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« Picture of the Day: Novelist Shandie Shing Avwontom | Main | Just Published! African Nationalism in Cold War Politics by Emmanuel Konde »

Sunday, 22 January 2012

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J. S. Dinga

I am not quite prepared to stick out my neck in defence of the African intellectual but I dare offer these thoughts for reflection. Along with this fine write-up detailing the humbling experience of a concerned African with a typical armchair critic from the west, there are some very telling photographs. Why telling? It is said that a picture is worth 1000 words and I can ascertain that those pictures provide part of the answer to the problems raised by Mzee Mzungu.

The other very telling aspect that was only tangentially mentioned by the critic is what can be summarised by reading" Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" by John Perkins. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have done a lot for Africa, no doubt. But such an assessment is incomplete without also a chapter on what John Perkins has to say as an insider in that group which, for a very long time, kept a respectable distance from "governance issues" which they clearly identified and admitted as stymying the development of Africa, arbitrarily carved out like pizza slices inside a smoky European conference room some time in 1885.

In collusion with economic hitmen, Africa's strong men have dominated the show for quite some time, at the expense of strong institutions, the entity that would have given her intellectuals some modicum of hope in developing and applying some of thier ideas, no matter how modest. Yes discoveries and inventions make people great. But there is something else that can catapult people to greatness - using existing inventions and discoveries to offer service. African intellectuals could shine in this domain if their powerful strongmen did not collude with strange bed partners and Economic Hit Men of the World Bank and the IMF.


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