Is socialism the solution to the problems in Africa?…

As we move further into the 21st century, the problems in Africa remain; a continent plagued with economic, political and social deficiencies, compounded by the ever-present obstacle of poverty. However, for centuries Africa has been the cornerstone of the world’s natural resources, aided by the gradual advancements in technology and science. Undeniably, the abundance of resources could turn Africa into a “paradise on Earth,” where its riches could finally save a region that has long been dominated by foreign intervention. Yet, in reality Africa has been nothing more than an object, continually raped of its freedom and prevented from fulfilling its potential. Despite being considered as the ‘Motherland by many, its place in the world is much like an abused child crying for help. So, how can Africa ever escape from its imprisonment? Socialism.

Of course, in the current political climate this may seem absurd, largely due to the disintegration, or indeed the inefficiencies of the “communist” regimes of yesteryear – most evidently in the Eastern Europe. Moreover, capitalism has been magnified on a global scale, with its ideological tenants being expanded throughout all areas of the world. However, I believe socialism can be successfully implemented without conflicting the global capitalist trend , while providing a prosperous future for a continent striving for an ounce of hope. Africa fits perfectly. The first process of African socialism would undoubtedly involve a strong, centralised government that emphasised state ownership of most, if not all of the country’s assets and industry, thus allowing the African states to sufficiently control their own resources. Too often do we see much of Africa’s resources incorporated into the schemes of private investors to maximise their own profits, taking away what is rightfully theirs. Furthermore, the African people must ignore the tribal rivalries that have plagued its existence for far too long. There must be a unification of language, culture and ideas, avoiding the possibility of internal tensions such as in the case of Rwanda, D.R Congo and Nigeria. African nations should negate the modern ideas of nationalism and disintegrate their tribal lineages, and instead should attempt to enforce a continent-wide identity based on Pan-Africanism. By doing this, Africa could enter into a common communal relationship – like the E.U, where African nations could  aid each other by sharing resources adequately.

With Africa effectively under ‘self-control,’ the socialist governments could provide the necessary living standards for all its people; such things as free education through state schools, public housing and free healthcare would be the normative objectives. African countries could then trade their natural resources with the rest of the world – effectively posing as “state corporations.” The African states could become their own “companies,” selling any excess materials around the globe, thus producing the surplus profits that could then be implemented into state schemes, advancing the lives of Africans as a whole. China is a successful model of inward socialism and outward capitalism that Africa could not only replicate, but improve due to geographical advantage.

In the space of 400 years, Africa had been stripped of its resources and manpower, all of which had developed the Western nations to an extent the African’s could only dream of reaching. However, this idea could turn the fortunes of Africa around and claw back the years of misery. Though, undoubtedly it will be long and dedicated struggle to finally see Africa shine.

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6 comments

  1. Powerful stuff, though i have a few points to raise, firstly your link between the socialism and Eastern Europe. Its fair to say that the governments of Eastern Europe during the cold war period were far more authoritarian dictatorships than socialist governments, and by using them as examples of socialism at work not only dilutes your argument, but reflects badly on the true nature of socialism and the benefits it can provide.
    Your point about transforming Africa into a “Common communal relationship” similar to that of the E.U. is great, and one i hadn’t previously considered, though i think you gloss over the great difficulties that arise when trying to accomplish such a task. Thanks to European imperialism from the 17th century onward, most modern nation borders were drawn with no consideration of religious or tribal boundaries, and whilst these archaic borders remain, unifying some nations, let alone Africa as a whole will be very difficult.
    Finally, I agree with your compelling argument toward nationalizing all natural resources in Africa, with Africa in need of money it is still surprising how readily corporations are to take minerals with maximum environmental damage and minimal returns to the community. The one point I would raise, and something i think worth discussing whenever debating African economics, is the issue of corruption. Whilst nationalization is great in theory, Africa is so rife with corruption i fear the wealth generated by such a move would benefit only those in the highest echelons of power.

    I can’t wait to read your next Blog entry,

    JBB

    1. Thanks Jaime, I actually forgot to put speech marks in the words “socialist governments;” ultimately it doesn’t matter whether they were socialist governments or not, as they and the world had defined Eastern Europe as such during the Cold War, thus the reputation of socialism has been tarnished for any future government to implement the ideas of Marx.

      As explained, what I’ve identified is African Socialism, a variant of socialism that fits into the dilemmas Africa faces. Moreover, I am aware of the drawing up of borders by European Imperialists, but what I suggested was that Africans had some sort of religious or tribal unification or at least acceptance towards the goal socialism presented. Even within the borders created by the Europeans, religious and tribal divisions are witnessed even on a minute level, thus any sort of border formation would have had the same problems. In Britain we have this unification of peoples, as well as the United States; of course, the combination of identities could take decades if not centuries, but one important feature of African cultures is their similarities. African identities have similar tastes in food, clothing, undoubtedly religious ideas in terms of paganism, thus Africans may find it much easier to unite under common goals. On your point with corruption, this could be eradicated if African Socialism was implemented correctly though strong governments who upheld the ideas of placing the public first. Corruption is born though western capitalism that has deluded the minds of Africans, creating the idea of individualism and the idea of attaining wealth by any means possible.

  2. Very compelling view! Your views clearly express that of the nation itself. However, as Jamie clearly pointed out, African states have frequently been hampered by instability, corruption, violence, and authoritarianism. The vast majority of African states operate under some form of presidential rule many of which had not been able to sustain democratic governments on a permanent basis, and have resulted in many coups, producing military dictatorships. The hierarchy and small pockets of power WILL use nationalisation to benefit themselves and their pockets! Having said this, nationalisation is one of the few steps to be taken which (under strict guidelines) could allow Africa to thrive and “feed itself”. The greed of many of Africa’s hierarchy will always be the downfall of the continent but there is always light at the end of the tunnel!

    Looking forward to the next! I would love to hear your views on the west, particularly the Euro-Zone.

    Ed

  3. I definitely enjoyed my read of this. Very thought-provoking. I think socialism is the answer but like you said, it’s a long-term solution that will take years and years to execute.

    To receive help, you first must be able to help yourselves and that’s something Africa seems unable to do. So until they can jump that first hurdle – themselves – we may still have to wait a long time before Africa makes a “full recovery”.

    Good stuff.

  4. interesting article, you’ve touched on some important point that i personally agree with. i heavily support the premise that Africa as a whole needs to embed in its culture a ‘common communal relationship’, one as similar to the western to world. in support of a common communal relationship, we have seen the effect of such, particularly in the USA, whereby all its citizens , although divided by 52 state borders, religion, ethnicity and even different laws, still managers to embed a common cause in the mist of all its differences, which is the american dream. with hard work and determination one too can live the american dream. and i think if Africa is too also adapt a common cause which does not removes or repress all its difference but instead reunites them for a stronger and effective cause, then what africa can achieve as a whole will be beyond imaginable, considering the natural pure resources it holds.

    however, i also do heavily disagree with your claim that socialism can provide a solution for the problems that Africa are facing. on a small scale, yes, some concepts of socialism can be productive and effective, but however, on major we have seen it fail and i do believe it will still fail. i think what we need, or what africa needs, is a meritocratic system which promotes fair economic competition for all. africa needs more entrepreneurs just like the western world and USA, cos only through the belief and skills of such can Africa ever have a self sustainable and reliable economic system. however, such system can only work effectively if there is a reliable and effective system of fair competition, where constant rules and relegation help maintain the efficiency of the african economy. again, we’ve seen the productive effects of this in the western world. also, as highlighted by Jamie Bradford, concepts and essences of corruptions, theoretically, should be eradicated. consequently, a more open system of economic involvement will be generated. trust for the system will be at play, and concepts such as financial investment will become a more practised activity amongst the african citizens.

    another reason why i emphasised on the idea of fair economic competitions is because, it seems evident that through competition between two or more opposing parties, standard must be raised. if standards and quality are not raised by one of the competing party then it will fail to attract consumers or so, and eventually it will lose out and go ‘bused’. so standard and quality and are always maintained organically through the pure essence of fair competition. this then ultimately leads to a more progressive but happier society, where consumers satisfaction are constantly met, businesses are happy, entrepreneurs and investors are happy cos of their trust on the system. is important to highlight that within all this, all the natural resources that africa does hold is eventually maximised, first for the benefits of its citizens, and second to the benefits of their economy which is tightly bounded by their common communal relationship.

    so the socialist mentality, to me personally, only works on a small scaled method where aid is at need. on a larger scale and long run, i heavily believe it will fail to eradicate the issue africa faces. remember, human beings are selfish by nature, so rather than repressing a part of what makes us, we should strive to use it efficiently whereby our selfish satisfaction are met but its overall consequences benefits the masses also. again, remember that no man enters into business with the objective of losing money, but to make money.

    i look forward to more of your articles

    Ghislaino K. ( sorry for the long text, i had a lot to say about this article)

    http://www.rethinkingbig.blogspot.com

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