The post at this time happened to have been conceived long before now. President Obama’s address to African leaders today August 05, 2014 touched on virtually the ideas this writer had in mind and had written them down. It is meant for public consumption and consideration as to what Africans can do to receive partnership cooperation from the United States of America
President Obama’s mission on the three-nation tour of Africa was very clear. The media made us know that he did not go to assess how much aid was to be doled out to so-called ailing African nations. It was virtually a trade mission. America needs economically viable Africa as much as Africa is also in dire need of America. The partnership has to be understood in terms of a farmer should not afford to go on cruise to any leisure land during planting season, nurturing the farm products and more so, the harvest season.
I bet it the bi-partisan benefit to Africa and America would be so tremendous that America would have to regret having treated Africa as a place where nothing good can ever come out from. The old economic order has been changing and it will surely continue to change hence the more developed economies should no longer assume the economic stance of winners take all. A popular saying in Africa and particularly in Nigeria puts it that the young shall grow. Obviously, the elders that give kiddies kindly but disciplined upbringing will keep remaining golden in their hearts in years to come.
The President affirmed that from this time henceforth, it is partnership in business and not paternalistic relationship. America has to be on the spot to protect her investment. Surely, African entrepreneurs and government corporations will not sit on the fence watching their economy going the ruinous route. There is no doubt as to who has greater economic clout than the other in the partnership. Obviously American entrepreneurs without doubt qualify for such. Elementary economics tells us that greater investment tends to yield greater returns, all things being equal. It is incontrovertible that America has more DOLLAR millionaires, billionaires and trillion owning investors than any country in Africa. Reason is not difficult to figure out because most of the sophisticated equipments will be sourced from the USA. It is obvious that American investors who want to succeed will adopt shrewd economic rationality in sourcing them from their home front, from US manufacturers and not from elsewhere.
Let us not forget that there are myriads of Africans who have gotten European and American education. They have worked in both public and private sectors and had worked in America and Europe up to managerial levels. They have gotten rich business experience as well as knowledge about financial imperatives needed for success in business. Africa would have developed faster if political and military powers that be were equally saturated with tremendous knowledge of how to win economic war. A lot of educated elites had to return to the US and Europe when they were never allowed to use the expert knowledge they acquired. Such had contributed to under rating their worth as knowledge workers all over their land of sojourn. Of course, they did well in class in higher institutions; BUT, there existed a covert reflection on them concerning where they came from. Do not ask me for data to prove this. It is an obvious empirical observation. Besides, those affected would not happily participate in any such survey, unless they have been able to re-brave the odds to return to the attested level they were before returning to their country.
Business world in America will not forget the shrewd business mogul from Nigeria in person of Late M K O Abiola who fell prey to Khaki men in political gab fueled by ethnicity, religion as well as the oligarchic unwritten constitution of his country. His victory in the general election described as the freest ever in the country had immediate salutary effect on the economy before the result of the election was annulled. If he had not ventured into politics his business success would have possibly remained a model for Africa and the world to see. Asian Tigers would have remained in business as Asian industrial cats, if the US had not partnered with them. By the same token, look at how Vietnam bounced up industrially after the devastating effect of the Vietnam War of 1968. In Africa, there is a preponderance of political ideology that promoted enlightened self interest rather than seeking the greatest good of the greatest number.
Objective Partnership: One needs to suggest some guiding principles, even though, before America speaks out through the mouth of the President the blue print must have been prepared and revised from time to time. Such would have ensured that America does not stand to lose in the partnership.
- There has to be objective partnership within a framework of balanced equation.
- The partnership must respect the sovereignty of the host country with a view to not causing political upheaval that can become counter productive to both parties.
- There should be rigorous straining the host country’s eligible entrepreneurs if the partnership is to worth the while.
- Business should be business. No ethnic bias or sympathy or religious bigotry can ever make any company run efficiently and effectively.
- The Chinese have been unsuspectingly penetrating African countries even to the level of rural areas in each country. China has a shorter socio-economic history with Africa than the United States. It is needed to be mutually satisfied concerning the bigger brother and the junior in the field of democratic governance. Why should the US allow others to out do her in spite of her open door policy? Let us get it straight that the young shall grow, come what may.
- Unscrupulous entrepreneurs must be exposed and possibly ostracized so as to guard against explosion of time bomb swept under the carpet when it ought to have been detonated before any damage could be done.
- It is no news that Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa with a population of 175,000,000 millions. It had long been estimated that for every five Africans, one would be a Nigerian. The country has become a new haven for Chinese businesses. Say what anyone will, coming up with strong economic ties with African countries will heal past wounds in African mind as it did in the erstwhile foes of America that are now enjoying best relationship with her. Oh! US wake up before it is too late.
- Let the print and electronic media start beaming positive pictures of situation of things in Africa to the unsuspecting news hungry Americans and not over playing the effect of wars and droughts. These tend to scare the citizenry and more so the potential investors from investing in Africa for mutual benefit.
Oil business in Nigeria has yielded unscrupulous multi-millionaires and billionaires. Most of this category of rich Nigerians can never have any business acumen to show for their wealth like DuPont in the paint industry or Ford in automobile industry.
- It is an honest question which is food for thought for all concerned as to its being germane. Will it not be reasonably surmised that there existed evil collaboration between hosts and guests socio-economically in the oil industry there? It is an ill wind that blows no one any good in the long run.
- American entrepreneurs should demonstrate unequivocal social responsibility to any community in which they do business. It is not supposed to be a type of doling crumbs to servants from the master’s table. Respect the local leaders without losing site of the need of the so called silent majority. This partnership should be unquestionable. This will help to prevent continual socio-economically motivated armed uprising from the people as seen in the South-south Niger delta area of the country. Social injustice is a curse that will always retard economic growth or relationship.
- The private sector that would be in the partnership should learn to give reasonable allowance concerning the non-economic but cultural norms of the host countries or communities without jeopardizing economic interest of both parties.
- American War of Independence brought losses to Britain and the US, but as of today the two countries remain inseparable in world affairs to their mutual benefits. This observation is however futuristic in United States socio-economic partnership with African countries. The time is now!
- I love America for its open door policy which has kept her alive and would continue to keep her buoyant. United Kingdom (Britain) and United States both put behind them the brutal experience they went through by the wars they fought. There is no person or nation that cannot rise from grass to grace in the context of a progressive mind set.
- Africa is of age to eat solid food without seeing her as an entity that needed be given more of baby milk. It is time for business with existing survival kits as reference point to guide in business ethics, rules and regulations that must be applied pragmatically.
It is hoped that the partnership will be mutually beneficial more than the U.S. could ever imagine, for I know that huge success is awaiting the planned economic cooperation. Let us ponder on this question: Will the partnership be in “LCM” Least Common Factor” or in “HCF” Highest Common Factor? Will there be highest common concern for all or for partial or selfish interest? The mutual benefit must be exponential to make the relationship worth the while.