From time immemorial, the African continent has been a source and centre of attraction. In the flourishing days of Mansa Musa and several other African kingdoms and empires, Africa was respected because of her natural wealth. I bet many will never understand why the ‘primitive Africa’ gets to have such. The question now is if the present day Africa values wealth management.
From the soil to wildlife and tropics, to the deserts to the minerals, Africa is effortlessly blessed and endowed. Sadly, African rulers lack wealth management skills. They need to be re-acquainted with the basics of improving and sustaining the well-being of the people using these natural wealth sources.
Africa has all it takes to be the richest continent in the world. Did you know that Africa is home to most of the world’s mineral deposits? Unfortunately, there are too many foreign mining industries in Africa.
Why is Africa not investing in her natural wealth?
It’s like this, we trash/ignore our natural wealth, the western world seizes the opportunity, makes it a treasure, exploits it and then we get the wake up call. African rulers are renowned for chasing shadows. Consequently, many African nations are ravaged by poverty. This should not be so, given the tremendous wealth that we possess. If we had nothing to offer, colonialism would never had been in our history. The imperialist beyond words fancied both the human and mineral resources that we had and still have.
These days we trade these natural wealth for western favours? The government of some of the mineral rich African countries often use them as a means to salvage their economic situations through mineralization and exports of these elements. The only thing wrong with this plan is when the focus is lost. If African rulers drown themselves in these exports with no sense of wealth management, then the people will suffer. And that is a failure on their part.
Sadly, some of these exports are exchanged for the redemption of national debts; debts that would have never been incurred if there was a proper wealth management in the administration; debts that no one can accurately account for. A while ago Egyptians lashed out on their President accusing him of being too loyal to Saudi Arabia.
In his book, The Looting Machine, Author and Finance Expert Tom Burgis goes through facts to reveal why Africa is tremendously rich, yet devastated in poverty. Tom pointed out the danger of having same power figures in charge of politics and the economy. He suggests that this is an effect as well as an extension of colonialism.
“Western governments are not supposed to wield commercial and political power at the same time, and certainly not to use one to benefit the other… In colonial states…The British or Portugese would cultivate a small group of local people who would fuse political and commercial power to control the economy.”
When we have the same people in charge of state matters and wealth distribution, then there is a problem. Indirectly these people rule and run the country as personal properties. You know what they say, “absolute power corrupts absolutely”. A typical corrupt African is not the one in prison but the leader who is conveniently manipulating the wealth and administration of the country.
Leadership in Africa can be summed up in two words, political smartness. These days we hear of Teo Obiang, Angola’s Dos Santos, and many other African rulers who are guilty of kleptocracy. They exploit the free gifts of nature in their country, just for their own benefits.
What ever happened to working with what we have to get what we don’t? Africa lacks proper wealth management. That is why we expend what we do not have for the most ephemeral and selfish reasons. Past African warriors who rejected and fought against colonialism had faith in the inestimable potential of the continent.
In our time, the reverse is the case. We lack the belief that we are worth something. This mind set naturally flows from African rulers to the people. We abandoned our cash crops and minerals for the liquid Gold. Now it appears oil is not a sustainable back up plan like it used to be.
The raving idea of diversifying economies in Africa is a clean and clear evidence that there has been no form of natural wealth management prior to the global oil price decline. However when we see non-oil based billionaires like Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest, we are convinced that away from oil, Africa is replete with untapped investments.