Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Open Secret to America's Resilience

Obama's exuberant inauguration and his inspiring inaugural speech have in some degree mitigated the collective worldwide opinion that America's super power status was coming to an end as the country grapples with its current financial markets turmoil.

The secret to America's enduring capacity to overcome adversity has always been its unsurpassed ability to attract diverse enterprising immigrants with excellent talent and ability from all over the world and above all, guaranteeing their liberty while harnessing their skills and energies with fair and just rewards that not only enriches their lives but that of the country at large.

Diversity and its uncanny ability to learn from past mistakes is the fuel that drives Americas resilience.

In contrast, uniformity, especially in our leadership, coupled with xenophobia and a reluctance to learn from past mistakes is Africa's enduring dilemma.

Zimbabwe is the extreme exemplification of this dilemma; or the expulsion of Asians in Uganda by Idi Amin.

This xenophobia may stem from our colonial legacy and the resentment many Africans from that generation felt towards their colonial masters.
The irony of this dilemma is that colonial rule, not withstanding its abuses and excesses, attracted and exploited talented groups from around the world to develop Africa.

Not realizing the value of diversity for our development, our post colonial leaders instituted policies that discouraged and literally put an end to most foreign entrepreneurs and investors. The lingering burden of one man rule ideology that festers ineptitude, does not inspire serious investors to come to Africa either.

Africa's intolerance for dissent, paternalism and xenophobia are our most formidable stumbling blocks to progress.

Having our leaders flying around the world in executive jets, while a large percentage of our population walks around barefoot, with no running water or electricity in their homes, is nothing but a pathetic spectacle.

... "and though totalitarianism or technocratic government can obtain some swift successes, in the end, only a democracy can enlist a people's energies on a sustained and renewable basis. To guarantee the individual maximum freedom within a social frame of minimal laws ensures — if not happiness — its hopeful pursuit."
John Updike 1933-2009