I did not know that the Masai tradition is coupled with leadership democracy that is more unique than the Western democracies. The hidden secret has gone for centuaries in a ritual process to choose a leader after every ten years from a youth training camp and the chosen leader has to take the budden of leading the group baring responsibility for both good and bad deeds of this group. It is not just the Masai Homestead as seen from a Western birds eye view but a complex University where adolescent excellence is exhibited.
The Kenyan economist Shikuku James Shikwati might have seen the first snow in Berlin this year but he chose the story of the Masai as an intro to his theory of boycotting the Western Development Aid for Africa to drive the point home. He is coordinating an Inter-regional Economic Network from Nairobi.
James Shikwati knows very well that for over 50 years, Africa has been getting development aid that has never changed the situation on the continent and for him the sovereinity of Africa based on robust infrastructure is the alternative to counter this dependency.
I found myself sitting among the many students and individuals who had come to listen to this indigenous economist from Africa who has written several books and stood on his analogy of pulling Africa out of the statusquo. The continent has all the rich natural resources and a potential to sustain itself, all that is needed was to anchor the sovereinity as a bargaining power.
If the topic “Stop development Aid to Africa” could attract such a large audience to listen and discuss with the Guest of honor James Shikwati, then the different opinions expressed during the debate definately anchored the very theory advocated by this African economist. He was of the opinion that International institutions like WTO, IMF, World Bank etc need to be democratized so that the sovereinity of Africa can be guaranteed.
I was not surprized to note that diaspora Africans among the audience got more interested in the discussion rather than the majority Europeans who only listened attentively. The American gentleman who thought that millions of dollars collected in Seattle to fight Malaria in Africa was a good example of Aid for Africa forgot the fact that Malaria continued to kill more children in Africa dispite this guesture. Pharmaceutical companies use data collected on immunization and research for own profits and the killer mosquito remains immune to the medicine given to prevent Malaria.
Unfortunately time ran out for questions and the audience was refered to the next ssesion that was to take place the next day at the Otto-Sur Institute in Dahlem. Thanks to Africavenir, the think Tank that organized this discussion.