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Opinion / Columnist

Uncle Sam cannot afford to ignore Sadc's voice

03 Nov 2019 at 06:30hrs | Views
On Friday, October 25, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) made it clear to Washington and Brussels that the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe two decades ago must go without any further delay.

However, if there was anyone who doubted the power of a collective voice on issues that concern us as Africans, then the behaviour of US Ambassador  Mr Brian Nichols — the official representative of the world's superpower — surely settled any such doubts.

Frankly speaking, Empire never at any time envisaged SADC standing up to its bullyboy tactics and unequivocally calling for the lifting of economic sanctions on Zimbabwe.

We need to stand together as Africans and only then can the world pay attention.

We need to continue rebuffing naysayers who feed the Western narrative of a doomed Africa.

While some of us are positive about the future of Africa, others would want to continue regurgitating the debilitating narrative of a continent bedevilled by a litany of problems, ranging from wars to drought, famine, corruption and beggarliness.

It is sad that some in Zimbabwe have taken it as their pastime to project the country negatively on every platform.

Many will remember how in May 2000, The Economist magazine splashed on its front cover a story stereotypically titled "The Hopeless Continent".

This story was buttressed by Eurocentric scholars like Lester Thurow, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), who in his book, "Creating Wealth: The New Rules for Individuals, Companies and Countries in a Knowledge-Based Economy", describes Africa as an "economic desert".

Thurow is not alone.

In an article published not so long ago in the New Statesmen and Society, Victoria Brittain painted a negative image of the continent in an article titled "Africa, the lost continent".

Notice how these pervasive narratives dominate social media platforms that have become the source of knowledge for the continent's younger generation.

Note also the language used by Mr Nichols which paints a picture of a doomed Zimbabwe.

Sad to say that an offspring of former slaves, whom the world expects to be conscious of history, feels no moral obligation and duty to reconstruct the sordid historical negative depiction of an Africa that begot his ancestors.

Why on earth does one whose ancestors were victims of Western devilish mercantile enterprise of slavery feel obliged, in the 21st century, to pander to the same sordid narratives that continue to image people of African descent as beings of a lesser God?

Pronouncements by prophets of doom dominate the discourse in the media today, with some even saying that if Africa was to fall off the face of the earth, nobody would notice.

If one had to go by all these negative pronouncements, some less perceptive individuals would find it easy to write off Africa as incapable of growth and development.

And yet as Africans, born and bred on the continent, we ought to know better than these casual tourists' impressions.

While it is true that Africa has its share of problems — typical of any developing region — it is disingenuous for one to continue making sweeping generalisations and off-the cuff statements based on a few incidents.

One needs not emphasise the effect of such negative portrayal on the psyche of Africans, on foreign direct investment (FDI) and on the continent's efforts to economically develop and empower its citizens.

What is of major concern to some of us is that the continued negative depiction of the continent will psychologically leave an indelible mark on impressionable minds that will internalise the idea that indeed the continent is "the wretched of the earth".

As highlighted by Professor David Abdulai in an article published in Mammo Muchie's edited book, "The Making of the Africa-Nation — Pan-Africanism and the African Renaissance", the continuous negative portrayal of Africans "could become a self-fulling prophecy, dampening their enthusiasm and self-esteem."

Frankly speaking, it is up to us to change this negative narrative for it has a devastating effect on capital inflows to the continent.

A good example is that outflows from developed countries since 1995 show that US$90 billion in FDI has gone to developing countries like China, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina.

All in all, 52 percent of all FDI go to East Asia, 29 percent go to the whole of sub-Saharan Africa.

What has contributed to this trickle in FDI to Africa has been the continued negative portrayal of Africa as unstable, violent and a corrupt environment, have contributed to less capital flows to the region.

What is most pertinent is for Africans to realise that more can be achieved if they do away with petty squabbles and myopic thinking. We need not pander to the whims of our erstwhile colonisers. No one is going to project a positive image of us than ourselves.

Source - sundaymail
All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24's community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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