25 December 2012

Cameroon: Rethinking Africa's Development

Africa, it is generally agreed, has not made the expected progress in development, 50 years after independence. The continent's development is therefore the responsibility of its people. For, no one from outside can develop Africa as there are no 'free lunches.'

A recent work titled "Two Cents For Africa" by Beatrice Fri Bime, published by Miraclaire Publishers, Kansas City, USA, was launched at the Yaounde Hilton Hotel on December 11, 2012. The nine-chapter, 174-page book prefaced by Christopher Che of Che International Group, is of the view that Africa needs a mental revolution to attain even half of the continent's development potential. This, Fri Bime argues, can be done by going back to the drawing board, revisiting some historical facts and using them to design Africa's path to development. Else, before they know it, someone would have acquired the title deed to the continent at a paltry sum of Two Cents!

Reviewing the book at the launch, Prof. Fongod Sikod, an economist from the University of Yaounde II, Soa highlighted the fact that Africa has not made it in the last 50 years, citing examples from the author's personal life and Cameroon. He said aid to the continent is often a little of the much resources taken away by others. Prof. Sikod admitted that the right educational policies, skills, knowledge and infrastructure were critical in ensuring commensurate development.

The reviewer agreed with the author that there was disconnect between visionary, founding African leaders and today's leadership. Unlike Fri Bime, he said there is some good in migration as Africans working outside of the continent often send remittances to help develop their countries. The university don therefore called for more intra-African trade to help jump start development, adding that the role of the private sector could not be underestimated. Agreeing with the author, Prof. Fongod Sikod said it was time for Africa to sit up and ensure its development. For, waiting for another 50 years might prove fatal - with the risk of being 'acquired' at token cost.

Responding to the review, Mrs. Fri Bime, a consultant, author of two previous works, said she did not set out to write an academic work full of statistics, but the type of book she loves reading. She announced that proceeds from the sale of "Two Cents For Africa" would go to sponsoring needy children in school.

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