“There is always
something new out of Africa,” said the First Century Roman scholar Pliny the
news out of Africa these days is usually bad. Even previously prosperous places
like Zimbabwe and Kenya look unstable, and the great hopes for South Africa are
turning into fears.
It need not be so.
English-speaking Africa in particular is blessed with immense natural
resources, people who are very entrepreneurial when given the chance, and, of
course, the English language.
It may be unfair, but
English is the language of international business and to be brought up with it
gives an immediate competitive advantage. Added to that, many places in Africa
have excellent schools and colleges – based on a real commitment to the value
of education that put England itself to shame.
This is why one meets
so many impressive African students in Britain and America. The tragedy of
Africa is that these students, the best and the brightest of the continent, are
bright enough to realise that they are unlikely to make the most of their
talents in Africa.
One cannot blame them.
Their assessment is accurate.
Africa’s problem is
bad government. This is, of course, true of most of the world, but it is
particularly true of most African states.
Africa could only develop a tradition of strong, honest, competent, minimalist
government, there is no reason why it should not rival English-speaking India
as the rising economic power of the world, and the place to invest for the