The Calabash met over the weekend with a very good humour White man who works with one of the UN agencies in the country. Obviously someone who has read Chinua Achebe’s classic African novel, Things Fall Apart, the author factually stated that after over fifty years of independence from the colonialists, it is high time Africans stop blaming the colonialists for their development shortcomings, like the Chinese have since the 1950s.
Achebe, the White man said, drew the analogy of Unoka and Okonkwo to show Africans that if they work hard like the latter and by no magic we can become prosperous like the Chinese. If however, we remain complacent and lazy like Unoka, we shall always remain poor and indebted to others.
This was an honest White man who pitilessly said that poor African countries continue to be heavily exploited financially by their so called Western helpers by providing them with short term concessional loans and grants instead of helping them to improve on trade and commerce – citing how the World Trade Organization balances the terms of trade against poor developing countries.
John, to give this White man a name, said the only hope poor countries have to free themselves from the strangling forces of neo-colonialism is to critically rearrange their development priorities, streamline their expenditures to match with revenue and to take the bold decision to say, we can become productive and prosperous like the Chinese, starting right now.
If not, he stated that both internal and external debts will continue to make the majority of us victims of devaluation, increasing cost of imports, low employment and falling standards of living as we are experiencing now.