The 21st century has been touted as the century in which the continent of Africa is expected to register resounding and tangible growth in several facets which include the political aspect, social aspect and most importantly the economic aspect. The progress of Africa, in general, depends on how well growth and development of these various aspects will be stimulated and sustained effectively in order to register substantive development in the continent. In moving Africa forward, there is need to re-visit the opportunities available in the continent, review the present challenges and the available and/ or possible threats.
Africa is undoubtedly well-endowed with natural resources. These resources range from the wildlife comprising of the varied species of the flora and fauna, the different types of minerals, agricultural land among several others. The various African governments have always talked and continue to do so about the diversity of the natural resources that are available. Little, however, has been done to ensure that utility is derived from such resources.
It is also worthy to note that as a continent we have not maximized the cultural diversity that is visible from north to south and east to the west of Africa. Instead, most Africans have used the cultural diversity to fuel negative thoughts, beliefs and attitudes and this has created a negative base that has propagated divisions and animosity among the African people. A good example of this is the negative ethnicity that is common among many African nations and states.
All the problems and challenges that eclipse Africa at the present moment are as a result of either having wrong institutions or weak institutions in place. There is urgent need to review the existing institutions and either phase them out or to strengthen them in order to establish institutions that are strategic. The various problems and challenges that we experience as a continent are varied and they range from famine, hunger, diseases, negative ethnicity, poor governance, poor infrastructure and many others.
In as much as significant progress has been achieved in promotion of good governance in Africa, it is certain that more needs to be done if at all we are to realize the renaissance of our beloved continent. It therefore the responsibility of every citizen to fully aware of the principles of good governance. But awareness will not aid much if such principles are not upheld and put into practice by the leaders and the led in general. The principles of good governance include:
· Public participation especially in decision-making.
· Application of the rule of law.
· Transparency in governance processes and institutions.
· Responsiveness whereby the existing institutions are supposed to serve people within a reasonable timeframe.
· Consensus orientation.
· Effectiveness and efficiency in realization of results by the institutions.
· A strategic vision on promotion of good governance and human development.
The application of the above principles in the existing institutions and processes would act as a springboard towards pushing Africa into following a growth and development trajectory that is efficient as well as effective.
It is imperative that in moving Africa forward, the governments need to hugely invest in both physical and social infrastructure. We need to have very good roads, airports that are well constructed, efficient sea ports, electricity generation and distribution that is good, proper built and well equipped health facilities, a reliable education sector among others. Infrastructure is the most fundamental aspect towards the realization of notable development. The African governments should be aware that failing to heavily invest in infrastructure is failing to spur growth and development.
Cases of famine and hunger simply imply that we are still faced with the challenge of food insecurity. A country that cannot adequately feed its people cannot effectively develop. It is high time most of the rigid governments to allow the Genetically Modified Crops which mature within a short span of time and which can be specifically engineered to suit the climatic conditions of Africa. Assurance of food security will help to cut off the reliance on food aid which has often times jeopardized the running of the affairs of most African governments.
Nevertheless, terrorist groups in some parts of Africa are a major hindrance in realization of notable development. In West Africa, especially in Nigeria and now Cameroon, the Boko Haram threat is evident. In the Horn of Africa, the Al Shabaab threat is still present. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the dangers posed by the several rebel groups can clearly be seen. To move Africa forward such groups need to be decapitated to allow for normalcy and stability to set in. a continental comprehensive security approach ought to be put in place to address the security threats occasioned by the terrorist and rebel groups.
In conclusion, the bottlenecks that are limiting Africa to consistently move forward are basically poor governance, security threats, low infrastructural investments and food insecurity. The time that efforts will be synergized and all aspects systematized to deal with the aforementioned challenges then positive progress will be inevitable. To move Africa forward, understanding the problems and the challenges from within is very crucial so as to institutionalize effective mitigation measures.