African Agency for Independence and Progress

Africa map - African Agency for Independence and Progress

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No, not an African agency in some building somewhere. We mean an Afrocentric worldview.

Because, despite the official end of colonialism and apartheid, a matrix of power continues to hold Africa, shaping its institutions and society.

This power structure primarily benefits the elites and foreign entities. It is time for Africa to break free from its grasp. To achieve genuine progress, the continent must reclaim its agency and embrace epistemic independence.

The Institutional Landscape in Africa

There are three types of institutions that contribute to the matrix of power in Africa: imposed, improvised, and inherited.

Imposed Institutions: These are institutions that Africa inherited from colonialism and apartheid. They were designed to serve the interests of the colonizers and continue to influence the continent’s political and economic landscape.

Improvised Institutions: These institutions have evolved over time to address specific needs and challenges within African societies. However, they often remain entangled with the imposed institutions, perpetuating the existing power dynamics.

Inherited Institutions: These are institutions that Africa has deliberately adopted or copied from other countries. While they may have been successful elsewhere, they often fail to address the unique needs and contexts of African societies.

The Societal Implications of Misaligned Institutions

The misalignment between educational outputs and the economy’s needs has led to widespread unemployment and underemployment.

Graduates, trained in fields irrelevant to Africa’s needs, contribute to a cycle of poverty and marginalization, highlighting the need for a realignment toward relevance and self-sufficiency.

Disconnect Between African Leadership and the People

The institution of elections in Africa has produced leaders who are disconnected from the experiences and wishes of the people they serve.

They enjoy obscene living standards, with access to better healthcare and education than the average citizen.

This disconnect prevents them from being accountable to the people, which leads to contestations of elections, agendas, and citizenship.

Preservation of the Status Quo Through Elite Collusion

Political elites collaborate to protect their interests and maintain the status quo by agreeing to concepts like Francophonie and Françafrique, for example.

This elite collusion predetermines the outcomes of elections, ensuring that the capitalist background remains intact and that incumbents are favored.

The result is a system that perpetuates inequality and hinders genuine progress. That explains why the franc CFA still exists or why the Monrovia Group torpedoed the unification of Africa.

Unfulfilled Pan-African Aspirations

Pan-African visionaries such as Kwame Nkrumah envisioned a continent where Africans could live with dignity, enjoy human security, and be part of a united Africa.

The current state of the continent falls short of these aspirations. The lack of social cohesion, even at the community level, and the ongoing conflicts and disintegration stand in stark contrast to the dreams of Pan-Africanists.

The African Problem: A Lack of Epistemic Independence

According to Prof. Everisto Benyera (Department of Political Sciences – UNISA), the root of Africa’s challenges lies in the absence of epistemic independence.

Epistemic independence is the ability to think from one’s own perspective, free from the influences of patriarchy, history, and colonialism.

The lack of an Afrocentric worldview and agency has resulted in Africans adopting European worldviews and seeking their approval.

The Global Marginalization of the Black Race

The marginalization of the black race is a global phenomenon, with black people consistently treated as inferior, whether in Ukraine, the United States, Europe, or Asia.

It’s rooted in the absence of epistemic independence and African agency. Too many Africans still think from a Eurocentric perspective and seek validation from the West, rather than embracing an Afrocentric worldview.

The Evolution of Empire and Africa’s Struggle to Adapt

Empire has evolved from its initial economic and political form to a financial and cognitive one.

While Africa has yet to fully respond to the political and economic empire, the world has moved on to a cognitive empire that seeks to control thoughts and ideas.

Africa’s economy remains misaligned with the realities of this cognitive empire, leading to challenges such as unemployment, underemployment, and inequality.

Education and the Perpetuation of Marginalization

African universities often follow Euro/North American standards, producing graduates with skills that are mismatched with the needs of African societies.

This misalignment contributes to high unemployment rates among educated youth and perpetuates the marginalization of the black race.

The focus on European languages and standards in education further entrenches the cultural minority status of Africans in their own continent.

The African Union: Challenges and Disappointments

The African Union (AU) has fallen short of its potential, despite some positive developments like the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

It has failed to address fundamental questions such as the establishment of an African standing army, a centralized currency backed by African resources, and common citizenship.

The AU’s failure to hold itself accountable has a cascading effect, preventing regional and national bodies from effectively serving their people.

The Challenge of Power Succession in Africa

Africa has struggled to find an effective mechanism for managing power succession. The failures of liberation movements and family dynasties have left the continent searching for an Africa-centered solution.

To move forward, Africa needs to invest its intellect in addressing this issue and nurturing ethical leadership that truly represents the interests of its people.

Ideological Framework for Real African Agency

To overcome these challenges, Africa must decouple the nation from the state and explore alternative ideological frameworks rooted in African experiences.

Concepts such as Rainbowism, Chimurenga, Harambee, and African Socialism offer potential paths forward.

Africa must redefine its relationship between the nation and the state, addressing the core issues of citizenship, belonging, and governance.

Wrap-Up

The continued existence of colonialism and apartheid in Africa is perpetuated by a matrix of power that influences the continent’s institutions and society.

To break free from this cycle, the continent must develop epistemic independence, adopt an Afrocentric worldview, and cultivate ethical leadership that prioritizes the needs of its people over the interests of the elites and the West.

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