Madi Jobarteh

(JollofNews)- Once again the heads of states in Africa are meeting in their usual bi-annual summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. As usual the pomp and pageantry will take place, wasting public resources at the detriment of the lives of their citizens and nothing will change.

In the first place the Ethiopians do not consider themselves African, at least not like the rest of us. One can see that when you visit the country. It is the only African country where you will not find other African communities living and working in Addis Ababa, as you would find Sierra Leoneans in Banjul, or Liberians in Lagos, or Angolans in Kinshasa or Malians in Accra or Ugandans in Dar-es-Salam, etc. For Africans to enter Ethiopia one has to get a visa yet it is the seat of the African Union that aims to unify Africa. AU must be removed out of Ethiopia!

The high rise building that houses the AU headquarters is built and donated by China. This is the country, which is greedily swallowing the raw materials of Africa with a speed and scale never seen since the days of European Enslavement of Africans. Every year, China makes over 200 billion US dollars out of Africa. This is apart from the damage it causes to the environment in Africa and the tax evasion that its large state companies commit inside Africa. China is depleting Africa’s fishes. Stop China!

The AU said the summit is focused on the youth yet all of these leaders are more than half a century old. By the end of 2016, the average age of African presidents is 66, while the average median age of the continent’s population is 20. Yet majority of this young people are steeped in poverty, illiteracy, conflict, exploitation and oppression by their own governments.

Consequently, scores of African youths are fleeing their motherland through dangerous journeys across the Sahara and the Mediterranean. Many of them starve to death while many more drown only for the rest to languish in prisons in Libya and treated like slaves. Many others are in detention centres in Italy, Spain, Malta, France and UK and many other places across Europe.

Yet the continent is rich in every sense of the word. A study commissioned by the EU Parliament in 2011 found out that currently 500 oil companies are estimated to operate in the African upstream oil and gas industry. The biggest five players with market capitalization between $150 billion and over $500 billion include the multinational oil giants ExxonMobil, BP, Shell, Total and Chevron. Meanwhile the masses of Africa live on less than $2 a day!

As opposed to Africa’s leaders, the leaders of China on the other hand are seriously working to secure the economic and political future of their country. On 5 May 2017 China launched its first passenger aircraft. Already they have built their own naval aircraft carrier while their divers reached the deepest levels of the ocean as their astronauts shoot up to the highest points of space. China is already a nuclear power.

In 2013, Pres. Xi Jinping launched his ‘Belt and Road Initiative’, a visionary blueprint for global economic development in the 21st century for China. Taking reference from the historic Silk Road, which transformed the nature of international trade links in ancient times, the Belt and Road Initiative is essentially a strategy of the Chinese for global dominance.

For that matter they are building roads, railways and sea routes from China across to Europe, Asia, Middle East and Africa covering more than 60 countries carrying merchandise from and to China. The first of such routes already opened between China and UK on 19 January 2017 when the first ever-direct freight train service from China arrived in London after an epic 17-day journey spanning ten countries on its 7456-mile trip.

Meanwhile Africa’s leaders think of nothing other than to stay in power for as long as they wish regardless of their efficiency and commitment to the supreme interests of their people. They preside over corrupt, over bloated and useless governments that are only good at producing more poverty and deprivation. Consequently provision of basic social services such as electricity, water, healthcare and access to roads or literacy among others is lowest in Africa than any other parts of the world. Human development remains at low to medium across the continent.

Freedom House reports that more than 75% of Africans live in ‘Not Free’ societies. The Mo Ibrahim Foundation reports that 10 of the 25 fastest growing economies in the world between 2004 and 2014 are African economies yet these have not created enough jobs for the youth. By 2050 half of the continent’s population will be less than 25.

Here is the shameful list of tyrants and corrupt leaders most of who have already spent more than 10 years in power, oppressing and impoverishing their people with impunity while they enrich themselves and their families and cronies.

1. President – Abdelaziz Bouteflika, President of Algeria (1999–present)
2. President – José Eduardo dos Santos, President of Angola (1979–present)
3. President – Pierre Nkurunziza, President of Burundi (2005–present)
4. President – Paul Biya, President of Cameroon (1982–present)
5. President – Idriss Déby, President of Chad (1990–present)
6. President – Denis Sassou Nguesso, President of the Republic of the Congo (1997–present)
7. President – Joseph Kabila, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2001–present)
8. President – Ismaïl Omar Guelleh, President of Djibouti (1999–present)
9. President – Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, President of Egypt (2014–present)
10. President – Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, President of Equatorial Guinea (1979–present)
11. President – Isaias Afwerki, President of Eritrea (1991–present)
12. President – Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, President of Mauritania (2009–present)
13. President – Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda (2000–present)
14. President – Omar al-Bashir, President of Sudan (1989–present)
15. President – Yoweri Museveni, President of Uganda (1986–present)
16. President – Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe (1987–present)
17. President – Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of Gabon (2009–present)
18. Prime Minister – Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of Ethiopia (2012–present)
19. President – Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa (2009–present)

The time has come for the masses and the progressive intellectuals of Africa to rise up and take back our continent. Africa is not poor yet Africans are the poorest in the world. There is only one reason for any African to be poor! Bad Leadership!

Rise Up, Africans.