Rethinking Africa’s Engagement With The World

E E OkpaAs a native African, and one who has lived in US now for more than 25 years, I have been fortunate to expose myself to various aspects of life and believe that nothing is deficient in the make up or creation of a black person be they Africans or African-Americans.

God is not a partial creator, therefore, anywhere he endowed life, He has left resources lying in wait, to enable life and enhance living. We have to allow necessity to be the driver and mother of invention. But if the human factor abuses the resources or inadvertently allows them to lie in wait, they pay a price. Africa has been paying a price and her leadership dancing naked in the world square as they run around like little boys and girls, looking for candies in the backyard of others. Why?

How Africans conduct their business among themselves and others, is all learnt and often hoisted as the way to go. The human being, a competitive animal, once together will seek to dominate, manipulate and control anyone they feel they can run circles around. Therefore, Africans and their scattered cousins and off-springs worldwide, should get off SLAVERY and COLONIALISM aftermaths and behave like they just found themselves.

I intend to write a book that challenges Africans and African-Americans. The book will not be out to blame anyone else for our situation. My mom warned me in unmistakable terms that should she ever see me BEG anyone for what she knew I am capable of doing or can do, she would cut off my hands and take consolation that I have no hands. According to her, even a snake, without hands and legs, moves dangerously and swiftly. It is a lesson that no four walls of a formal institution could impact better. That message has stuck with me forever.

We may not have everything –that is how God wants it. We are called by necessity to device means to collaborate and engage each other for better outcome. But stooping, looking inferior or running after anyone especially persons or ethnicity that already have preconceived impressions that Africans are inferior, is like playing to the hands of someone ready to crush one. We must let others know, the paste may have favored them, but today, going forward is ours and is dictated by desires based on our rules. It is how the world rolls –set your agenda and look for partners. If none shows up, go do it yourself and take all credit. Be a “Nike” – Just Do It.

Sub-Saharan Africa should never have devalued its currencies or agreed to financial conditions that makes her look weak or inferior. There is no rule that says Africa has to be poor or dependent. If there is one, Africans should reverse it and say they are entitled to as much as anyone else – No APOLOGIES.

Put aside annoying degrees and all that foreign assigned senses of arrival which do nothing except make the holder feel good. MBA can be a Minor Business Account or Major Business Account, depending on the holder. Just like having PhD without PHD – Passion-Hard-work-Determination, is more a permanent head damage than anything else. Having such degrees does not make one a great business person or leader. Of all the US presidents, George W. Bush #43, is the only one to have MBA, and he did not become US president because of that degree. Africans must step forward, head high and demand to be respected or never respect anyone who does not respect you. It is a golden rule and should never be lowered for anyone.

When US President Richard Nixon in the late 60s to early 70s literally took US out of the bullion standards which set the Dollar rise as store of wealth for the world, Nixon was shooting blanks both by design and default. The Dollar, a currency that is less than 200 years old, surpassed the Pound. It is never how long one has been around but how well and determined they want to exact influence that makes others take notice. The miracle of the Dollar is not hidden and it is all man-created. God did not wire US its money; it’s earned and printed just like any other currency. That being the case, why is it that when sub-Saharan Africa earn theirs, it is worthless and when they print theirs, it is like water under the bridge? My answer: The leadership is weak and lacks the determination to defer and decline outside prescriptions that often end up worsening the situation.

Read ‘Constitution Money’, ‘Den of Thieves’ to see how money as a tool of global instrument is used to run over unsuspecting nations, and a few people in New York Stock Exchange can make everyone in the world have a heart attack as stocks are manipulated. The Six Functions of Money does not change with geography. What changes is the attitude of the legal tender holder and how confident they are in making others believe in their currency. I leave you with this – ‘were the world to TRADE in one currency,’ immigration would almost cease and the western economies would hit structural shock that they would never recover from. That being the case, they will resist currency harmonization and equalization. But nations that feel they have been dealt wrong hands in trade and investment need not back down.

Were Nigeria for instance, to regain the Naira versus Dollar exchange rate of mid-80s and harmonize the interest rate on borrowed money such that it is in the lower single digits, Nigeria’s economy would rank among 10 Top Economies in the world. With that comes prestige and influence. It is long overdue for a successful black nation in the world, and Nigeria holds that key given its size population and a latent citizenry that is seen/perceived as ‘smart’ and educated but right now, in doldrums as its domestic leadership is engulfed running after one foreign interest or the other. That ought to stop. But since Nigeria is a lame giant and a single commodity nation – literally, depending on what in economics is called ‘Unearned Income’ –oil/gas, it is a joke of the world especially being the most populous black nation but has no clout worthy of mention.

Nigeria’s population is half that of US, but her annual federal government budget source of spending for the entire nation is less than $40b, a figure that most global corporations make monthly. Altogether, it is hard to see corresponding budgets from Nigeria’s corporations that match this single source. Nigeria’s states depend on the federal government budget for up to 75% of their spending, as majority of them merely generate small amounts, and as such are unable to supplement with internal sources. Money is never enough– it is the attitude to money and its ability to be stretched that creates impact.

Nigeria’s non-oil/gas trade as reported recently, for first quarter 2014, is about $330m – N5.5tr, and assuming that the number holds true for the remaining 3 quarters, it can only expect $1.2b. Again, this is nothing to be proud of given a population of 165m people. As goes Nigeria’s federal government budget, so goes the states– an uncomfortable constitutional relationship that strangulates and chokes each other. Despite Nigeria ‘jumping up and down’ as the giant of Africa, its annual revenue from oil is less than $50b and mid-2000 was the first time Nigeria ever made significant revenue from oil, reaching about $70b. I have a record of Nigeria’s oil revenues since 1975.

When Africa was colonized, the currency value was the same in the colonial masters’ home as well as the colonies. But once independence was gained, the colonial masters sought ways to teach the former colonies lessons. Currency Devaluation became a tool of international relations, politics and trade. Sub-Saharan Africa may want to create monetary and currency zones; no more than 4, to handle the wild and wide exchange rates between nations and the hard currencies of Pound, Dollar and Euro. If that happens and they enhance trade among themselves, which currently stands at mere 15%, they will see an increase in the development and stability of their economies. They need not borrow from outside sources except if they have to. Right now, they borrow excessively. That is why their foreign reserve is never at level to stabilize the local currency or enhance growth. Couple that with interest rates on borrowed money that runs in high double digits and loans that are hardly on amortization schedule, and one has a recipe for disastrous and fluid economic outcome. Again, the Six Functions of Money, holds true in all geography. What makes money useful and a utility for economic development is the legal environment that creates its acceptance as a legal tender.

Lome Convention, should be done away with –, so as many other agreements that Africa naively signed at heels of independence or during cold war. These agreements favor foreign control and dominance over development in Africa. Why?

By Ejike E. Okpa,
Dallas, Texas

Culled From The African Executive




  1. We can have a thorough understanding of all this “pushing” for a progressive Africa when we have our own number system, but we don’t, and this makes us produce weak leaders. Let the whole Africa adopt one Language with numbers, I promise everybody that in 100 years we will be at the top.The Whites and the Arabs got the basics and most of you can now understand why they are fighting of course with Israel holding onto part. Le us create our own in that way we don’t depend on anybody. We can do our chemistry to enrich uranium etc. Sorry Kairo I never edit my posts and I can see how they will not make sense, but I feel so happy when I don’t see them published because of the terrors.Here we go again.

  2. Dida Halake

    Ejike E. Okpa says: “…nothing is deficient in the make up or creation of a black person be they Africans or African-Americans…”

    Halake begs to differ, Bro! As Kemo points out, NUMBER is the problem, specifically the Number ONE, as in Moja which means ONE – as in UMOJA which means UNITY! Today the ANGLO-TRIBE Family that rules the World – US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand – are fighting as ONE to destroy ISIS. The “Five Eyes” as they call themselves fought together in every war of the last 100 years – be it World Ward 1 in 1914, World War 2, and the World War 3 that has continued since. The ANGLOS have Five Eyes to look out for Number ONE – themselves. Africa needs the Number One – just like the Jews have the Number ONE etched in their hearts. The Black Man (& the Arabs) have no concept of the Number ONE and that is why they will always be screwed by those who understand Number ONE. That number is MOJA – and leads to UMOJA. The Chinese understand it very well – as do the Russians!

    In conclusion, The Black Man is “deficient” in the Number ONE – he lacks the concept of MOJA, therefore he lacks UMOJA.

    Thank you Kemo for giving me the idea of THE NUMBER (Ha, Ha, Ha!)

  3. Brilliant piece…Very informative, analytical, diagnostic and challenging.. .Another clear testimony that Africa does not lack the informed capacity to address the seemingly, hopeless situations across the continent. …Only the will to do so is lacking for now…

    The concept of the power of ONE (Unity) is, no doubt, essential, but more important is the TRUTH in the concept of “ownership and understanding” of the “tools” that bring about and facilitate Sustainable Development…

    We must understand that our problems are the result of a cleverly engineered system, that assigns a certain role to the (mineral rich) continent to assume/play, within the Global Economic and Financial System…

    None of the “medicines” prescribed by its architects (be it Structural Adjustment, Grants, Debt Relief, Privatisation,etc) and administered by its numerous, well educated, well remunerated and well decorated “foot soldiers”, will turn the fortunes of Africa and her people (as a whole) around…

    We must go back to the “drawing board” and redefine our role and participation in.the Global Economy. ..

    I cannot end here without saying how saddened and disappointed I was, to see how South Sudan was used to argue against any form of union between Senegal and The Gambia…This is how mentally “destroyed” and “blinded” we are..

    Let’s compare the position of those who engineered,supported, encouraged and facilitated the breakup of Sudan into North and South,to their position regarding the Ukraine crises…Whilst they spared no efforts to break Sudan along tribal/ethnic/religious lines (with the South being in danger of further breakup), they are doing quite the opposite to keep Ukraine as one,in order to bring it within a greater EU, even though similar factors/dynamics to that of Sudan, are also at play there….

    A clear demonstration of the understanding of the power of the concept of “ONE”, which we have failed to grasp for close to a 100 years…

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