Cut that dependence on foreign aid

Cut that dependence on foreign aid

Ask a group of Basotho whether they want Lesotho to integrate into South Africa and I guarantee that the response will reveal the high level of patriotism in the country.
Regardless of Lesotho being commonly described as “a poverty stricken country” and South Africa as “one of the largest economies in Africa,” Basotho will not agree to relinquish their heritage.
It reflects the love they have for their country and suggests high hopes for the future in so many ways. This is somewhat comforting.

It is especially comforting to notice young people making a concerted effort to rewrite the narrative around the problems bequeathed to them from years of a poorly governed state.
To mention a few yet familiar issues, a centralized government and minute private sector that have crippled the country’s economy for many years has resulted in the catastrophically high unemployment rate. But there’s hope.

The adage that says heroes are born in adversity is slowly manifesting through the young people of Lesotho.  If it weren’t for a generally sluggish global economy, cleverly thought out business ideas like Spetzo’s woodfired pizza and Q4U queuing services would not have seen the light of day. But let’s be honest. The days of being narrow-minded are over.

While we may all agree that blatant corruption, going to the polls prematurely and reshuffling the cabinet are very expensive tasks, our problems as a country need to be viewed within the context of the trends occurring worldwide.

Remember the maxim that when America sneezes the rest of the world catches a cold?
It’s still relevant although perhaps on a smaller scale than in yester years considering that China is hot on the heels of the economic superpower with America’s economy standing at $18 trillion vs $11 trillion of China’s economy.

This is significant considering that China’s economy is on an upward trajectory.
It’s even more important for us to keep our eyes on the Trump administration due to his pro-American stance which may translate into a new epoch that undermines the value of globalisation as we know it.

His views on immigration and trade are bound to have an impact on our heavily reliant AGOA and US-aided economy.
The point I’m trying to make here is that we need to start being more self-sufficient if we are to survive in the future.
Personally, I don’t think there’s anything more crippling to a state than aid.

While we really do have a problem with poverty, handouts are not the solution, otherwise, we would be seeing progression in our country and indeed on the continent.
Instead of handing out perishable goods intermittently, businesses such as the ones mentioned above should be supported.

In other words teaching a man how to fish is more sustainable than handing out fish that will only be good enough until the next hunger pang strikes.
In fact, some research indicates that there is a negative correlation between countries which receive more aid on one hand and poverty on the other.
The more aid a country receives the more impoverished it gets.

Many economists substantiate these findings to the fact that aid leads to inefficient governments, mismanagement of funds and leverage created whereby funders are able to dictate terms to satisfy their own interests in a particular state.

But since I’m not an economist I am not pressured to conform to these opinions.  As a result I choose to attribute this unfortunate phenomenon to what I would like to call the “ahlama u je” syndrome.  Somehow we have neglected our own ability to survive and have given that power to those we elect into office.
That’s not a bad thing but with the Trump administration and Brexit all of us should realise that a new day is dawning and the sense of community created by an interconnected world is under threat.

Whichever way you look at utterances such as “America first” by President Trump, the message is clear: it’s one man for himself!
What that means is that we need to adopt the philosophies of people such as Thomas Sankara, the former president of Burkina Faso whose lifelong work centred on teaching people how to be self-sufficient.

All of us need to take a page from the book of these young entrepreneurs in our country and start thinking out of the box because the way things are headed we are going to need it, if not for us then for future generations.  Let me leave you with one of the most profound quotes I’ve come across in a long time:
“We are experiencing a reality based on a thin veneer of lies and illusions. A world where greed is our God and wisdom is sin, where division is key and unity is fantasy, where the ego-driven cleverness of the mind is praised, rather than the intelligence of the heart.” – Bill Hicks

Thato Mokhothu-Ramohlanka

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