The world is not going to be the identical when the mud settles after the COVID-19 pandemic. Projections for a post-COVID-19 world are already underway. Will or not it’s an period of recent international energy configurations? How will the affect of COVID-19 form the worldwide social panorama?
Coincidentally, the pandemic grew to become extra noticeable throughout the February 2020 Black Historical past Month. Some had been drawing consideration to important points affecting Africa and Africans. The ‘black lives matter’ chants had been then out of the blue overshadowed by the unfolding pandemic. In Ghana, plans had been underway for a sequel to the profitable 12 months-of-Return program. How unhappy! International tourism is now at a close to standstill.
One would have thought the eye of the world could be centered on collective efforts to fight the novel Coronavirus pandemic however this was to not be.
By April 2020, all method of racial threats had been lobbed on the Ethiopian-born Director-Common of the World Well being Group, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Within the midst of the worldwide turmoil, experiences of assaults on black folks residing or finding out in China started to emerge. What was stunning was the lame try to blame one other ‘scorching zone’ virus on folks of African descent. Admirably, the response and condemnations by African governments and the African diplomatic corps in Beijing had been swift and to a very good impact.
Nonetheless, the pandemic has classes to show about human vulnerability. We should acknowledge that within the wake of this well being disaster, all races (African, Asian, Caucasian, and so forth) haven’t been spared by this non-discriminatory virus. This pandemic has proven how shortly human society can regress into previous patterns of thought and conduct even with a plethora of worldwide treaties and legal guidelines that search to abolish the final vestiges of human errancy. Worldwide treaties could not imply a lot to panicked populations and when it’s a matter of life and loss of life, something can occur on the market on the streets. Scapegoats of each colour can simply be discovered. It solely depends upon the place you might be at any given second and what road you’re strolling down.
Then in Might 2020, one other tragedy struck! George Floyd!!!
All folks, no matter race, can simply develop into victims — and even victimizers – given the circumstances. However what makes Africans and folks of African descent particularly weak to racism and xenophobia?
I mirrored and groped for solutions. I questioned why a few of the main religions – Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and even to some extent, African indigenous faith — had been used to justify the slave commerce and colonialism.
A quote in John Wright’s e book caught my consideration: ‘What are they made for however to serve us? Go and take them, for they’re Kaffirs and we can not do with out them’. (Arab boy, quoted by George Lyon (1820) in John Wright. The Trans-Saharan Slave Commerce.) The writer proceeded to checklist the (4) main sorts of slavery on the African continent from the Fifth Century as much as 1833 specifically:
- Commerce in black slaves via the Saharan Desert to North Africa (the Maghreb).
- Commerce in people from the east coast of Africa throughout the Indian Ocean or the Pink Sea to the Persian Gulf and western India.
- The Nile Valley commerce from japanese Sudan to Egypt; and
- ‘Trendy’ Atlantic slave commerce from the West Coast of Africa to the Americas, the Caribbean – Fifteenth to Nineteenth centuries, ending round 1833.
May there be deep-seated, sub-conscious attitudes in direction of Africa and Africans nonetheless lingering in our fashionable period? I assumed concerning the unimaginable affect of almost a thousand years of servitude and slavery (darkish Africans being the dominant victims) and the way that may have solidified widespread stereotypes of African folks. I attempted to shrug it off, but it surely wouldn’t go away. There’s no silver bullet to repair racist attitudes in our murky world – and racism goes quite a lot of alternative ways. Anybody can encounter racism wherever at any time.
Nevertheless, as Africans, although there’s little we are able to do concerning the previous, it’s inside our innate capability to vary our future. It begins from a robust perception that we are able to create a greater future for ourselves…if we’re actually keen to work to that finish. There’s extra to our story, extra to our previous, current, and future than merely being the ‘slaves, hewers of wooden and drawers of water’ of the world. Some international locations in areas of utter aridity have made it. Nevertheless it takes collective effort to make it. We should develop that profitable mindset.
If there may be one factor to be gained from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s the realization that we should work collectively as one indivisible continent with a vibrant diaspora striving for the next:
- Improved Picture
It’s going to require further hard-work to diffuse or erase the unfavourable pictures about Africa and Africans. The ‘darkish continent’ label was stamped on Africa by outsiders. This led to the political and financial subjugation in addition to the ‘Islamization’ and ‘Christianization’ of a continent. It’s time to embrace science, know-how and analysis to propel our development. The continent should strategize and skirt round our ‘picture woes’ in mainstream media. For instance, the A.U. could assist speed up the implementation of communication and media methods to make sure balanced reportage on Africa and Africans.
Placing the continent’s home so as means a rejection of being the face of distress, destitution, and squalor and that additionally quantities to assuming main accountability for our personal improvement.
- A stronger Economic system
Historical past will choose whether or not (or not) the worldwide neighborhood acted swiftly sufficient to nip the coronavirus within the bud. As that debate rages on, Africa should depend the price in relation to the brunt of the pandemic. The continent should emerge from the pandemic with renewed ‘can do spirit’ of self-sufficiency. It’s a matter of urgency. In occasions of disaster, folks should assist themselves first earlier than serving to others. This bitter fact ought to encourage the A.U. to think about a commerce coverage with a tinge of autarky to guard the African market. Following the adoption of the ACFTA Settlement, it could be advisable to expedite motion on African commerce agreements with different free commerce areas/companions to make sure the continent derives most profit and collective energy from these agreements. There would even be the necessity for crafting a transformational template for granting mineral exploration and mining rights, with the stipulation that minerals should be processed in Africa earlier than being exported.
The over-dependence on processed items from outdoors will maintain us in a perpetual state of impoverishment. Ghana’s One District, One Manufacturing unit and transferring past assist deserves replication elsewhere on the continent. Maybe, by selecting to course of our assets, our companions would start to accord us the respect that we deserve as a result of we might have created a stronger economic system in addition to confirmed that we have now come of age. A resurgent and roaring African Lion would go a great distance towards serving to to vary attitudes in direction of Africa and Africans.
Fortunately, rather a lot goes nicely within the continent due to the benefit of getting a youthful inhabitants. Governments taking motion to offer accessible, high quality schooling deserve the loudest applause. An informed and expert populace will assist maintain the present tempo of the continent which boasts of getting not lower than 5 international locations among the many quickest rising economies on the planet.
- Information and Influence
The lull in international markets (and a fast-approaching international financial recession) means the continent must brace itself with widespread antidotes to take care of the fallout from shrinking markets for African items, providers and tourism. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate affect on folks of African descent in some western international locations. How will this additional affect the buying energy and remittances for African economies? The total extent of the pandemic’s affect may very well be a part of an analysis of the incapacitating debt servicing obligations confronting African economies.
As Africa pushes its approach ahead on these and different points, the continent should come out of this pandemic with new methods for statistical information administration of its human and pure assets. It was so exceptional to see the every day counts of sufferers and confirmed COVID-19 circumstances from the assorted international locations. The continent ought to construct on that plus to create dependable information for nationwide planning and determination making.
The operationalization of ACFTA and implementation of Agenda 2063 are nice markers of political will and dedication. The put up COVID-19 interval ought to witness the profitable implementation of the large regional and international plans not forgetting concerning the SDGs.
Within the nutshell, it doesn’t need to be re-stated that Africans aren’t much less endowed (in schools) than different people. The examine of the rise and lack of affect of civilizations will be our helpful information. Through the previous 70 years, Asian nations have steadily laid the blocks for sturdy economies. That exceptional instance ought to function a supply of motivation for Africa. The Japanese centered on electronics and autos, Indians are into ICT, Thailand, the world’s kitchen, Singapore for cleanliness and belief, whereas China grew to become the world’s manufacturing facility. Was there a time not so way back, when a few of these international locations lagged behind some African and European international locations in way of life?
As for many who hate others on grounds of race or ethnicity, we are able to advise them to go and browse John Howard Griffin’s Black Like Me for the redemption of their souls.
If the innumerable individuals who fought for equal rights, fought in opposition to racism, discrimination and xenophobia, and so forth had been to resurrect at present, will they be shocked that in 2020, some human beings have nonetheless not shed their ethnic, racist and sectarian bigot-tendencies? I imagine Dr. Kwegyir Aggrey, Ottobah Cugoano, Olauda Equiano, Booker T. Washington, Frederick Douglass, Dred Scott, Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr, amongst others, can be reciting a supplication for racial concord and peace in our world.
To conclude, Africa and Africans ought to ask the last word questions: ‘What will we want to be recognized for within the subsequent 50 years? What ethos do we have to drive our progress?’ The solutions are inside us throughout — and — after — COVID-19.
“Hating folks due to their colour is unsuitable. And it doesn’t matter which colour does the hating. It’s simply plain unsuitable” – Muhammad Ali