The New Times (Kigali)

26 January 2013

Rwanda: If Africa Cannot Call Its Tune, Others Will

editorial

Once again, President Kagame has hit the nail on the head. He has re-echoed his stand that strangers to the continent, other than Africans themselves, have taken the paternalistic approach of defining Africa.

During one of the contentious discussion points; "De-risking Africa" in the ongoing World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, he again questioned why outsiders "want to shape the perception about Africa".

South African President Jacob Zuma took the cue from there, castigating the organisers for creating the impression that Africa was too risky to do business.

Zuma asked what is risky about Africa that needs de-risking.

Had the theme emanated from Africa, it would have been built around improving Africa's potential and not allaying non-existent fears.

The so-called scholars and "experts on Africa" call the shots in international fora and usually their shallow analysis takes sway, and this is not acceptable.

But sometimes blame can also be put on Africans themselves, when they fail to make their voices heard. How do a score of African countries fail to solve a simple issue like the Mali uprising, wait for outside help, and then sheepishly follow the queue?

When one of the countries gives an excuse that it has no logistics to deploy 150 men in Mali unless it gets help from France or the USA, then something must be truly wrong. This gives non-Africans the green light to define how Africa should be perceived.

Wake up Africa.

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