For years, we in Africa continue to scratch our heads about our myriad challenges. Often, we will point to this symptom or that, as the cause of our woes. Corruption is regularly fingered, so is poor education, healthcare and many others.
But often, we forget that these are also just countable examples of the problems, and their interconnectedness is what lulls us into the shared delusion that one is the root cause of the other. Nothing could be further from the truth. Of course, one problem often dominos into another. But until we identify and address the first push, we shall continue in this vicious circular motion for good.
Usually, discourse about Africa’s challenges amount to literally recounting the problems. And for solutions, a simple conversion to Positiva is assumed prescriptive. What witless self deception?
The typical discourse goes like this:
The Challenge: Africa has a fast growing youth population that are largely unemployed
Solution: Government, with the assistance of the private sector (or vice versa), must create more jobs.
With all charity, I must say the above is just a circular way of thinking. Certainly we have no sufficient jobs, that’s why there’s increasing unemployment in the first place. Government and private sector are not only being conjured into existence, and their role of creating jobs has never been in dispute, neither are they unaware of the mounting unemployment scourge. So crying to them for more jobs can only be a desperate determination at resolving a consciously (or is it negligently?) self inflicted crisis.
I am sure by now you must be reasoning that the apposite prognosis should be how the jobs can be created? Well, that’s usually the common thinking. So we conjure up all manner of employment schemes for the youth, which end up in nothing more than mammoth money losers.
To sufficiently answer the question of unemployment and other challenges in Africa will not materialize by shouting for more jobs, or this nor that. It will come by answering in specific terms( not by generalizing) just three simple, but not so comfortable, questions:
a. Who are those in control of our major means of production and distribution?
b. What are their motivations and key objectives in the productive process?
c. By what means are those motivations and objectives preserved?
The day we develop the wo(man)hood to answer these questions with fearless honesty, Africa will know exactly how to crack this nutcase of a developmental travesty.