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Are we really not “shithole” continent?

Last week the United States of America (USA) President Donald Trump caused uproar after he allegedly called African nations and others “shithole” countries.

Typical of Botswana Government, it reacted by summoning the US Ambassador to Botswana, Earl Miller to express displeasure at the alleged utterance made by their cantankerous President during a meeting with a bipartisan group of lawmakers at the White House last week Thursday.

The enraged Khama administration also had a fifteen minutes of fame around the world thanks to major international television stations and news agencies who publicised the statement calling on other nations to condemn Trump’s “highly irresponsible, reprehensible and racist” remarks.

Trump’s reckless and racist utterance has provoked the debate whether or not Africa is indeed a “shithole” continent. There are Africans who unequivocally agree with Trump. They argued that despite Africa being rich in minerals, the continent has failed to produce anything. Despite our mineral wealth we are still the basket case of the world.

In fact we continue to kill each other and some of our people end up fighting for living wage in America. Africa is the richest continent but our people are still in “shithole”. The continent has sent its citizens to Europe and USA for education but our graduates are failing to invent anything unlike their Western counterparts.

Those who were provoked by Trump’s statement submit that Africa is poor because of institutionalised theft perpetrated by the West and the US for centuries. Even today, they reason, the Western countries continue to exploit African

resources for the benefit of their advanced nations. Some cited former French colonies, which continue to pay colonial tax to France 50 years after their independence. They argue that this system is an abomination destined to keep African countries poor forever.

They cited the case of Sékou Touré of Guinea who in 1958 decided to get out of French colonial empire, and opted for the country’s independence. This move infuriated the colonial master and in response the French administration in Guinea destroyed everything in the country, which represented what they called the benefits from French colonisation.

The barbaric French response sent chill down the spine of other African leaders not to mess up with France again. It is also argued that the Western countries that do not want to lose their grip in the African continent influence some of the tribal wars in Africa. Africa is a “shithole” continent because of historical injustice, the anti Western proponents argue.

Both sides in this debate have a point but it is high time that Africa starts taking itself seriously. We agree that if African countries commit themselves to good governance, anti-corruption and democracy the continent has a potential to become a beacon of hope for the humanity. May be the likes of Trump will stop insulting us.

Today’s thought

“Without Africa, France will have no history in the 21st century.”

 - François Mitterand




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