STAND UP and BE COUNTED!
Developed countries all around the world have certain economic development factors in common: an impressive GDP, a very competitive per capita income, high levels of industrialization, an increased amount of widespread infrastructure and a rich general standard of living. But even more importantly, these developed countries have post-industrial economies (Service Sector) and this is the part that creates more wealth for them. It doesn’t require rocket-science to see that when the most prosperous nations in the world spend so much money in inventing products and services that they consume, and still have a proportion of which they can export, and attract purchasing power; and we as Africans aim to be that economically powerful, then our youths must begin to get into inventions. They must now begin to showcase their inherent capacity to identify and solve demonstrable human problems facing us. A quick argument against this would however be that the lack of adequate infrastructures, and unfavourable government policies are simply not encouraging enough for us to get down to business with home-grown inventions. But truth is; majority of the inventions from the western countries are not even financed by the government. Corporate organisations must then begin to get socially responsible. They must now begin to seek ways of giving back some kind of value back to society. By funding researches and adopting science and technology faculties of Universities, so much can be covered.
Having all of these in place still does not guarantee that we achieve our expected ends. A more pressing issue for us should be that the youth which are meant to propagate these inventions are not even ready. Young people are basically distracted by sports and entertainment. When there is a ready mind, the forces of nature will automatically gravitate to it. Conscious efforts must then be made by our youth to quickly get into their elements and begin to produce things that society will be grateful to them for. A quick scan through www.kumatoo.com would reveal that there are indeed young African Inventors. There are a group of students from the Makerere University who built Uganda’s first electric car (the Kiira EV) on November 1, 2011. There is also Kelvin Macharia Kuria (17 year old) who in 2008, created a home-made insecticide; “Aloemexhot” which kills insects instantly. And just this year, from the 2iE International School in Burkina Faso, Moctar Dembele (from Burkina Faso) and Gerard Niyondiko (from Burundi) also achieved the very commendable feat of inventing an anti-malaria soap which they called “Faso Soap”. And by doing so became the first non-Americans to win the 2013 Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC). Trust me there are a lot more inventors all around Africa with such wonderful capacities.
We can indeed conclude that such essential and relevant inventions can be achieved here in Africa. Now if clearly agree that we do not truly lack the mental capacity and willingness to harbour and harness such crucial inventions; what then could be the problem? Why are we still not being recognized as major contributors in the league of world problem-solvers? My answer to this is MINDSET. Our key problem in Africa is our mindset… we are all suffering from ‘Poverty of the Mind’. We revere and adore western products and services so much that we have created a ‘Helpless Mentality’ for ourselves. We have overtime successfully suppressed our home-grown talents and perfected our search and yearn for ‘superior non-African solutions’. This state of self-imposed helplessness that we so choose, has the single ability to keep us small forever; if emphatic force is not employed into repositioning our Mindsets from such anomaly…
Now from your experience and understanding of the issues at hand, what probable solutions can you proffer to help deprogram this ‘Helpless Mentality’ that we have seemed to master so much?