Dear Excellencies Cyril Ramaphosa, Chairperson of AU, and Moussa Faki Mahamat, Commissioner of AU,
I extend my greetings and well wishes from my small lockdown abode to you, H.E Cyril Ramaphosa and H.E Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson and Commissioner of the AU, respectively, and all the other commissioners, the member states and people of our beloved continent, Africa.
Indeed, we are not in normal times, as COVID-19 is keeping us indoors, and busily rearranging the ecosystem.
My letter is inked in English, a language bestowed to us by the ‘colonial masters’ of the Gold Coast, now Ghana, where I come from. I would have been happy to pen this letter in Swahili, or any other language widely spoken on the continent, but it is unfortunate, that I can’t speak nor write in any other language unique to Africa. So, please, pardon the little grammar inked in this letter, because I am not a native of the Queen’s language.
The intent of this letter are four (4) basic but difficult to do list on the continent of Africa.
You will agree with me on the score that the continent will be much hit with economic repercussions compared with other continents, though the death impact of COVID-19 is low on the continent.
I and other colleagues strongly believe that COVID-19 is a 'blessing in disguise' to the continent. This will be explained soon, your Excellencies.
- The continent of Africa is widely known for her resources, however, and on a sad note, the poorest in economic strength. The Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, I don’t know how democratic the country is though, is believed to have more resources than a continent like Europe (this may be an exaggeration, but the import is a fact). But the DRC, is worst in economic strength than one could think for such a country. I am not happy saying this, your Excellencies. And, I believe you are not happy as well. What can we do to emerge from this quandary?
- We need to introduce practical and hands-on education to equip our human resources on the continent in order to put these material resources into good use. The grammar education on the continent isn’t helping your Excellencies. You will agree with me that, the oil sector of our continent is usually run by expatriates, and not the indigenes. Funny enough, we have universities graduating Engineers in thousands, each year on the continent. Mr. Commissioner, please, mandate your commissioners in charge of Education, Human resources, Science and Technology to coordinate a practical oriented education policy amongst all member states. If possible, an African body must be established to certify every professional on the continent, so that, we can share resources easily for speedy results.
- Resourcing research on the continent is in ‘tears’. More than half of the research funds come from donor partners. This is very unfortunate. Donor partners will only invest funds in the areas interested to them, though helpful, we can’t continue relying on them. As other continents are collating resources to find a vaccine and treatment therapy for COVID-19, look at how we as a people are struggling to implement lockdown measures, because of accumulated effects of long term failure to properly plan the continent. Ghanaian researcher, yesterday, lunched a COVID-19 IgM/IgG test kit, solely produced in Ghana. Researchers in Rwanda, Kenya, South Africa and other countries on the continent are, for the first time, coming out to produce ventilators; the AU should be able to coordinate resources to help them. YES, WE CAN! As said by our brother, Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States of America.
- Youth development on the continent should be taken serious. It is a fact that you have policies on paper for the youth. However, many of my age mates will attest that we are not seeing any impact. Before you can SILENCE THE GUNS as you hope to achieve in this year, 2020, youth development is a non-negotiable thing to consider. The devil finds job for the idle mind-I believe this is familiar to you. Engage the youth and develop them for the future. Unfortunately, most youth developments programmes are a conduit to steal money on the continent. This leads me to my final point, CORRUPTION.
- On corruption, I share the thoughts of Prof. P.L.O Lumumba, ‘If you want to fight corruption in Africa, you must be ready to die.’ Corruption is gradually becoming a way of life on the continent. The member states have abstract offices for corruption prosecutors, but ask, why are we not seeing the impact of these offices? The answer is that, NO ONE IS READY TO DIE. Until we all agree to help the continent get rid of the criminals milking us, we are not going anywhere. We want luxury but lazy to put our minds into good use. Only lazy people will steal. Let us work up from slumber and fight this canker. A court if not already in place, should be established to deal with special thieves on the continent who are milking us. Member states seem to be resting on the corruption fight.
It's painful to note that countries such as Germany and USA are sending signals of bill cheques to China, for their alleged negligence on the COVID-19 pandemic. Please, can Africa equally do same? Well, our elders put it rightly, ' if you have your fingers in the mouth of a man, you can't hit his head'. We are rather seeking debt relief plan. We can equally lift the continent to a state where we can give money out to others, if we focus on the above points, earlier submitted.
Once again, I extend my warmest felicitations to your august body, the AU.
Haruna Gado Yakubu Kagame,
A concern youth of Africa