Born and raised in the fast developing, urbanized communities of Addis Ababa. I identify myself as "Arada"- a rather infamous name still used to refer to the mixed tribe residents born in the capital. I grew up listening to the remarkable stories of the Axumites who built numerous monuments, palaces, temples and have left a mark as an inspiring civilization in Ethiopia's war ridden history. Like most Africans, my idols have been the likes of Kwame Nkrumah and Nelson Mandela. Most Africans are frustrated by the mainstream media's exposition of the impoverished and war-ravaged Africa. Violence is not a rarity; just look at neighboring country Somalia. which faces a chronic insurgency in its official capital, Mogadishu. Turbulence, chaos and failing control in the country's regions is no news to those who understand the instability of Africa. However, and this is a strong however, there is a lot more that Africa has to offer that has not been presented to the rest of the world. Yes, we have our problems and plenty of them. There are numerous aspects of our problems that people should know about, yet little effort has been made by western reporters to closely monitor and understand what this intertwined deadlock of poverty and war is all about.
I am a Global Studies and Business double major, and to tell the truth, anything negative said about Africa just gives me the chills. Not to exaggerate further, but my ears have somewhat developed a high frequency to detecting the word A-F-R-1-C-A. simply because anything African interests me and always propels me to new heights. I am part of the executive committee for Invisible Children United and Hip Hop Summit It has been a good experience challenging me to utilize my leadership skills and inform others of the insurmountable work that is yet to be done. If we are ever to leave behind our intricate problems of poverty, unemployment, ethnic violence and so forth it must start inside our classrooms.
It was in a class discussion about the Grameen National Bank that I start-ed thinking a Jot about how the idea of this bank can be implemented in African countries where our gross domestic product ha" remained unimpressive. It has been my philosophy that positivism is the best route where hope seems nonexistent. Personally, I see no reason why Kenya, Ethiopia or Sudan cannot open banks that use micro loans to help the poor or why we cannot enforce Millennium Village projects by helping teach the extremely poor how to navigate their way out of poverty. If we can trust people's capacities, encourage learning and innovation while maintaining transparency and openness we can perform at the highest level. This can be done by way of improving the socioeconomic conditions of the poor, but also by providing them financial resources.
I am passionate about two primary issues, namely foreign aid and education. So one might ask, what about foreign aid? There has hardly been any monitoring of aid to guarantee it was deployed effectively. In most cases, the money that was not immediately banked was used to provide cash to buy big houses for the ministers. Moreover, part of this foreign aid has also been used to pay the soldiers who kept the elite politicians in power while ravaging the rest of the country. The second problem is education. Gender inequality, tribal clashes and tyrants are all the result of lack of access to quality education. A quick visit to the BBC official website and the headlines read: .. Kenya's dubious election kills hundreds," "Militant attacks in the Niger Delta have been reported," "An attack plan on the Chad capital by rebels was resisted by the government army," and on it goes. So where are we going from here?
In a higher educational facility like Concordia we should dare to ask and talk about success stories from panelists and individuals who try to make a difference in their small way or through involvement with NGO type organizations, and that is what we have come to call PanAfricanism. I will personally be interested to know how much has been done to learn about globalization and its influence on Africa, South America and other developing countries. Given the emphasis on BREW and influencing the affairs of the world, we should challenge our professors to facilitate discussions about self-sustainability, economic growth and green investments that can be further implemented by individuals, a.k.a. all Cobbers. The African success stories ultimately depend on sustained attention by the international community, coupled with local support, and fortuitous circumstances. Of course, such insights are mere theoretic plans, not a generic recipe for success. At any rate if the answer to the question of why Africa has remained poor was so easily answered, all problems could have been solved a long time ago. Unfortunately that has not happened so we keep keeping on.
Africa is not the Dark Continent, but the darkened and plundered. Amidst all these problems we have not given up; we have come back smiling and singing songs of joy for the betterment of our beautiful continent. Africa is full of potential as well as understanding people who deserve so much more than what they are getting now. I call on ICA, African Student Union and the Concordia community 10 do whatever is in their power to create opportunities and facilitate practical conversations that can enhance our understanding of what can generate Africa's salvation. On one hand, I believe that it might be necessary to devise a form of
neo-imperialism, in which the west can recruit good local leaders with a vision to promote democracy. On the other hand, we should understand that the rebirth of Africa can only exist once we have understood our historical position in relation to the colonization era and globalization. Or, it may be a balance of the former and the latter ideas. Like all development solution possibilities, the development tied with PanAfricanism must start from within; it should be based on self-sustainability with a focus on ending extreme poverty and deplorable living conditions.
Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity. - Horace Mann