Adedayo Thomas from African Liberty, an Atlas Economic Research Foundation and IMANI’s African-focused program, told a roundtable discussion in Harare that the concept of a free market was not foreign to Africa.
“A free market economy is not a foreign philosophy. We are supposed to go back to the pre-colonial era and define the systems that we had at that time. Africa was founded on free market societies. People moved from Nigeria to Benin and Togo trading freely amongst each other before colonialism,” he said.
Thomas said free trade was complemented by sound systems of traditional government. He said post-colonial Africa society had suffered from a failure by leaders to transition from independence fighters into administrators.
“We must be able to distinguish between independence fighters and administrators. Most of our leaders who fought for independence are bad administrators,” he said.
Thomas said African leaders should have followed the example set by former South African President Nelson Mandela.
“Mandela knew it so he only gave himself five years and left,” he said. “Independence fighters became the rulers and we became servants. We were taught that capitalism was colonialism. Let us not continue to accept colonialism as an excuse for our failures because we are no longer colonised,” he said.
He said it did not make sense that African countries imposed visa restrictions on other African countries. “It takes one hour to fly from Nigeria to Ghana but it takes two days by road because of the numerous border check points,” he said.
Thomas said that the privatisation drive in Africa had faltered due to lack of transparencyPost published in: News