by Jacqueline Sewornu, Sharon Kpare and Kwaku Osei-Ameyaw
Africa can be described as the Promised Land flowing with milk and honey in the Bible. Africa is a continent that abounds in resources from oil, to minerals such as gold, diamond, uranium, bauxite, ivory, to food crops such as cocoa, beans, pineapples, bananas, cashew just to name a few.
Yet, Africa is like the Midas Touch. Midas was a mythical King, very rich and powerful who as a reward for his kindness wished for everything he touched to be turned to gold. His greedy wish him took little time to destroy him till he was rescued from his misery.Africa is like King Midas in many different ways.
Africa is like King Midas, blessed with diverse resources yet plagued with greedy, corrupt politicians, leaders and mismanaged institutions that abuse, misuse, mismanage and embezzle revenues and partnerships the continent earns from the use of these resources. This has crippled development across the different countries in the continent in many different ways.
Africa is like King Midas whose citizens believe the discovery of resources such as oil is source of hope, hope for a better future, one without “dumsor”, schools under trees, one with better roads and institutions, the list is endless. Unfortunately that future is not as bright.
Africa is like King Midas who did not benefit personally from his gift. Unfortunately, no African country has benefited significantly from these natural resources. For the most part, the negative consequences have always outweighed and outnumbered the good. You cannot begin to imagine the bad that the discovery of oil in Africa has done to its citizens. Nigeria for instance after discovering oil in the 1950’s, has been recording a steadily slow development rate since then.
For 21 good years in Sudan, innocent citizens were killed, injured, women were raped as part of the dispute that arose over which side owns the massive oil fields that lay between the north and the south. Clearly the discovery of natural resources like oil, are not benefitting most African countries. Yet, oil rich country like Norway has been able to manage this resource so well to eliminate the curse that comes along with it. If Norway has done it, what stops our beloved African countries from doing same? What are the Norwegians doing differently and why haven’t we tried it too? What are the African leaders doing wrong?
Africa is like King Midas, with most of its leaders being rich and powerful but greedy and corrupt as well. Their corrupted souls keeps them in the hands of multinational companies and developed countries. They loosen policies and sell what rightfully belongs to the citizens of the country as though it were their own and for what, so that they can further enrich their already fattened selves and their families forgetting the tax payer to whom they promised good roads, hospitals, schools building, among others.
Africa is like King Midas, “rescued” from its miseries by what has been its “god” since it existed, the west, who “relieve” us of our pain.