What it takes descendants of the third world to rule a superpower
Saturday November 05 2022
A popular Ugandan traditional saying has it that a rat that lives long enough gets to eat the skin of the cat! Can you fathom the sweetness! Well, an Indian born before August 15, 1947, as a colonial subject of Britain and still alive can fathom the full import of this Ugandan saying as they savour the victorious emergence of Rishi Sunak as Prime Minister of Britain, ‘a mere’ 75 years since his people gained independence. What a Diamond Jubilee trophy!
The rest of us can rely on history books and movies like the great Gandhi film starred by top British actor Ben Kingsley, who was fathered by a Kenya Indian like Rishi Sunak himself, to appreciate the feeling of people subjected to a century of cruel colonial rule on seeing their own taking the most powerful position in the colonial master’s country.
But will Ugandans, also formerly colonised British subjects like Indians and Kenyans, see one of their immigrants’ children (preferably a daughter) rise to rule Britain in 2037 when they mark 75 years of Independence?
Serious, hard work
Well, it takes more than longevity; it requires some serious, hard work as well. But the hard work must also be smart work. And fortunately, in this information age which is maturing into the fourth industrial revolution, the race for leading the world’s economic powers is getting somewhat fairer, with the ground more level than a few decades ago.
However, a community getting one of their own to lead a powerful nation does not come out of the blue. That community must excel in different fields in order to produce and raise enough children whose basic preoccupations are not at the food-shelter-clothing- (and clubbing) -car level so that some of them can invest in higher pursuits.
Those who win then become inspirational symbols for the rest.
Over the past two decade, Indian companies have acquired major European companies in engineering, hi-tech and automobile making sectors worth some one hundred or so billion dollars. These include English staples like Jaguar Land Rover, now a subsidiary of Tata. An Indian UK Premier is really a symbol of seven decades of work logged by his community.
What does it take to propel a descendant of the third world to lead a superpower state, a permanent member of the UN Security Council? We have stated it — a critical minimum of his or her community should have played in the big leagues for some time.
There have been intense business interactions between Kenya with Europe, and between India with the rest of the world. Therefore the rising of such an individual to lead a powerful state which is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council is neither a means nor an end, but just a manifestation of those productive activities and interactions.
The internet and increasing application of artificial intelligence will make it normal for the current generation of young Africans to play in the big technology leagues.
If to this you add Africa’s abundant natural resources that include strategic minerals of significant importance in modern clean technologies, and our youth could even have an edge over their European and American counterparts. That is of course assuming that our elder generation shelves our reckless greed and ensure optimal use of the said resources instead of throwing them away for a pittance that may be enough to excite selfish individual comforts.
If Africa’s little mice don’t mess up, they may taste the skin of the cat faster than the Indians.
Joachim Buwembo is a Kampala-based journalist. E-mail:[email protected]