The American people are strong and resilient, and they would emerge from their hardships more determined than ever, echoed President Donald Trump at his maiden United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) held in his home city New York. The American President was at it again, calling the shots and threatening the enemies of the United State and its allies.
However, bellicose or undiplomatic the speech is said to have been, the wavelength however describes the difficult and perilous times the world faces. There was little to celebrate about within the 41minute speech of the president, as challenges capable of drowning the world took the main stage, not in Mr Trump’s speech alone but also across speeches made by other head of states. Hardly were there any head of state, present at the conference that wasn’t going through both internal and external headaches.
So, as world leaders congregated in New York, looking to forge a united front in tackling both individual states and global challenges, Mr Trump rumble was the catalysts that joggled them to reality. In his remarks, he said “The success of the United Nations depends upon the independent strength of its members. To overcome the perils of the present, and to achieve the promise of the future, we must begin with the wisdom of the past. Our success depends on a coalition of strong and independent nations that embrace their sovereignty, to promote security, prosperity and peace, for themselves and the world”. Quite plainly, the inference is ‘every man to himself’.
This challenge signifies the end to nations depending on other wealthier nations to survive. The look for survival according to Mr Trump is inward, with nations pursuing their prosperity first before giving to the world. This rhetoric by the President of the United States isn’t a one to be easily brushed aside. The world is going through so much strain, with western nations drowning from the unprecedented throes of migrants from war torn and economically collapsed nations. This statement is quite expedient and imperative for leaders especially African leaders to take note of. The era of lazy, incompetent leadership is over. An era where governments steal their nation’s money, only to throng to the west in search of hand outs, further submerging their nations in debts seems over.
As a region, Africa accounts for 20 percent of U.S. aid, with Egypt, Kenya and South Sudan being the biggest beneficiaries. African countries have been recipients of foreign assistances since the beginning of their independence. This inevitably has led to a culture of dependency. The prerogative is therefore for African governments to take this challenge as an opportunity to implement policies that will create the enabling environment to build prosperity in Africa. Improved democratic institutions, reduced corruption, redefined priorities, regional integration and job creation is the imperative now.
Taking the Trump rhetoric, is it a blessing or a curse to Africa? The answer is well in our reactions to it. With a continent of 200 million middle aged between 15 and 24 (doubling by 2045 according to African Development Bank), the human capital is endless, plus her vast natural resources. As Trump continues to pursue policies promoting American interest first, the onus is on Africa to reboot her local economies, attract foreign investments, negotiate technology transfer and encourage private sector growth and competitiveness. The way forward is trade not aid for Africa.
Whether the West or Trump supports Africa or not, it is important that Africa knows that her future is in her hands. Africa must move from the realm of just having the potentials to that of realistically transforming those potentials and resources to the benefit of her. It is a blessing in my opinion.
News Editor at Core Magazine
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