Change your Mind set on Africa, West told

Proposed Konza techno city in Kenya:
 There's room for all

THE  WESTERN mind set, say commentators on the previous essay , is predatory, while China’s model is collaborative. In fact one  saw China as the latest “Colonial Power in Africa,” arguing that China is building infrastructure for its own good- “to take all the wealth of Africa to China,” argued Archie McLachlan .

 However, McLachan also agrees that the western business model is predatory, a position supported by Dr. Jerome Terhemba Andohol.  This debate sent me back to essays I have written on Afro-Western economic links. The point is Africa is looking for development and trade partners -not masters. The West being the former Colonial masters, view Africa as a colony still. Consequently, they prefer to give Africa what they want not what the continent needs.

Research has demonstrated that the West does not understand Africa. Mention Africa in the West and images of starving Children in war or drought ravaged populations.  In 2010 for instance, the global accounting firm Ernst and Young published its report dubbed Africa attractiveness 2011. The firm found that   a majority of investors in the west are pessimistic about Africa. 

Proposed Turkana resort city: Any takers?
Says the study, only 38 per cent of respondents in North America and 45 per cent in Europe see any prospect for Africa soon.  In contrast, 74 per cent of respondents in the Emerging Markets and 66 per cent in Asia saw better prospects in Africa. The study concluded “that Africa is on an upward trajectory economically, politically and socially.” Read

This turn of fortunes has placed heavy demands on Africa governments to provide services to a discerning population. Owing to past lethargy, Africa suffers an investment backlog in almost every sector of the economy. Therefore demand for investment in both Physical and social infrastructure is beyond the means available to the governments.

Hence they look for foreign partners. But the continent has no time for laggards because they need the infrastructure like yesterday.  That is why China has penetrated African quickly because it provided the needed Investment in roads, Railway lines, Airports, Sea Ports and electricity generation plants. She does not delay neither does she question Africa’s wisdom in identifying the project or its design. These are determined by Africa’s needs.

 But the west, which still looks at Africa as self-ruling colonies would poke her nose into such areas which must obey the whims of its master. And Africa has responded by diversifying her portfolio of development and trade partners. And since she was not trading to benefit others, things have to be done on her terms.
If it asks for a 1,000MW hydro power dam, that is what it needs and that is what it must get or shop elsewhere. This is how the west has lost Africa. It wants exclusivity Africa wants competition.

To the credit of the west some, including intellectuals, media houses and the private sector have woken up to this reality and are preparing to enter the market. In fact some have openly stated that the growth in Europe will come from its business activity in Africa. Read

Africa is still growing. In fact all indications are that Africa could be the fastest growing region in the next five years posting annual growth rates above 5 per cent. Much of this growth is internally generated which is why the continent is not adversely affected by crises in the west.

Proposed Dar-Chalinze highway in Tanzania:
European contractors salivating over it
For instance, between 2000 and 2008, around a quarter of Africa’s growth came from higher revenues from natural resources.  The other three quarters were internally generated by the growth of local enterprises which reduced profit repatriation.
 This growth of highly profitable local enterprises, spread across all sectors, which boosted employment, tax revenue collection and domestic investment as they invested in further growth. This saw per Capita domestic revenue collection rise to $441 compared to development which shrunk to US$41 per Capita. Consequently, implementation of development programs in Africa became feasible and certain, feeding further growth.

To sum up, Africa has room for investors from any part of the world including the west provided the deals are quickly sealed and implemented to serve developmental needs. Two, Africa will only deal in mutually beneficial partnerships. That is why western explorers and drillers dominated the Oil and Gas exploration sectors and there are signs that they will benefit immensely as Africa also gains.

This means that predatory practises as is common in the west will be shunned. So what do we say?  To the west acquire a new attitude to compete for business in Africa and you are welcome.e


  1. What is the nature of Infrastructure projects? concessions or equity partnerships, whichever the case it is a step forward from aid funded projects. In extraction industries like mining and oil China needs to do more than extract and export, it needs to build capacity to process the finished product on the continent. It could be a case of neo sino colonialism,we have the expertise to engineer whatever products they need from our natural resources.

  2. Thanks. For yoiur comment although you did not identify yourself. However, these the type of projects that are hot in Africa to day; roads, railways, Sea Ports; oil Pipelines, oil refineries, Airports, Power generation plants, water supplies, and specialised cities such as Konza Techno city. The risk of neo-colonialism is very limited especially in East Africa. These projects are build by contractors from different countries. For instance Konza city employs contractors from, China, US, Europe , Africa, East Asia and even Kenya according to their competencies. In fact, in Kenya, competency, speed and costs.
    The oil and gas sector in east Africa is dominated by European companies such Tullow oil and others. Infrastructure such as roads is dominated by Chinese Contractors while, a japanese company has bid for the construction of oil Pipeline nand the refinery on the L:apsset corridor.

  3. That is good Musyoka. (From the article's title)
    I believe, it is we who must first and for most, i.e. before the westerners and the westernized Africans, who must change their minds too.
    I don't believe in the west and the westernized Africans to change their minds, only their tactics that they might change.

    1. Thanks Wali. Actually African have already changed their minds. That is why the Chinese are a headache to the West.It is the West that is yet to accept that Africa is asserting itself and getting things done their way. True there are westernized Africans but these are also an endangered species.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

AfCTA: Time for action, less talk

Construction of Tanzania’s” bridge over the sea” begins

Kenya's SGR Loan: The Former Controller and Auditor General Lied