The Problem with Africa

Over time, Africa has experienced multiple setbacks, including slavery, colonization, civil wars, diseases, and corruption. These events and conditions have negatively impacted the continent and its ability to develop. Scholars, political analysts, and media outlets, both local and international, regularly highlight problems affecting the continent and possible solutions. Today I want to explore an issue I believe has prevented Africa from overcoming its reputation as an epicenter of poverty, diseases, wars, and corruption.

Many Africans lack the moral and ethical cognition to do the right thing unless supervised or closely monitored. Although this is not limited to a single person or place, Africans seem to rank last, contributing to the following problems.

High corruption 

Corruption is rampant in African states, undermining economic growth and infrastructure development. Other negative impacts of corruption include wasted taxes, lack of investment, unemployment, and lower public confidence in government officials. Lack of morality causes African leaders and government officials to steal public funds whenever an opportunity arises. In a morally upright society, leaders use government resources efficiently. They do not try to take a share of the money but rather use all of it for the intended purposes. However, the same cannot be said about Africa. Most leaders are always thinking of how much they can steal from the public. Stealing public funds becomes the primary goal while serving the public is secondary.

Government officials demand bribes to offer business licenses and permits, discouraging investment. High corruption blocks investors who could have helped solve unemployment by employing skilled but jobless youths.

Shoddy work

The inability to do the right thing does not only affect leaders but also regular citizens. It is common to see contractors deliver substandard products or services because they want to maximize profits. For example, road contractors use low-quality materials despite quoting high prices, resulting in poor quality roads that get damaged after few years. The untrustworthiness among business people forces governments to contract Chinese or European companies to build roads and other large infrastructure projects. Africans are always trying to get the most out of a situation without evaluating its impact on others. Business people use low-quality raw materials and harmful chemicals to cut costs and maximize profits.

People throw garbage anyhow or overlap when no one is present to prevent them. The garbage issue is a minor subject, but it helps explain how people are incapable of doing the right thing. The same applies to overlapping, where drivers do not observe traffic laws unless a police officer is on the scene. Lack of morals and discipline explains why Africa records one of the highest traffic-related deaths despite having the fewest cars.

Furthermore, it is challenging to trust employees since most want to steal. Such workers cause a business to go bankrupt, discouraging local and foreign investors.


Wars are a common phenomenon in Africa, and the primary causes include political, religious, and tribal or ethnic differences. Africans and their leaders have the power to initiate dialogues and prevent war but continue killing each other because they cannot do the right thing. It takes the intervention of the West or European countries to broker peace talks between warring sides. Why can’t Africans see it’s wrong to kill each other and stop wars without outside intervention? The U.S and EU have to send poll watchers to monitor our elections, and rightfully so because we do not seem to do the right thing.

I have seen Africans accuse the U.S, European countries, and even China of destabilizing the continent. They argue that France or the other global powers fund dictators or rebel groups to destabilize a country and steal its resources. They may be true. However, you must be extremely foolish to allow an outsider to persuade you to kill your brother and sister while he steals your family property. It is time Africans stop blaming other countries for making us kill ourselves. The buck stops with us. Don’t we have the mental capacity to say no to overexploitation and civil wars?

When you pick ten presidential candidates in an African country, approximately eight are corrupt, associate with wrong people, and are willing to kill to gain power. The problem with Africa is selfishness and lack of values. Lack of moral and ethical values reduces the chances of electing an uncorrupt leader, explaining why most states end up with just another corrupt regime despite regular elections. Judges and police officers accept bribes on a large scale, undermining the provision of justice.

The ongoing crisis in South Africa affirms African’s inability to do the right thing unless under supervision. Thousands of protesters are rooting and burning businesses in protest of Jacob Zuma’s imprisonment. It is incomprehensible how people can burn malls, destroy businesses, and damage property in the name of a protest. Even with poverty, why destroy other people’s livelihood.

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