On Seeking Equivalences

Posted by By at 24 March, at 18 : 36 PM Print

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First a Definition of equivalence. “1a : the state or property of being equivalent. b : the relation holding between two statements if they are either both true or both false so that to affirm one and to deny the other would result in a contradiction. 2 : a presentation of terms as equivalent.” – Webster Dictionary.

In discussions with the Africans who love to equate the pathetic conditions on our beloved continent with other places with the retort: “Look at the United States, it is happening there also”, I tell them that the problem of the US is one of Ideology, while our major problem in Africa is that of Capacity, or rather lack of it.

In my criticisms of the Breton Woods Institutions’ imposition of a Structural Adjustment Policy (SAP) in Africa, I always say that SAP was premised on fraud because, since there are no structures to begin with in African economies, what did they seek to adjust?

Anyone who has been to the United States and visited the universities and the hospitals and the research facilities available in that country will know that the US is one country that can do whatever it sets its mind to achieve.

The high level scientific and technological know-how on display in that country is truly staggering. If the roads are bad in the US or people are sleeping rough or indigent people are defacing the streets by scavenging for food in thrash cans, it is not because of lack of resources or capacities.

The United States has enough capacity and capabilities to solve its socio-economic problems. The problem with that country is politics: more precisely the crude form of capitalism it adopted.

This was amply demonstrated yesterday when, within few days of being tasked by President Trump, American companies started rolling out vaccines for the Covid-19.

With the possible exceptions of South Africa*, Egypt and Tunisia, there is no other African country with the capacity and the structures to take care of citizens in emergencies.

This is the stark reality that some among us refuse to acknowledge or accept.

Rather for us to face reality and acknowledge that we have woefully failed ourselves and our progenitors, we look for ways to escape our culpability by blaming foreigners or seek equivalence. Rather than challenge our misfits of misrulers, we cast aspersions on other people!

Like the Ostrich that buried its head in the sand, we continue to delude ourselves that all is well, and that the whole world cannot see our naked butts in the form of dilapidated schools and antediluvian health facilities that litter our landscape.

We continue to refuse to face the reality that after over sixty (yes 60+) years of self governing ourselves, we have not been able to build enough capacities to feed, house and clothe ourselves without foreign help. Instead of admitting our failings and working hard to rectify our deficiencies, we continue to dance ourselves silly with self-generated lullabies!

* Sadly, blighted by years of apartheid, South African facilities were designed to cater for the minority White Settler Regime.

Femi Akomolafe
(C) March 24, 2020

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