Abdalla Al-Baalawy – With political infighting brewing in Central African Republic (CAR) and South Sudan, it has become apparent that politics outweighs economic progress in a lot of African states. Over 1000 people have died in each of the recent conflicts, with many others displaced. It is unfortunate that countries and individuals that should be concentrated on creating wealth and prosperity for their people, are focused more on gaining political power. Power is one of those unfortunate plagues that has, and will continue to destroy societies in Africa, if the current trend does not change.
As the old saying goes; power corrupts. Unfortunately for a lot of African societies, power is what the leaders concentrate on and inherently, it corrupts the society. Power has been a plague that has caused wars and genocides on the continent. While unnecessary infighting between political rivals brews, poverty stays rampant in the rest of society. If the same passion and drive for power is put on economic prosperity for the society, there’s no question these societies would be in a better state right now.
Strategically, building economic prosperity should precede any fighting for the wealth that can be attained in the country. Although stealing from the sale of raw materials (ex. crude oil and minerals) may prove rewarding; the rewards from building an economy that converts these raw materials into finished goods (ex. plastics, phones, televisions) is much higher. Society is much better off, and the leaders will be better off if they were to concentrate initially on building the economy and then figuring out the politics. The citizens and leaders of developed nations (with a developed economy) enjoy a higher level of standard of living than the citizens and leaders of the poor countries that are consistently stuck in political crisis. It just makes sense to focus on building wealth before people fight for a share of the pie. With this mindset, there will be a bigger pie for everyone to share.
Unfortunately this mindset has not been adopted in countries such as CAR and South Sudan. Hence, we see political crisis and violence perpetuating among the citizens. Indefinite political crisis does not, and will never, give any chance for progress. The mindset of citizens and leaders of these troubled nations have to change. It is time to concentrate on making a bigger pie, before we fight on how to share it.