What the artists and so many other good-intentioned groups from the G8 countries and elsewhere in the world have been trying to do with the support and help of the people for over twenty years now, is really great and should be highly appreciated. It is even greater that this time they are defining and refining their efforts by being more specific and definitive about what they are advocating for, canceling Africa and Latin America debts, increasing aid, and rewriting trade regulations to be more favorable to poor nations. Adding to what they are striving to achieve the sophisticated tuning and toning that, changing the policy of the world’s most powerful countries and not money is the goal, will earn their efforts more support and render them more credible and sustainable.
However, how the money raised and donated will be used and managed is more important than raising it. It is true that Africa will one day sort itself out and escape its lamenting gripping plight. With the help of the rest of the world that will come sooner and be better, but without a drastic change in the ways things in Africa are seen and are done by the Africans themselves that will not happen soon and maybe never will. It is not only an issue of money that is pulling Africa down and back. The continent’s ailment can be blamed on many factors and elements but most salient, compelling and harmful among them at the present time are the mismanagement practiced by most of the African leaders and the deliberate marginalization of the African people, masses and elites. To dig itself out of the quick sands and swamps of misery, Africa needs envisioned devoted leaders and not the less than the ordinary rulers who have been screwing up its affairs since the dawn of independence of its member states. All forms of financial aid and technical assistance from abroad, though badly needed, will not be helpful if not coupled by genuine will from inside and serious sweating, sacrificing and toiling to grow, rise to the challenges and change. Africans need to learn how to prioritize, identify their major issues and focus on what will bring about real change. Instead of continuing the ill practice and wont of receiving more fish from the world, they should concentrate and insist on learning how to fish, eat what they catch, save some, and sell the surplus for a fair price. Good governance, reform, democracy, human rights, empowering civil societies and solving conflicts are all issues that should receive more attention from the African people and leaders as well as their global friends and supporters. Without addressing these issues Africa will continue to be that burden and riddle and a black hole that swallows more money, efforts and good intentions. Who need to be rocked are the African leaders and people as well and not only those of the G8. Africa is a very rich and resourceful continent in which the other creatures that share it with us survive and thrive. We, the humans, should know and do better. We should help others help us to be very soon in no need of any help.
Elfadil Ihaimir/ Ottawa