Editor’s Notes: Julius Nyerere was an African visionary and president of Tanzania from 1964 to 1985. Previously he served as prime minister from 1961 to 1964. Nyerere’s philosophy of Ujaama and African self-reliance has often been cited by pan-Africanists and scholars around the world. Benard Semen reminds us that Africans, anywhere in the world, need to join hands to develop their continent.
Let us begin by asking this question: “Suppose there were no foreign nations to depend on, wouldn’t Africans live? Africa is the richest continent on earth. It holds huge proportions of the world’s most precious natural resources. About 30% of the world’s mineral reserves are found in the African Continent. This includes 90% of the world’s chromium and platinum, and 40% of the world’s gold. In addition, 65% of the world’s arable land and 10% of the world’s freshwater sources are found in Africa.
Despite this, Africa remains one of the poorest continents in the world. Most African countries rely heavily on gifts, loans, and private investment from outside the continent, for development.
Revisiting Mwalimu Nyerere’s Development Agenda
President Mwalimu Julius Nyerere once said, “It’s stupid for us to imagine that we shall rid ourselves of poverty through financial assistance rather than our own financial resources.” We cannot solve our problems by relying on foreign aid. so, It’s time to think about how to use our resources for development.
Nyerere believed in the four prerequisites of development which are: people, land, good policies, and good leadership. He did not list external aid to these prerequisites. The biggest problem facing African countries today is leadership. So, what can we do about this?
Myles Munroe had this to say, “An army of sheep led by a lion will always defeat an army of lions led by a sheep. This idea is in line with the ideas of Nyerere who was like a lion because he had a vision for his country. His ideas about African Socialism were met with stiff resistance. But it took a lot of courage, zeal, bravery, and patriotism to implement them.
As such, Nyerere created a strong and unified Republic of Tanzania by prioritizing the nation’s interests.
A Way Forward
As Africans let us think of developing our nations. Let us depend on each other. Many of the countries we depend on were once as poor as we are but because of their own effort, they were able to develop their nations.
Look at the Republic of South Korea and Singapore for instance. In the 1970s they were some of the poorest countries in the globe, but today they are some of the strongest economies supporting many countries in Africa and Asia. We can do the same.
Going by Plato’s wisdom, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Africans can dare to put extra effort into our development. If not us, who will be responsible for our struggle? Let us join hands to change Africa and the world.