September 30th, 2010
03:54 PM GMT
There are many theories about why Africa has been left behind economically, and the debate often degenerates into a blame game.
Colonialism is at fault, say some. A cycle of victimhood is entrenched by a culture of dependency on aid, say others.
Many say Africa has been shut out of markets and denied the means to compete on a level playing field.
The latest addition to the debate comes from a South African academic, Greg Mills, who has written a book called “Why Africa is Poor: And What Africans Can Do About It.”
He argues Africa is poor because “Africa’s leaders have made this choice.” It’s a controversial angle, but the basic premise that poor leadership has steered generations of African countries down the path to poverty is not new.
All of us who live in Africa can name leaders – from presidents to local municipal workers – who have made their communities poorer. It's not just the Mugabes or Mobutus of this continent who have shattered Africa’s promise, it is the often nameless, mid-level workers whose corrupt or incompetent actions result in schoolchildren not getting books, for example.
We interview Greg on Marketplace Africa this week, so watch the interview for more of his analysis.
However, I wanted to know from you: why do you think many parts of Africa have not realized their potential after more than 50 years of independence?
What is the secret formula? Is there one?
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