Productivity of a nation is defined and measured in term of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita, it describes the monetary goods and services produced within a country’s border in a specific time period, which is calculated on annual basis; it includes all of private and public consumption, government expenditure, investments and exports less import that occur within a defined territory.
Africa as the second – largest and second most-populated continent, with 1.1 billion consumers at 2013, has greater potential but has not reached her full productivity capacity. Top 10 countries that appeared on the best GDP list 2013 are Equatorial Guinea, Botswana, Gabon, Libya, Manutius South Africa, Angola, Tunisia, Algeria, and Egypt. It is interesting to know that these top rated GDPs still suffer poverty, bad health, bad roads, bad water; citizens still die of common disease like malaria. It is surprising that Nigeria, the most populated African country consumer for major world’s products is not on this top 10 list and the biggest economy by recent rating, the majority of the population is yet to come out of the poverty lane.
The GDP should be good indication to improving quality of lives of the citizens: People to have a better medicine, more food, longer lives, better education, business boost, more income, more jobs and the freedom for citizens to dream and fulfill their aspirations, the question is ‘’which country amongst the top “Advertised GDP” has the above characteristics?
So what is wrong with African productivity? The answer is in 2 dimensions: The African government and her people; which is the core of this article. I will share challenges to Africans productivity
1. Bad Leadership: Majority of African Government Leaders have Bad Leadership style. They turn the government seat to their a personal property, this act birth corruption in high places and this cascade down to the citizens who also want to eat from the “National Cake”. This epidemic of corruption has eaten deep into our national productivity.
2. Inconsistent Policy: Any change of government in Africa is a fresh start of a new policy. How can there be consistency and sustainability in productivity without a constituent policy. Many projects die on the way to execution when a new government takes over; this is a killer of national productivity.
3. Ethnicity and Nepotism: The Public Service that is supposed to deliver value and execute policies for the nation is characterized by people who have been willed the position by their parents or townsmen. The idea of “Ethic Succession” always kills the nation capacity to produce. Anywhere nation ethnicity is rated above competency; productivity is shattered.
4. Lack of Productivity System: There cannot be a full productivity when the citizens do not have or enjoy support system that will enhance their productivity. Productivity needs an enabling environment. Electricity, good road network, good health system, good education and good communication system are better leverages for productivity.
5. The Culture of Mediocrity: Majority of Africans quickly settles to fate; they are bound by the primitive culture of “That is OK”. Therefore anytime Africans cannot explain anything, they resolve to the spirit world, when they fail to get result they say “That is the way God/Fate wants it” This is the bottom-line to “Continental-Mediocrity-Mindset” and this will never change any nation’s productivity.
In conclusion, Africans must stand up to her bidding and take her productivity to the maximum. There is nothing wrong with the people in government, they are products of the society, until we have new Africans with new mindset of producing rather than consuming, we cannot have a productive Africans for Africa. Wake up, Africa! You have more than enough to show the world: the African Productivity capacity!
President, School of Productivity and CEO, Solvere Word Consult, Nigeria.