President John Dramani Mahama has said Africa does not need sympathy from the world nor overseas assistance in order to develop. Even though majority of African countries depend heavily on foreign aid for budgetary support and developmental projects, President Mahama audaciously declared at the on-going 71st General Assembly that, Africa needs a fair chance to trade with the rest of the world instead of sympathy or overseas development assistance.
“Some of the young Africans who hazard the desert and Mediterranean Sea to cross to Europe from my country are young poultry farmers or other entrepreneurs who sell their shops and undertake the journey because they can no longer compete with the tons of frozen chicken dumped on African markets annually, or the adverse business environment they have to face. Africa does not need your sympathy or Overseas Development Assistance. Africa needs a fair chance to trade with the rest of the world and amongst ourselves,” he added.
He further called on colleague African leaders to build stronger economic ties to create a thriving business environment. “We can achieve a lot in collaboration with the rest of the world and yet we must realize that a lot rests within our own capacity to achieve as Africans.”
Don’t force democracy on Africa
President John Dramani Mahama also told western countries to stop forcing democracy on Africa. According to him, Africa like many other developed continents made mistakes which they learnt lessons from before progressing, hence Africa must be given same opportunity. “Democracy is not a one size fits all system, different countries are at different stages of the democratic journey. Democracy evolves and cannot be forced on the people. It doesn’t help for biggest powers to go proselytizing democracy across the continent, it can have its negative consequences as we are experiencing in parts of North Africa and the Middle East, but still a properly functioning peer system can avoid some of the meltdowns we are experiencing in some African countries due to the desire to stay in office interminably.”
“The mistake with Africa is that we are seen as homogenous unit and treated as such not taking cognizance that we are a whole continent with different aspirations, different cultures, democracies and even economic development. Human progress is not a seamless progress forward; it encompasses periods of reversal, mistakes, fumbling and even falling. All parts of the world have been through this, they have learnt from their mistakes, they’ve picked themselves up after a fall and they’ve continued moving forward. Africa must be allowed the same latitude,” he added.