Solomon Mugera and his guests live in the capital of Venezuela, Caracas, will take up this question on BBC Africa’s “Have Your Say” radio program on Wednesday May 17th at 1600 GMT.
Having been interested in this question for a long time. Should Africa look to Latin America or Asian Tigers, etc? I felt the need to put my few cents in (more than 2 cents and less than 5!) – and it was posted on the BBC site. Here’s the edited post they published (edited for good reason) and my slightly longer version below.
Have a great weekend!
Should Africa look to Latin America?
Latin American countries have about one and a half centuries more experience in independent statehood and they have gone through many phases – such as liberalization in the early 20th century, import substitution industrialization, the development and institutionalization of regional economic communities – and although there have been many setbacks, the people have the national and collective Latin American experience and history to look back and learn from their own mistakes.
For Africa it would be ideal to learn from the experiences of Latin America but realistically newly independent nations in Africa have scarcely learned from the experiences of some of the first independent states in Africa, so how can we expect the continent as a whole to learn from the experiences of another continent and apply them? I think one of the major differences is the level of civic engagement in the political arena in Latin America and particularly when it comes to mass mobilization. These are the people who are electing presidents like Morales and Chavez.
In many African countries people are still not demanding things from government and many don’t have the luxury of daily security such as employment, health, education, etc. in order to occupy their time doing so. Social and Economic rights and Civil and Political rights are being pursued simultaneously in African countries and more rapid globalization in the last 25 years, HIV/AIDS and Malaria have all exacerbated this pursuit much earlier and deeper on our ‘critical path’ to development than it did with Latin America. So yes, we ‘should’ learn, but will we? I don’t think we can.