by Vincent Anani
This is a new African story, a story summarized in a simple cliché, and it is the compass for the new dawn and future of the Dark Continent. It’s a burden of a new future carried on the backs of young Africans forging new paths where their fathers have let them down. It’s the new African story – Africa Rising! Beautiful cliché it seems but is it the reality, I constantly probe.
According to The Financial Times, Africa Rising is a “narrative that improved governance means the continent is almost predestined to enjoy a long period of mid-to-high single-digit economic growth, rising incomes and an emerging middle class.”
This narrative of “Africa Rising” is reflected in part by the rate of foreign direct investment (FDI) into the continent, increase in African consumer spending as well as a growth in entrepreneurship. Some say that Africa is the next frontier of the global economy but I think it’s more of a battleground for Western powers, perhaps another Berlin 1885.
Africans themselves are defining a new landscape for the future no doubt. From innovative tech start-ups to creative solutions for social problems, from new business initiatives to ingenious social entrepreneurship. From Cairo to Capetown, Nairobi to Lagos, young Africans are taking up the challenge of the 21st century to re-write their place in history. Young Africans displaying raw passion, energy, dreams, hope, survival instinct to etch out a purposeful living in a seeming difficult circumstance.
The big question is: Africa Rising – Is it a true reality or grand delusion of false hope? Can it stand the real test of time? What is the impact of this on the fisher man in the creeks of Niger Delta, the Masai hunter in East Africa or the market woman in Brazzaville?
I am not a harbinger of doom or a pessimist, I sincerely desire an Africa where dreams are realised, and potentials are fulfilled, where life expectancy is good, war is a thing of the past, and the countries are economically healthy. Africa that no longer go bowl in hands begging for foreign aids. These beautiful phrases and statistics would mean nothing if life is not better off for the common man.
If Africa must truly rise and ‘stay risen’, we must depart from the shackles of colonial mentality by taking our destiny in our own hands. We must not play into the hands of neocolonialism. We must not allow ourselves become the ground for proxy wars.
Emerging leaders must not continue to weave the clothes of past leaders, the culture of selfishness, greed and corruption.
Rwanda is a shining example of the potentials of innovative leadership, Nairobi is rising technology hub, Tanzania is growing steadily, Ghana is emerging as a stable, steady economic power and stability is returning to Sudan. Truly there are flashes of brilliance all over the continent. Even though we cannot ignore the realities of insurgency plaguing some parts of the continent, AIDS and Malaria still casting a cloudy shadow over us.
Agriculture, Power, Energy, SMEs, Technology etc. if rightly harnessed are all options that can take us from where we are presently to where we should be. Africa can rise and it’s up to only Africans.