Two comments show that the dialogue over Ayittey's piece continue:
Prof. Augustin K. FOSU , Director Economic and Social Policy Division
UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) P. O. Box 3001 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
I have tried hard not to respond, but I must now. There seems to be some misunderstanding as to the nature of the current discourse (on ideas). The problem is not Ayittey personally, but what he personifies. I think we are doing a disservice when we misinterpret the current discourse as a representation of the former.
Please let the dialogue continue on ideas!
Edward Mensah, Chicago
Now I am convinced that Ayittey absolutely discounts the importance of
slavery, colonialism, neo-colonialism, etc., in addressing contemporary
problems in Africa. He claims, and I partially agree, it will do us no good.
How long are we going to cry? Some may want to cry for ever but I say that let
us also look at Ayittey's other arguments and devote our attention to finding
solutions to our problems in spite of colonialism, neo-colonialism, etc. We
cannot do a thing about these external influences except make ourselves
perpetually mad and incapable of proposing rational solutions to African
I propose that we all --via our moderator--pick any one country in Africa and
analyze her political and economic history, then suggest simple economic
development guidelines with limited reliance on IMF/World Bank and foreign
banks. Then we move to the next country. There must be a good mix between
theory and pragmatism in our discussions about each country.
I bet if we start now we can get the discussions published and donated to the
AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa. In our discussions I suggest that all ratings
and ravings plus whining must be minimized.
Let us go right to the point. Review some historical perspectives, state of
the political landscape and how to encourage democracy, the state of economic
development, resources available locally, and talk about the roles of
investments in education, technology development, health, etc. I am sure most
of us have access to real data that can be used to make our cases for each
country. Between us I am sure our expertise covers all fields of human
development. We should ask for no money for our efforts, just a labor of love
on behalf of our dear continent.
Beating up on Ayittey will not lead to a solution for Africa's problems. The
man has decided to absolutely discount the importance of history in addressing
Africa's problems. But he has some very realistic ideas. On my part I do not
like to get annoyed for a long time. It is simply unhealthy.
Let us ask ourselves whether the colonialists were responsible for the recent
wars between Ethiopia and Eritrea, whose presidents, by the way, are cousins.
Hey, Ghanaians had an election yesterday without serious problems. That is a
positive development Africa must be proud of. Right on, Black Stars.