"Africa is not an UNDERdeveloped continent, it is an OVERexploited one."
Yes, yes, yes and yes. I hate when people compare Africa to the developing world and deem it “underdeveloped”. People forget that the “developing” world only formally released Africa of it’s colonial shackles some 50 years ago.
Raindolf Owusu, a software developer from Ghana, has published this post about some of the challenges a software developer living in African has to cope with. He titles his post, Agonies of an African Programmer, and after reading his piece I realize we share similar sentiments about how the African continent is the new land of opportunity, so long as it’s leaders can get their priorities straight and stop being greedy.
Raindolf outlines seven agonies in his post in which he elaborates on the frustration himself and other developers are faced with. According to Raindolf, technology in Africa is generalized, or thought of as coming in a “box.” Prepackaged, and can be purchased off the shelf. “Let’s all visualize technology as a process and something we are going to build ourselves here in Africa,” he writes. But in order for technology to be visualized there needs to a sustainable infrastructure to enable this realization. The Government and private sector industries must do more to create the backbone where this process can thrive.
Out of all the agonies the African programmer faces, the most poignant, in my opinion, is an unstable source of power. Ghana is still heavily dependent on hydroelectric power, and has been for quite a while—ever since the Akosombo dam was commissioned in 1966. To put things in perspective, that’s 46 years of primarily depending on rain-water to power a country, now of about 25 million people—it’s unsustainable. Ghana is now going through a period known as load-shedding. This is when different electrical grids in the country are rationed with power. So one section of the country may have power from 6am-6pm, and another section from 6pm-6am. I first witnessed this load-shedding back in the 90s, and again in the early 2000s when I lived in Accra, Ghana. It’s unbelievable to learn that it’s still happening after all the talk about the West African Gas Pipeline and how it would provide another source of energy for the country.
“Africa actually enriches Europe; but Africa is made to believe that it needs Europe to rescue it from poverty. Africa’s natural and human resources continue to develop Europe and America, but Africa is made to feel grateful for aid from the same quarters that still sit on the back of the continent. Africa even produces intellectuals who now rationalise this upside-down way of looking at Africa”
- Ngugi wa Thiong’o