The African continent is besieged by numerous inadequacies. However these shortcomings do not mean that African lives matter any less. It is true that despite the encouraging economic development of some African countries during the last decade, many are still plagued by widespread poverty and inequality. Health and education institutions are among the lowest in the world and the continent’s population. These weak institutions make it difficult, especially in fragile economies, to deal with calamities such as the recent Coronavirus pandemic and its consequent economic crises.
Various issues such as unemployment, limited access to quality education, health, nutrition, technology and innovation combine to form obstacles limiting Africa’s growth, productivity and development. If these issues remain unsolved, they could deprive a whole generation of Africans the opportunities to develop their potential, escape poverty and support the continent’s move toward inclusive growth and economic transformation. The continent needs to act now and take the right steps to improve the quality of life in Africa and for all Africans:
Investing in Education
A bulk of foreign aid should be devoted to improved access, affordability and quality of education and training services. African countries ough to invest in physical access and improved the conditions in their educational sector, especially in the teaching of science and mathematics. There should also be increased access and learning opportunities to disadvantaged children, including those with special educational needs, and contribute towards the development of a more relevant and appropriate national technical, industrial, vocational and entrepreneurship training system.
Improving access to basic services
Access to basic services is a vital component of quality of life. Africans deserve access to clean water, power and infrastructure. The availability of these basic services especially infrastructure, can prove useful in promoting business-enabling environments.
Nowadays, young people are better educated than previous generations. However, their prospects for gainful employment have not increased. The vocational training sector is still not well developed in sub-Saharan Africa; only a few governments are able to finance technical and vocational education and training at the level that would encourage entrepreneurship.
Building resilient public health systems
Now more than ever, there is a pertinent need to invest in improving service delivery in the health sector. It is expected for the governments to keep in mind that African lives matter enough to deserve access to quality and healthcare services.
Supporting Free and Fair Elections
Elections and other political processes are pivotal to the quality of a country’s governance and by extension the quality of life of the Africans governed. To achieve this, elections should be transparent, inclusive, and accountable, and there must be equitable opportunities to compete in the elections. These can be achieved adhering to electoral process related obligations and upholding key rights and freedoms related to the electoral process.
Women rights and Inclusion
All African lives matter and this includes the lives of African women as well. Better inclusion of women in institutional, social and economic matters is an important goal in its own right. It is also a key driver of economic competitiveness: economies that harness women’s energy and talent outperform those that do not. Empowering women by providing equal access to education, land and credit, ensuring their equal legal rights, enabling their participation in public life, and integrating them into the labour market can foster productivity and growth, and reduce poverty.
Governance and accountability
Governance progress as measured by the Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance has been slow, except in political participation. Africa has to establish reforms to revive the quality of its public administration. Budgeting and financial management in public sectors need to be enforced and public financial management systems established and strengthened.
Strengthening of food security
One major way to achieve food security is through a successful collaboration between governments and agriculture operational sector. This coalition will aid the adoption of strategies to expand irrigation, improve access to agricultural inputs, and removing trade barriers. It also calls for the reform of import-export procedures to expand the prospects of agriculture in Africa.
Eradicating Political Conflict and Instability
It is not enough for Afdrican countries to stand by helplessly and expect foreign aid while some of its countries descend into chaos. It is very possible for Africa to champion its own interventions in politically fragile regions. Factors contributing to conflicts such as political and economic instability, wealth disparities, weak governance, and historical grievances can be triggered at the root level to prevent escalations.
Projects such as the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative, ought to be multiplied to accelerate the harnessing of the continent’s significant renewable energy potential. Also, concerted efforts need to be made towards reducing the continent’s carbon emissions. To thio seffect, Africa needs to invest massively in technology, innovations, policies and regulations to speed up its renewables revolution. This should be directed at funding renewable energy projects across a range of technologies, scales and geographies.