By Busayo Sotunde
A recent report released by an independent African monitoring group- Africa Monitor has affirmed that failure to engage the grassroots citizenry will cripple the development efforts of the African government.
The bi-annual report -Development Support Monitor (DSM) revealed that grassroots communities in Africa are not willing to be passive recipient of development rather, they prefer to be actively involved in decision and process that will generate their own sustainable livelihood.
The report says, “When an ordinary African dreams, they do not talk about acquiring copious amount of wealth. They talk about feeding their families. In equal weight, an ordinary African citizen rarely talk about economic growth or improved export when discussing what they aspire to.”
“In a democracy, citizens elect states to be custodians of the nation’s resources to lead and coordinate the process of meeting the citizens needs. The state cannot do this quarterly without listening to what the grassroots are saying to gain understanding of the will of the people.” the report added.
According to the President of Africa Monitor – Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane while presenting the report, indigenous solutions owned by the people of Africa must by default come from the people of Africa and not just the leaders.
On the high rate of unemployment in the continent, the Archbishop blamed it on the consequence of ignoring the grassroots communities. He believes the biggest weakness of Africa is lack of substance and appropriate frame of reference.
Quoting the study, Archbishop noted that development is about people, for people and with the people.
This means the frame of reference for any development trajectory should be ordinary Africans.
Furthermore, the report revealed that Africa opportunities will only materialise if a continent-wide movement similar to that seen during the struggle for liberation- involving political leaders, businesses and the citizenry at large engage in a collective effort to ensure that every African has a source of income, some over their heads, access to quality education and health care as well as the means and capabilities to pursue their dreams in a peaceful environment.
DSM maintains that wealth creation and economic growth are essential tools for sustainable development (of any kind -social, economic or cultural) in Africa.
Africa Monitor is pan-African organisation with continent wide coverage. The DSM report seeks to keep track of commitments made by African government and to promote greater accountability by making the continent more widely known through accessing the extent to which there commitments are being net in real terms as well as the impact on the relevant communities.