Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, and other leaders of thought across the African continent have said the current coronavirus pandemic has underscored the need for African countries to change their mindset of depending on help from outside to survive.
They stated this in a letter jointly signed by them.
Apart from Soyinka, the long list of signers to the letter address to African leaders had Makhily Gassama (essayist); Cheikh Kane (writer); Odile Tobner (Librairie des Peuples Noirs, Cameroon) ; Iva Cabral (daughter of Amilcar Cabral, University of Mindelo); and Olivette Otele (Bristol University).
A portion of the letter read, “The challenge for Africa is no less than the restoration of its intellectual freedom and a capacity to create – without which no sovereignty is conceivable. It is to break with the outsourcing of our sovereign prerogatives, to reconnect with local configurations, to break with sterile imitation, to adapt science, technology and research to our context, to elaborate institutions on the basis of our specificities and our resources, to adopt an inclusive governance framework and endogenous development, to create value in Africa in order to reduce our systemic dependence.
“More crucially, it is essential to remember that Africa has sufficient material and human resources to build a shared prosperity on an egalitarian basis and in respect of the dignity of each and everyone. The dearth of political will and the extractive practices of external actors can no longer be used as excuse for inaction. We no longer have a choice: we need a radical change in direction. Now is the time!”
The writers urged African leaders to seize the opportunity of the coronavirus crisis to “break with a model of development based on the vicious cycle of indebtedness.”
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