Source: www.africanakua.com| Ngwenekome Priscilia Ahone, Cameroon (Yaounde)
African leaders have been noted to mostly invest in material resources given the resource-rich nature of Africa, yet this continent’s countries lack highly trained experts to manage these resources for their development.
In the past years and even in this 21st Century, African leaders do invest in material resources by exporting mainly material and mineral products like timber, cooper, gold, diamond, oil, fish, cocoa, banana, nickel and uranium to countries out of Africa. Yet, most of the African countries exporting these resources to European, American and Asian countries are still in the developing stage due to lack of experts trained to solve crucial anti-development issues.
However, the above mentioned continents importing from Africa mostly do invest in human resources (trained people to get their countries out of problems) and this in turn makes them more developed than Africa.
According to official and international sources, Europe and Asia who invest highly in human resources are extremely developed than Africa which is rich in natural resources. Africa is also less involved in human resources than they are.
Most top resource management institutes in the former continents like the Tokyo Institute of Technology in Japan, Tsinghua University in China, National University of Singapore, NUS and London School of Business train their young citizens on measures of augmenting the development status of their country. However, though such establishments exist in Africa, they are not properly skilled as compared to the above institutes.
Aljazeera’s online report in February, 2018 revealed that the northern part of Africa has oil and gas deposits. The continent also houses five of the world’s top oil producing companies in countries like Angola, Algeria, Tunisia, Mozambique, Kenya and Chad. It is estimated that 57% of Africa’s export earnings are highly from hydrocarbons. Yet, it continuously demands expertise in natural resource management from different continental countries.
This relates to a training workshop that recently occurred in Cameroon, where a Russian University, RUDN had to train some students on mineral exploitation, regarding the discovery of close to 200 mining sites in the country. [https://africanakua.com/2019/08/20/cameroon-russian-academics-to-train-cameroonians-on-mining/]
According to ECPDM Media Centre, Most African countries rich in affluent treasures like Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Tanzania, Burundi, Senegal, Cameroon, Kenya and Libya lack specialized institutes of training the management of their wealth whereas human capital features is one of the factors in the African Union Plan of Action for the Acceleration of Industrial Development in Africa (PIDA) and the Agenda 2063.
Moreover, many African countries prefer to export their resources to foreigners for extractive operations, than to process and use their products domestically.
Niger which is Africa’s first site of uranium exports it to France but doesn’t use it nationally; in fact there are no uranium transformation institutes in Niger.
Sierra Leone which is rich in diamond, titanium and gold ironically has 70% of its citizens living in poverty, and they mostly depend on agriculture for survival.
ECPDM further revealed that the problem of getting a proper natural resource management in this super rich continent is favoritism and tribalism mostly practiced by its leaders. It gave an example of how the former president of Central African Republic, Bozizé replaced most of his skilled civil servants with inexperienced members of his tribe (Gbaya), in the ministry of mines, energy and water resources.
This system that is practiced in other African countries like Cameroon and Nigeria limits human capital investment which is detrimental for these nations but profitable for foreign investors.
With African leaders focusing on investing raw materials than human resources, little added value is expected because added value is gotten from processing and manufacturing local goods which require additional skills. Since the export of unrefined resources has also led to an increment of national revenue without the need of these skills, most commodity dependent African countries give less importance to human capital.
This has in turn led to Africa being the world’s lowest level of tertiary enrolment in education according to the African National Resources Centre in 2012. The center further revealed that the total natural resources export in Africa is 77% with 42% of government revenues.
Official statistics and sources have also revealed that the lack of qualified human capital in Africa is the continents high dependence on foreign markets and their expertise which has made African leaders not to regard the implantation of specialized training institutes in their territories.
With the high profit gained from foreign markets, the investment required in human capital becomes unimportant and high dependence on primary commodities steps in. Africans therefore rarely consume the end produce of their natural materials, which are hereby consumed by foreigners.
All in all, the more the African economy keeps depending on foreign advanced knowledge for developments, the less it will invest in human capital.