For a few days now I’ve wanted to finish writing up this blog. The issues pertaining to this itch in my head are of a non-dandruff variety I hasten to add, though it keeps coming up time after time in what appears to now be a rush to get all sorts of investments going on the African continent. There seems to be frenetic activity for all sorts by co-operatives, governments of the world – developed and those in the throes of developing, all heading south to the African continent in search of resources, land, wildlife and basically all anyone cares to list. So much advice from experts in all disciplines as well as lay persons, myself being amongst this feast that I’m at a loss as to what is or not viable. Yet amidst all this, I still find Africa at the receiving end of being a consumer of the global markets presenting themselves at her door. I will talk from the little experience of one country I have of one East African country in particular.
Uganda would appear to be allowing herself to remain a dumping ground for whoever can bring their products or stuff out to her. At onset of oil discovery, there was cited to have been so much excitement it could be palpated from the moon. As a result those predominantly “in-click” (these are from families with connections to the leadership) with the regime have been busy sending off hundreds of students to go and study Oil Science and all Oil related disciplines, one asks themselves to do what? Not a bad thing on one hand I and probably many others would argue…a well-equipped and skilled labour force is a positive thing. The drawback is the ratio of sharing this national pie – as is always the problem with autocratic regimes prevalent now. Oil was “discovered” or made public to the “public” approximately three years back, possibly less than this time, but the amount of effort and drama that has gone to its support and closed deals , in addition to giving away chunks of that crude oil to foreign companies has been amazing. Not to mention the speculative sums paid out before even one barrel came out.
The point of my angst is actually not even to do with who is taking what or where from this new -found wealth within Uganda. I sincerely wish them all well and pray they make good moral choices with all that this brings. My harpings are more connected with the nature of investment being poured in to such countries like Uganda. These fall short of the global view about not only cutting carbon emissions which are a major cause of the current global climate effects but also of the need to back up what now most agree is the need for Africa to cut away from the apron strings of donor/aid reliance. These students partaking in studies abroad cost African revenue highly, and when they do master the trade chances of them being loyal to the motherland are 50/50 given the working conditions. But let’s say the conditions are of the same standard to where they are trained at, the top consultative posts are most likely to be held by foreign nationals who will require to be paid highly for the inconvenience of relocation etc…Then there’s the equipment hired or bought for drilling etc… To my knowledge I am not aware of any laboratories or factories which have opened up to support this new found wealth. I could go on, but even I get tired of my ramblings!
I am baffled and remain so as that when it comes to something like the sun that is available all year round on the continent of Africa; this sun that can be generated to produce a lot from it in various ways, no single effort or scholarship or reduction or removal of taxes or LARGE incentive for people to go solar! Why are investors or even life-time African governments and leaders, not investing in production of solar panels on their own soil but still insist on exporting ready-made products? Somebody please help me make sense of this itch! Because not long now, hydro