Time for Africa to look inwards for solutions

Wednesday, April 29th, 2020 17:56 |
A laboratory technologist performs a swab test on a patient to test for the coronavirus. Photo/PD/JOHN OCHIENG

The Covid-19 pandemic has come with a silver lining for Africa. As usual, we are last in line for essential products that mean life and death for the continent’s survival, with the most basic commodities necessary for curbing the spread of the virus lacking.

With massive curtailment of global supply chains, African countries are now looking inward for solutions.

Ghana and Senegal, both in West Africa, are leading the way with the invention and use of cost-effective equipment in the diagnosis and treatment of the novel coronavirus.

For an idea to be called innovative, it must be replicable at an economical cost, and must satisfy a specific need in any sector.

It involves use of information, knowledge and creativity in deriving greater or different values from resources and converting these into useful products.

Now, the question begs, why does most of Africa seem not to have simple solutions to people’s daily problems? 

Innovation is the driving force behind entrepreneurship. Indeed, it is a mutual relationship where one feeds on the success of the other.

According to a publication by Owls Foundation titled, Breakthrough: From Innovation to Impact, up to 93 per cent of French and American firms in a 2013 survey by Accenture admitted that the long-term success of their business depended on innovation. 

The solution to the innovative lethargy in Africa is in uncompromising patent protection and adequate reward.

There are hundreds of potentially world changing ideas dying in the villages and informal settlements, for the simple reason that the inventors cannot access decision makers in various fields.

Worse still, the former are paid peanuts for their ideas, which are then sold or used to make fortunes for those who have the means to turn them into reality. 

Ad hoc solutions and happenstance are a medieval way of doing business and will keep us relegated to the bottom of the global social and economic barrel for millennia.

And we do not have to reinvent the wheel. We just have to think of new, relevant, cost-effective and efficient ways of doing the same old things.


Meanwhile, the corona chronicles continues. Obviously, inexplicable events like the Covid-19 pandemic are bound to attract the most outrageous conspiracy theories.

While some say it is an act of God, others view the virus as some diabolical weapon meant to tilt the balance of power in favour of certain interests or countries.

Well, let the theorists speak for themselves as follows: “I finally get it. Coronavirus was spread by Italian mafia in order to get their bosses released from jail.

That’s why Italy became an early hotspot, following on China from where the criminal syndicate collaborators provided the germ. 

Dr Fauci who is using Coronavirus to undermine great leader Trump, is Italian and must be part of the mafia plot to destroy the USA.

An obvious co-conspirator is Bill Gates, who stands to profit greatly from hawking of anti-virus kits.

He is also working with the Chinese to build 5G networks to spread the virus across the globe. Simple.”

Then there are those who have indicated they cannot wait for the pandemic to be subdued before they revert to their default “parte after parte” settings. Clearly, human beings do not just get it. 

I will not say much; let me just leave this here: “We will not go back to normal. Normal never was.

Our pre-corona existence was not normal other than we normalised greed, inequity, exhaustion, depletion, extraction, disconnection, confusion, rage, hoarding, hate band lack. 

We should not long to return, my friends. We are being given the opportunity to stitch a new garment.

One that fits all of humanity and nature,” Professor Casandra Brene Brown, US lecturer, author, and podcast host. — The writer is a communication expert, and public policy analyst [email protected]

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