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During the era of slave trade, tens of millions of Africans were shipped out of the continent and thereby robbed Africa of a critical factor in development, namely productive labor. It wasn’t through the loss of productive labor, however, that slave trade participated in pressing Africa’s ‘retardation’ button with regard to development. By reducing people to tradable commodities, and by treating them as less than human, moreover over a period of more than 400 years, slave trade ‘eroded’ the self-esteem and self-belief of the African person, while at the same time ‘sowing’ self-doubt in the African mind.

 

After slave trade came colonialism. The colonial discourse devalued all meaningful contributions of pre-colonial Africa, selling historical Africa as inconsequential in everything. To the extent that colonialism devalued African achievements and traditions, it promoted the superiority of anything European. Through this and other approaches, colonialism helped to cement the negative belief systems that slave trade nurtured in Africans. The eventual outcome was inferiority tendencies Africans exhibit often, and sometimes sub-consciously.

Role in our inability to get out of underdevelopment

 

The negative belief systems, which slavery and colonialism cultivated and promoted among Africans, hindered the African mind from growing the attitude towards endogenous-led development. The hindrance rendered Africans mentally blind to the in within- (endogenous-) led development. This mental blindness is the main reason why sub-Saharan countries failed to recognize and/or pursue with a firm determination, the path out of underdevelopment. In line with this view, Kwesi Kwaa Prah[1], a professor in sociology, wrote:

[1] Prah K. K. 2011. Culture: The missing link in development planning in Africa. In Keita L. ed, Philosophy and African Development. Theory and Practice. CODESRIA, Dakar.

‘It is the absence of cultural relevance, and the need for cultural adaptations of external inputs into African development planning, that constitute the major obstacle to success in development planning and implementation in Africa.’

Addressing it

 

 

The book ‘Establishing the 2nd MISSING LINK in Africa’s Development Efforts’ was specially prepared for learners in Year 3-4 of secondary school. It goes beyond the confines of conventional career guidance, and engages the belief systems of learners with the aim of growing the attitude (mental clarity) required of their generation, if it is to recognize and walk their country on the path for inclusive development. Buy this book for a child or an institution and support the effort towards promoting inclusive development in your country.

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