By Simon Mone
African citizens have by far the biggest beneficiaries of academic since the turn of independence. And every area of technical specialisation has been awarded scholarships.
And looking around, there should be a sense of satisfaction with the education that citizens of Africa have attained over the last 50 years or so. You tend to think that Africa’s kids are now endowed with the requisite skills to be in good stead to fix our prevailing challenges independently.
Or at least tackle problems at hand with minimum assistance. In the thematic areas of science and humanity for instance, we should be comfortable that Africa has had its fair share of support. And we ought to be saying that our technical capacity is not wanting. But many times, you read about a drive for foreign personnel to come to the aid of Africa, to solve its problems. Even in the area of basic sanitation.
You see specialised teams deployed to help teach Africans how to build toilets and a lot more. But from the look of things, these are clearly challenges whose solutions we have.
In terms of personnel and also funding, we can independently find answers to these problems. For a many years, African scholars have gabbed scholarships to go and get top-of-the-range education abroad. The trend has always been easier for the African kids to continue their learning in a country of a former colony. And former colonies have been generous enough with their financial and human resources to help uplift the education of Africa.
Others have indeed chosen to build capacity of universities inside Africa to ensure sustainability. And be able to offer the skills necessary for the African men and women to sustainably provide answers to their day-today problems.
African scholars on the move have come through the most prestigious universities in the world. A majority, by a mile have been moving across the Mediterranean Sea into Europe. Many others have chosen to fly above the Atlantic to the United States and Canada.
More yet went to Latin America. Quite a number have chosen to do studies in Asia Pacific. But the question to ask of all of these is; where are these sons and daughters of Africa, the beneficiaries of the generosity of our colonial masters? The answer looks obvious!
Most of them upon qualifying from these esteemed schools, colleges and universities, get absorbed by the labour markets abroad. They excel so highly that forces the envy of their sponsors to get back their return on investment. These guys find it easier to stay back and continue with their intellectual developments abroad because back home, it is a ‘cocktail’ of deliberate challenges.
The seamlessness of systems, of governance that the colonial masters left us with have just hurried to the dogs. Today, the guys administering Africa simply cannot let technocrats do their thing without meddling in it. They frustrate and make sure such intellectuals run away. But with all these notwithstanding, the answers still lie in our experts coming back home to help be among the solutions to our challenges.
I look forward to a time when the sons and daughters of Africa living abroad can look back, collect their owning and take the flight home to become part of our solutions.
It begins with African governments choosing to do the right things right. We cannot say the money is not available. The money is in fact available. Only thing is that it is lined up in greedy pockets - no more hints. Africa should have no problems calling for foreign expert assistance to clean up our toilets, since nobody in this world is a custodian of knowledge. But to what extent can we invite for help?
It is about the right time we demonstrated that we can stand up to be counted. Let’s yell for assistance only if our expert limitations have arrived. Sons and daughters of Africa, please arrive to be seen to give back to your roots.
The writer is a civil engineer