Things That Work

Thursday, December 4, 2008

This is a part of the theme of the ongoing international workshop at the Paradise Suites Hotel. We have chosen it as the subject matter of today's discourse because it accords with our conviction that Africans must identify the things that work and apply them for the development of the African continent. And nothing reinforces the theme more than the remarks made by the secretary of state for higher education, research, science and technology, Mr Crispin Grey-Johnson. He said human resource contributes to national wealth. With all due respect to the secretary of state, we would like to say that human resource creates wealth.

There are many countries that have no natural resources yet are able to create stupendous wealth due to efficient application of their human resource. Japan stands out as a good example. By contrast, there are some African countries that are endowed with natural wealth but are yet steeped in poverty, apparently due to poor application of their human resource. It all goes to show that it is not what you have that matters, but how you use what you have. It is the human resource that makes the difference.

When we talk about human resource, we should not leave out the issue of leadership because effective leadership inspires the followers to give their all to national goals and aspirations. A country rich in well trained and well mobilised human resource, and led by purposeful leadership, is bound to be far more prosperous that the one with an ill trained and poorly co-ordinated human resource.

It is therefore important for us as a people to invest a lot in our human resource. We need the well-trained manpower to exploit our mineral wealth and to ensure a just and equitable distribution within the framework of an open society.

The converse of the theme is also instructive: the things that do not work. The things that retard progress in Africa are corruption, nepotism, ethnic cleansing, religious bigotry, political victimisation, and senseless wars. Even where there is a superabundance of highly skilled human resource, it will count for nothing if corruption is rife; ethnic cleansing is condoned; or the faithful of differing religions fall on one another.