“AFRICA CANNOT DEVELOP AND IT IS INCAPABLE OF OVERCOMING ITS POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC PROBLEMS”; WE OFTEN HEAR THIS STATEMENT COMING FROM ABROAD. BUT THIS IS AFROPESSIMISM. AND IT IS WESTERN CAPITALIST FEAR OF SOCIALIST AFRICA!
Pessimism is a state of mind in which one anticipates or expects undesirable outcomes or believes that the evil or hardships in life outweigh the good or luxuries. Value judgments may vary dramatically between individuals, even when judgments of fact are undisputed.
The most common example of this phenomenon is the believe by western leaders and governments that Africans cannot lead themselves and when they try to do so they end up murdering their own people or stealing from their own treasury. A front runner at national elections in the USA, Mr. Donald Trump, said on national television during his campaign “Africans are good at nothing; they are only good at having sex and making babies. We need to recolonize Africa for another 100 years. Their leaders steal their government money and invest it abroad. And they import everything including a match sticks”.
Another example is France’s influence in many post-colonial states in Africa; (we always noted that France is specifically interested in boosting its business presence in the African countries rich with mineral and human resources, such as Kenya, Mali, Congo, Nigeria and Burkina Faso. France would go as far as sending their military in those states in the name of “peacekeeping missions”, while we know it is by wiping out any decent on France’s presence in those regions in Africa,
The Tuareg’s uprising in 1998 against the France mining corporations in the desert in Mali is a close example when France sent their forces to suppress the uprising. These foreign presences in those regions strangulate the domestic economies in those countries. And when zoomed closer we see that France have elements of doubts whether Africans can macro-manage themselves and their economies, it always want to do on behalves of Africans.
The degree in which situations like these are evaluated as something good or something bad can be described in terms of one’s optimism or pessimism respectively. Throughout history, the pessimistic disposition has had effects on all major areas of thinking..
Afropessimism refers to the perception of sub-Saharan Africa as a region too riddled with problems for good governance and economic development. The term gained currency in the 1980s, when many Africanists in Western controlled countries believed that there was no hope for consolidating democracy and achieving sustainable economic development in the region for themselves and by themselves.
The earliest use in print of the word was in a 1988 article from the Xinhua News Agency in which Michel Aurillac, France’s minister of cooperation, criticized the prevailing pessimism in the West about Africa’s economic development and cautioned against what he referred to as an “Afro-pessimism” on the part of some western states that have put much efforts to make some African states impossible to archive total independence economically and politically.
As a result of continuous assassinations of the leaders who wanted to achieve total economic independences we saw these states giving up on ever achieving total independences from the west imperial forces, politically and economically.
Many writers have given different expressions to the phenomenon of Afropessimism. In general, as Africans, besides the concept originates from Europe, we should make sure that we write true reflection of what Afropessimism is so that the western writers do not whitewash Africa’s problems. Further, we know how France in the Francophone zones in Africa had justified under-developing some of the poorest regions of Africa and refused to cancel what we call the “colonial taxes”.
Any attempts to decolonize command for regime changes. In this Britain made some deals with Robert Mogabe party where they have made a pact with the white on the basis of political ideology or racial identity, ownership of the land and macro-economic policy. In 1990s, the CODESA negotiations deadlocked after the PAC and AZAPO refused to accept the “South African belongs to all who live in it”. The ANC, led by Nelson Mandela, accepted the deal with the whiteman and led the unsuccessful transformation programme of the South African economy and politics. Today, the ANC is paying a heavy price as there is violence everywhere.
The CODESA negotiations were architectured by the US and British intelligence agencies in 1980s in which the whiteman commanded change in his direction in South African politics and economy. The black majority lost after long revolutionary struggle – to change how apartheid policies discriminated against them. The whiteman always won where pacts where agreed between the blackman and the white man; we saw this in Zimbabwe and South Africa.
In particular they refuse to use colonial exploitation to mask post-colonial kleptocracy, the personalization of state power, and the politics of prebendalism. Some of the western writers such as Richberg mentioned “do not reject the hope that Africa can develop or that it is capable of overcoming its political and economic problems”. In this sense they are not themselves pessimistic about the future of Africa but rather are simply describing the phenomenon of Afropessimism. The real Afropessimists are writers who call for abandoning, or worse, recolonizing the continent (Donalt Trump). While generally the writers in the first group merely denounce postcolonial African leadership by pointing out its weaknesses, those in the latter tend to conclude that Africans are incapable of self-rule.
However, a common characteristic of the two modes of Afropessimist writings is imbalance. They all tend to highlight the horrors of a few African countries and ignore the advances of many other countries at various times. The unscientific establishment of doomsday conclusions about Africa characteristic of studies in this genre (see, in particular, Richberg) are usually not warranted by the limited sample of African countries discussed in the narratives. The unintended result is that Africa is given a blanket negative portrayal.
There are, by contrast, prominent works that for the most part decry Africa’s image in the West. The resultant foreboding and ominous image in Western media and the academy weakens the continent in the global competition for foreign investment and tourism (see Onwudiwe, 1996). This is an economic effect of Afropessimism.
African Rebirth without the Pan-Africanism, it is doomed to fail.
Still, the conditions that merit pessimism for the future of Africa are not manufactured by Afropessimists; such conditions are empirically verifiable. In recent times, important African leaders such as Presidents Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, and Maître Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal have come to recognize this and have resolved to do something about it. As a result, there has been an honest effort on the continent to address the important issues of good political, economic, and corporate governance and the professionalization of the army in order to diminish chances for destabilizing military coups.
These efforts had led the Organization of African Unity (OAU) to found a new institution, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), charged with the responsibility to provide a vision and strategic framework for Africa’s renewal. NEPAD attempts to provide African interventions with regard to issues of relative underdevelopment and marginalization. NEPAD’s formation and other historic African transformative actions have been referred to as African renaissance; but without uniting Africans on the one African programme was one aspect that was not properly and radically dealt with by the NEPAD.
Impact beginning; without Pan-Africanism we are doomed.
In the donor countries of the West in the 1980s, Afropessimists were found in the government, media, and academia. The prevailing view that votes for Africa’s stabilization and development were a waste of scarce resources was fanned by conservative politicians, bureaucrats, journalists, and scholars. This quickly led to an era of strained relationships between Western donor countries and African recipient countries in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Donor countries complained that progress was being slowed by bad governance, corruption, and mismanagement of funds, creating disillusionment and donor (or aid) fatigue. African countries in turn complained of unfulfilled promises and unwarranted intrusiveness in domestic policies by donors. The net result was a reduction in the volume of development aid from Western to African countries.
Let us swiftly and quickly value ourselves and our contribution in the development and sustainability of our regions before Afropessimism destroys us once and for all.