Mindset Shift In Africa Needed for The Continent’s Transformation, Not More Open-ended Foreign Benevolence

President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana and President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, two visionary African heads of State are charting a new course for their nations anchored on “Mindset Shift, Transformational Leadership and Honest Governance”.

Africa has vast and varied natural resources. It also has 1.3 billion human brains. Each brain has 86 billion to 100 billion neurons and each neuron connects with about one thousand other neurons. The continent has plenty of sunshine, more than adequate rainfall and significant arable land in many of the nations. Yet, Africa remains the poorest continent in the world.

How can this be? What is the genesis? What if anything can meaningfully alter the trajectory of the existential reality of Africa’s majority in a sustainable and scalable fashion?

This dichotomy between available resources, natural and human, and the quality of life of the vast majority of the continent’s inhabitants has been blamed on several factors. These include massive corruption, unstable weak institutions, poor governance, the legacy of four centuries of slavery, of colonialism, imperialism and even globalization. While none of these factors can and should be denied, the events of the last four decades in virtually all the nations in the continent point the finger of blame for the continent’s poverty today in a different direction.

By far the most lethal factors holding Africa back are failure of Mindset and woeful leadership. The Mindset failure is a profound disturbance of mental causation and intentionality especially as it pertains to the leaders. What does that mean? It means that the beliefs, desire, behavior and self-centeredness originating from the minds of the leaders are at the very core of most of Africa’s misery today.

The idolatory of the leaders, i.e. worshipping of wordly possessions, pathological quest for power and for accumulation of wealth at the expense of the languishing majority has decimated the continent. Leadership hearts and minds that are totally oblivious to the grinding poverty surrounding them, and holds on to power at all and any cost for 20 years, 30 years or more have all led to the lowly state of the African continent.

What should be done by Africans and non-Africans who are genuinely interested in lifting the continent from the basement and not just in sucking up the abundant natural resources in the continent?

By far the greatest return on investment (ROI) that non-African multibillion dollar foundations, technology giants, governments, global agencies will get on their contributions to the continent’s emergence is the following. Support for endeavors within the continent that emphasize self reliance, mindset shift, honest governance and transformational leadership.

On the other side, African leaders must develop a “Can Do Mindset” that is totally and primarily devoted to the well-being of the general population in their nations. There must be a rethink among the shepherds and also the flock, of the answer to one of the most basic and vital questions for mankind: “What is the purpose of life”?

Until these issues are addressed, not much will change in Africa. It matters not how much money is poured into the continent by the Chief Executive Officers of global tech giants like Google, Apple, Microsoft, Tesla, or those of social media giants like Facebook. It matters not how many startups spring up in the new tech hubs in Lagos, Cape Town, Nairobi, Johannesburg, Accra, Abuja and other African commercial centers.

The tragedy of early 21st century Africa is a reflection of the tragedy of unexamined lives, born out of the mindset of many of the post independent African leaders. Turning this around should be the focus of any attempt to rescue the continent. Any deviation from this centert-piece would further delay the restoration of the continent and mitigation of the pain and misery of hundreds of millions of the inhabitants.

While the poverty and extreme poverty in Africa are real, the good news is that at least two heads of state in Africa have come to the conclusion that the bedrock for fundamental change in Africa is significant mindset shift and abandonment of the culture of dependency. The two visionary heads of State assert that Africa has all it needs not only to thrive, but to excel on the global stage.

President Kagame was speaking at the African Leadership Forum (ALF) 2018 held in Kigali, Rwanda.

No discussion of mental causation and intentionality in the philosophy of the mind can escape David Hume, the Scottish Enlightenment philosopher (1711–1776). This discourse can be found in his treatise: “Concerning Human Understanding”; Book 1, Section 3.

According to Hume, there are three components to the definition of “cause” and our notion of causation. These three natural relations are priority(resemblance), i.e. the cause occurs prior to the effect; contiguity, i.e. the cause and effect are adjacent to one another and necessary connection, i.e. there is a necessary connection between cause and effect.

Clearly, for both President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana and President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Hume’s three natural relations are not just philosophical musings. They are the existential reality of hundreds of millions of Africans. That the reflective, empathetic and imaginative “Mind” must be the center of the center in any effort to develop African nations. In other words, the cornerstone for the ascent of Africa must be mindset shift and shedding the culture of dependency on other segments of the human race, a seismic change in beliefs, desire and behavior.

These two African leaders must be saluted for standing up for the truth and steering the ships of their States along the right path. Hopefully other African leaders will follow in their steps and this new approach to development in Africa will be embraced by the powers that be in the West and the East.

Those benefactors from outside Africa who genuinely wish for the inhabitants on the continent to finally soar on the wings of Africa’s enormous potential are encouraged to support this new focus, the trio of mindset shift, transformational leadership and honest governance. This is the foundation for Africa’s “U-turn” from a culture of dependency to self actualization, from recipients to donors.



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Sylvanus A AYENI, M.D.

Sylvanus A AYENI, M.D.

Neurosurgeon. Founder, Pan Africa Children Advocacy Watch(PACAW Inc) www.pacaw.org. Author: RESCUE THYSELF: Change In Sub-Saharan Africa Must Come From Within