potentials. Education should also play a big role in eliminating poverty and eliminating ignorance among the folk.
Mechanisms should be put in place to ensure that everything is done in accordance to the rule of law and good governance structures put in place. I think this will mean that a thorough repositioning and cultural outlook is taken in the overall running of the leadership in the countries. A reappraisal of the situation right from the ground level to the top-most level of governance for credible change should therefore be effected.
What role does Africa play in International Relation?
I think Africa has good international relations with countries in the west and the rest of the world. The International community has been in the forefront in aid by offering development grants and investing in the developing economies of Africa (Ayttey, 2002). This augurs well with Africa as they are able to cope up with the global demands and industrialization through aided mechanisms. As Blommestein and Horman (2007) shares in my thought, I think Japan and China are investing heavily in Africa in a more spirited approach than the western countries who in the recent past have heaped large debts on the African states.
In my view structural re-adjustment has overseen development of fresh partnerships with different countries leading to better and increase in global partnership for development projects. Despite all these large debts owed to the European and western countries continue to affect the countries in Africa thus inhibiting the development potential envisioned by the countries.
Ayttey George, 2002. “Biting Their Own Tails: African Leaders and the internalist intricacies - of the Rape of a Continent”. A Keynote Address to SORAC, Nov. 7 9, 2002 - New Jersey
Blommestein, H., & Horman, G., 2007. Government debt management and bond markets in Africa. OECD Journal. Financial Market Trends, (92), 217-244. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/224601121?accountid=45049
Bruce J., 1998. “Ethnicity; Patronage and the Politics of Uncivil Nationalism.” African Affairs. Vol. 97, No 388, July 1998.
Deng, M., 1997 “Ethnicity: An African Predicament." The Brookings Institution, at http://www.brookings.edu/articles/1997/summer_africa_deng.aspx
Gnaka, G. L., 2009. Discourse on regional economic integration: Towards a theory of Pan African authentic development, Howard University), ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, n/a. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/304894970?accountid=45049
Lawal, O.O. &A.A. Tobi, 2001. “Bureaucratic Corruption, Good Governance and Development: The Challenges and prospects of institution Building in Nigeria”. A paper presented at the IPSA RC4 mid-term International conference at Abuja, Nigeria.
Otite, O., 2000. “Corruption against the Norms of African life” in O. Femi (ed.) “Effective and efficient Implementation of Nigeria’s Recent Anti-corruption legislation
Wunsch, J.S. & D. Olowu eds., 1990. The Failure of the Centralized African State: Institution and Self Governance in Africa Boulder Colorado, West view Press