Beyond kleptocracy and Kalashnikovs, by Andrew Rugasira

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

Many Africans are condemned from birth to a future of poverty, disease and premature death. In addition to this, the prevailing perception of Africans and their capabilities never transcends the confines of their so-called limitations. You are poor because you are poor. While poverty is an undeniable part of the African reality, it is only part of it.

There is another side to the continent. For this we must go beyond the gloom and doom and see Africa as a land of opportunity and hope. I do not know of any Africans who wake up in the morning saying: “Today I am going to engage in ’poverty reduction’!” This phrase, beloved by the international community, has no place in the vocabulary of the African citizen engaged in the everyday struggle to survive.

It is wealth creation that links the African struggle of yesterday, today and tomorrow. To understand this we must remove the blinkers and see an Africa beyond kleptocracy and Kalashnikovs.

Contemporary economic orthodoxy postulates that the primary engine for economic growth is not central government but the private sector. If we accept this then we must assume that the private sector embodies the self-interested bottom line of its corporate members. This self-interest is driven by the pursuit of profit.
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Source: Guardian Unlimited