Ehiedu Iweriebor, left-leaning historian and the first to reconstruct the radical moment in Nigeria's colonial history, challenges previous speakers to engage the debate in a different manner. "The salvation of Africa and he creation of Africa of our dreams" he says,  "rests
exclusivley with Africans and within Africa. This discussion initiated by Toyin Falola has provided the  opportunity to air several concerns. Some of them recycle perspectives on Africa that merely leads us to dead ends. they need to tackled and surmounted; while others have advanced progressive ideas but don't go to the logical conclusion."
The discussion below is wide-ranging.

The salvation of Africa lies in the development and propagation of an
endogenously derived doctrine and strategy of development that I refer to as
African Liberated development. In its simplest formulation it means the
promotion of a path of development which self-consciously invests in the
domestication of the technological, scientific, human industrial capacities
for mass production of gooods and services with African resources. The verdict
of history is that all societies which have successfuly developed and are today
prosperous and capable of self-sustainable development have done it on the
basis of the systematic and unflagging investments in national technological
capacities. These became the  basis of mass industrialization and the
generation of social prosperity. Leavened with an ideology or social compact of
egalitarianism and social justice such societies are then able to  provide for
the needs of their people on an incremental and equitable basis.

This revolution can only be undertaken by Africans within Africa with the
strategic aid of Africans abroad. Therefore the debate should not be whether
Africans stay abroad or go home. It is besides the point and only creates
needless psychological agonizing and ultimate inaction. What Africans abroad
should do among others is to partner strategically with gorups within Africa
which are committeed to Africa's transformation. This is not going  to be easy
at this moment in history when Africa is in state of ideological confusion and
uncertainty brought about by nearly two decades of the creeping re-colonization
of the continent by the multilateral imperialist agencies - World Bank and IMF
with active complicity of their African political, intellectual and
technocratic collaborators. Their great success has been to defeat even the
modest reformist nationalist ambition of Africa's primary responsibility for
its upliftment with the help of its "supporters". Today, the sing song is the
tired, failed and unproductive one of development by Foreign Direct Investment.
That African political leadership and elite in general have come believe in
this fantasy of African development by external actors, decisions and actions,
is a measure of the Africa's renweed ideological defeat and the victory of
Africa's historical colonizers. There is no evidence anywhere in history in
which transformative national development has been brought about primarily by
external factor. To undertake continetal trasformation for prpsperity and
power, Africans have to come to the simple but apparently difficult realization
that nobody, people or nation or so-called international institutions owes us
anything. They participate in Africa to profit: either materially or
psychologically, or intellectually by using Africa to test out textbook ideas
that have been practiced no where. If Africans choose to remain in the pathetic
position of supplicants they deserve to remain where they are. Yet it is also
clear that large numbers of Africans wish to propel their countries and the
continent as a whole onto the pathways of self transformation, prosperity and
power. Thos who subscribe to this perspective must begin by organizing ideas
and process to shed ourselves of the deep-rooted pathology of dependency in its
various manifestations: intellectual, technical, economic and so on. We must
boldly develop new visions and new strategies which transcend the disabling
dogmas of the present whic are today sold as  "reform" alias "structural
adjustments" and its various off-shoots.


 Part of the process of this move to generate an African-derived transformation
and renaissance is to work toward self-understaning. This means that we must
create a new scholarship that is grouded not on received interpretations and
perceptions, and descritions of our reality, but develop bold and original
conceptualizzations of of our hsitorical process in all its successes and
failures. This would require the new perceptions of our societies through the
the intellectual apparatus that we create for perception, interpretation,
analysis. In other words, we can not transform if we continure to perceive and
describe our complex social relaities with epistemology of the colonialiam and
the colonizers. We need to formulate, investigate our past and present and
promote our development process through what I have called the liberatory
This means for examples that notions like Afro-optimism and Afro-optimism must
be understood as the expressions of the either/or binary construct of Western
social science and thought. For so-called liberal pro-African Westerners, this
framework was created to  deal with the ups and owns of Africa's development.
But any historically informed  consciuousness makes it clear that human
societal development is not a unilinear one way drive from tradition to
modernity. Infact, the twists and turns of development and the struggles of
human gorups to asdress and resolve challenges thrown up by societal evolution
is the stuff of human history. In this case, with this awareness, serious
processes of development cannot be frozen into the framework of pessisism or
optimism. The critical issue is to identify the ideas, processes and
investments which have put peoples and countries on the trajectory of
irreversible self development. Once this is in place, the outcome is often
clear: prosperous, powerful and self-sustaining socieites. Location such a
trajectory thereby transcends the uncertainties of the  constant possiblity of
movements between optismism and pessimism. In this regard, we should recall
that there was time in the 1960s and 1970s, when  outsiders fabricated an
Ivorien ad Kenyan "miracle".  The same is true today of the much touted
Botswanan and Mauritian "miracles" which African intelligentsia who habitually
perceive  their world through outsiders lenses and approval now tout as
"models". But we should be reminded that these are raw materials producing
countries. There is no history of primary commodity producing and exporting
countries ever creating self-sustaining prosperous societies.  Africa will not
be different. The crash of these raw materials based "miracles" is only a
matter of time.

Those socieites which have developed have done this partly on the basis of
critical respect for their past and the unblinkered understanding of their
present as a basis for the creating powerful self-direced future. This means
that we should study and know all Africans leaders in all fields who have
contributed, good and bad to our situation today. But for continental
trasnformation, leaders who were/are forward ideologically autonomous,
visionary, looking and aspired to create an autonomous, self-regenerative
Africa should be our focus. We have had and still have leaders who believe that
Africa can never stand on its feet and promote its development without external
push or support. But they are as much part of Africa's problems as their
external mentors who need Africa to live out their colonial humanitarianism.
Thus we need a critical invetory of African leaders who have left us lessons of
the possibility of Africa's self-propulsion.

In the final analsysis, American elections which ever way it goes, should matter
little to Africa and Africans. It is the business of which ever American party
wins to promote America's national interest first and foremost. If this
involves demonizing Africa as the land of AIDs and other pathologies, it will
be done. What should matter to Africans is to understand that Afria can only
achieve, transformation, prosperity and power on the basis of the embarking on
the vaery dificultu and hard road of the restoration endogenous agency as the
motive force of Africa development. No matter the ideological path chosen,
societies which have made it have done this on the basis of absolute faith in
their peoples capacities to move mountains and create beautiful, powerful and
rich lands. Our forebears from Egypt, Kush Axum, Benin, Zimbabwe, Kongo, Ghana,
Mali, Songhai, and Kanem Borno among others did it and we can do it on an even
much better and grander scale. That is the historic challenge and
responsibility of this and subsequent generations of Africans.
Prof. Ehiedu Iweriebor,
Departmentof Africana and Puerto Rican/Latino Studies,
Hunter College, CUNY,
New York, NY 10021