Professor Akua Opokua Britwum, Associate Professor of Gender and Labour Studies at the University of Cape Coast, has called for dialogue on measures to wean Africa off the international capitalist system to set the continent on the path of economic independence. She argued that the capitalist system ‘is not the solution to Africa’s problems’ and cautioned that the current development model implemented by African countries ‘is going to collapse’ and worsen the living conditions of the people. Prof. Britwum made the call in an interview with the Ghana News Agency at the launch of an African Development Journal titled: ‘Lessons to Africa from Africa.’ The Journal is a collection which recovers insights from the revolutionary governments of early post-independence Africa to confront today’s development challenges. It encompasses case studies from across the continent, which details African development alternatives in areas across development planning, finance, industrialisation, among others. Prof. Britwum said the unification of Africa should be possible because no African country would be able to succeed on its own. She said failure on the part of African countries to break away from western economic paradigm and build its own systems would spell doom for the millions of educated young people who continue to wallow in unemployment. ‘We should begin a discussion about how we leave this international capital system. There is no way this capitalist system is going to change and get the benefits. ‘We need to be talking about how we connect around the continent and provide a viable alternative to today’s multinationals and even trading among ourselves. We don’t have our sovereignty if the dollar continues to be our standard,’ she said. Prof. Britwum’s contribution to the Journal focused on Post- Independence Development Planning in Ghana and Tanzania. She said in spite of the global and financial setbacks that sought to derail the economic emancipation of Ghana and Tanzania, the post-colonial governments at the time laid robust foundation to transform their countries. She disagreed with suggestions that the development plans initiated by the governments at the time failed to materialise, and blamed lack of continuity of the plans for the inability of the countries to realise their full benefits. ‘Even though we did not realise the full benefits, it laid a certain foundation that grounds Ghana in a certain space. Even the cloud that Ghanaians have, the integrity and leadership is also because of what Nkrumah represented on the continent. ‘In Tanzania, the internal cohesion, the Swahili language that has become the common language in East Africa now is something Nyerere pushed so we cannot say that the foundation they laid failed,’ Prof. Britwum said. Mr Tetteh Hormeku-Ajei, the Head of Programmes at the Third World Network-Africa, and co-editor of the Africa Development Journal, blamed the challenges confronting the continent on ‘genuine crisis of leadership.’ ‘We have to produce our leadership for our time to the combination of the movements, the people who rise from them, and the demands we make to leadership,’ he said.
Source: Ghana News Agency