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“I am not African because I was born in Africa, but because Africa was born in me”​ K. Nkrumah

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Significance of Africa Day – The Africanexponent

                                                   The Africa day, May 25th

The Africa Day has been annually celebrated on the continent and by African communities in other parts of the world since 1963. It is a commemoration of the foundation of the Organisation of African Unity – now known as the African Union- and a tribute to the achievements made by African leaders over 50 years ago to decolonize the continent and pave the way for a greater Africa .

The main objective of the 30 nations who met on that day of may 25th in Ethiopia, Under the leadership of the Panafrican President Kwame Nkrumah, was to unite Africa and identify post-independence socio-economic development concerns which were plaguing the continent.

Since then, a lot has been made politically, socially and economically to grow Africa. And there is still a lot to be done because, despite being blessed with a rich bounty of natural resources (the continent holds around 30% of the world’s known mineral reserves, including cobalt, uranium, diamonds and gold, as well as significant oil and gas reserves), it has fertile soils that produces cacoa, coffee and tea, Africa is still one of the poorest land on earth with almost 50% of the population living on less than $1.25 per day.

So, why is it that a continent with such vast potential wealth can remain so poor? Why do we see so many africans looking for survival means outside of their home country? why do we still see thousand of people so desperate to quit Africa that they are ready to draw in the waters? Why, 56 years after the Africa Union was formed, the situation of the continent is still looking so terrible?

“The black continent”

My whole life, I’ve heard people -including Africans- talking about Africa as “the black continent”. Not because of the skin of the people living there but because of the multiple challenges we face there.

Poverty, over-dependance on international aid, weak governance and lack of true leadership, endless wars and conflicts, lack of international intelligence, huge dependance to western countries, etc…all these factors are painted in such a negative way by the medias and other analysts that even African themselves tend to forget where the Truth is and develop, together with the international readers and visioners an Africaphobia or a sense of mercy that doesn’t play in favor of the attractivity of the continent. I am not saying everything is false, I am just thinking everything is not that hopeless.

With Africa always being held in bad light, very few of its positive aspects are ever allowed to come to the forefront. I remember when I shared my enthusiasm of returning to the continent, many people not understanding my willingness to leave my comfort zone in France to go back to this terrible place in the world. I’m not even sure they realized how weird their comments were so these biases become unconscious.

These stereotypes sometimes give a wrong perception of what Africa really is and what africans really are.

No, Africa is not a country. It’s the second largest continent in the world made of 54 countries with many different cultures, traditions, and ethnic groups. No, Africa is not all jungle ; the Sahara Desert makes up one-third of the continent. No, not all african embrace Voodoo or black magic, not all africans are polygamous, all african men are not inattentive to their child, all business leaders are corrupt … and yes, Africa has bookstores!

I know every country, every culture has its own stereotype and biasis but I thought interesting to demystify at least few of them, although King Hassan II said one shouldn’t “waste time putting forward arguments in good faith in the face of people of bad faith”.

Some of these stereotypes are sometimes true. Yes, Africa is still facing several challenges as it struggles to free itself from poverty, including weak healthcare and education systems. Yes, Africa has the youngest population in the globe and a chronic unemployment that makes the task our continent faces even more challenging. Yes, Africa is struggling against internal conflicts… But as the McKinsey & Company studies published in Nov 2018 says, ” Africa is ready for an economic boom similar to that of Asia” .

If Africa handles its proper new opportunities wisely, this time, finally, may be the time of african themselves.

The Africa dream is real!

With its population expected to double by 2050 (by 2025, the UN predicts that there will be more africans than chinese people) and its $5.6 trillion dollars in projected consumer and business spending by 2025, with its 400 companies @ annual revenues of $1B or more, with its 89 cities of over 1 million inhabitants by 2030 and the potential growth in manufacturaing output by 2025, with 122M active users of Financial mobile services, 11M square miles of land-three times that of Europe, the continent is becoming more and more important for investors. And hopefully the african population itself.

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These flourishing numbers certainly explain the reason why there has been much talk of an African renaissance in recent years. Europe, Americas and Asia, governments and businesses from all around the world are all fighting to increase their influence in the continent and take advantage of its massive opportunities.

…but unless the business in Africa is beneficial to all parties, it can’t be sustainable and it will not erradicate poverty.

Africa is hungry not because there is no food. Nor because it’s poor. It is just that those who need the food and money are not getting it because, one way or the other, those who have the power and the means have not cared enough to do something about it.

Acemoglu and Robinson assert in their book Why Nations Fai’ that the major difference between developed countries and developing countries is in their political evolution. Developed countries have political and economic systems that are inclusive and offer opportunities for most people to create wealth.

Still, statistics says 80% of the global wealth is controlled by 10% of the worldwide population. If those involved in driving the economic engine are not more inclusive, independently of their community, nation, religion or race (and even gender), if they are not ready to drive the economic engine in a fair way that will lead to including every human being, it is the whole humanity which will finally suffer from it.

As an example, providing good health care and qualitative education for the disadvantaged populations is not charity. It is an investment that creates quality human resources and expands markets, furthering the reach and scope of the economic engine. Leaving over 50% of the population out of an active involvement in the economic process does not make good business sense.

Often, the engagement of Africa with the rest of the world has been positive. New infrastructures are built, new factories, new companies flying in and out… but the results over decades shows it’s still not enough, what is needed now is true economic empowerment. and it goes with solid leadership.

African Union’s 2063 Agenda, “is an approach to how the continent should effectively learn from the lessons of the past, build on the progress now underway and strategically exploit all possible opportunities available in the short, medium and long term, so as to ensure positive socio-economic transformation within the next 50 years.”

Education, entrepreneurship and women empowerment can help Africa thrive in the next 50 years. They have been ignored for too long now. And today, more than ever, we have the necessary resources, capabilities and technology to fix almost all the problems in the continent, provided we finally unite our 54 strengths. Whether we want to do it or not simply depends on how inclusive our economy becomes, and how courageous, visionary and focused on inclusive long term goals, our leaders are .

It’s my African dream : that time for Africa and Africans has finally come.

Elisabeth Moreno

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Africa speaks

IWD2021: BAO 20 African Women Choosing To Challenge The Status Quo

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IWD2021: The International Women’s Day is marked annually on 8 March around the world celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.  The theme for the International Day 2021, “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world” and campaign theme #ChooseToChallenges, celebrates the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, Alaba Ayinuola reached out to 20 inspiring African women across the world to share their thoughts on the IWD2021 theme. Here is what they said;

 

1. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, 6th and First Female President of the Republic of Mauritius: “I have always challenged the status quo. I have never walked the beaten track but made my own. Today 8th March I challenge structures and stereotypes that hold women back. I challenge those women who don’t support each other preventing us to create this great sisterhood of women.. much needed for our advancement..”

2. Oulimata Sarr, Regional Director West and Central Africa at UN Women: “The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us something undeniable: leadership diversity makes a difference, and the pandemic response in countries led by women has captured the headlines. Yet, research on the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world” reveals that only three countries in the world have 50% or more women in parliament. Globally 119 countries have never had a woman leader as a head of state or head of government. At the current rate of progress, gender parity will not be reached in parliaments before 2063, in ministerial positions before 2077 and in the highest positions of power before 2150.”

3. Gugulethu Ndebele, Executive Director at Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls (OWLAG): “What we see in the world today, the gender bias, inequality, discrimination, patriarchy etc., is because of choices and decisions that have been made over time. The fact that nothing seems to change, in my view, is because there is a collective and individual failure to consistently challenge and call out these biases. The fact that, in 2021, women still experience high levels of violence and abuse is a collective and individual failure to call out the systems that allow it to happen and the individuals that perpetrate these atrocities. And so, it could be that this year’s theme is our Call to Action. Our call to change our future and #ChoosetoChallenge discrimination, inequality, GBV, patriarchy and maybe, just maybe, our children will inherit a better world.”

4. Chinwe Egwim, Economist, Author and Advocate:Women’s collective voice is still faint when it comes to policy direction and decision-making across Africa. The need to empower women is fundamental to economic development. The influential role of gender equality on economic growth is directly linked to the participation of women in the labour force. When women are excluded from the workforce, economic resources are wasted. Efforts should be made towards supporting female employees at inflection point by assisting with reducing obstacles women face 4-5 years into their careers. High performing female employees should have some level of direction towards roles and functions that have a direct path to senior leadership roles.”

5. Dr. Tebogo Phetla Mashifana, CEO, Southern African Women in Leadership: May we not be blind to the inequalities, inequities, diversity, and social exclusion in our environment and communities. Now more than ever, the world is looking for women who can stand bold at the front line and say it is not only your struggle but our struggle. We will win together, and we will win by carrying each other. Women let us continue to lead with compassion and empathy.” 

6. Phumza Dyani, CMSO, BBI, & Founder, PANFID:I #ChooseToChallenge ‘Enough about policies, we want to see tangible action and results. I challenge the women to use their collective commercial power to make bold statements of change they want to see. We also challenge men who are with us to show bold moves and not just lip service.”

7. Adesuwa Okunbo Rhodes, Founder & Managing Partner, Aruwa Capital Management: “I choose to challenge the status quo regarding African women accessing capital. We are the most enterprising women in the world but face a $42 billion funding gap in comparison to male entrepreneurs. This funding gap has been further exacerbated by the effects COVID-19 has had on women. Through my fund, Aruwa Capital Management, we are one of the few African women owned and led early stage growth and equity gender lens funds in West Africa intentionally investing in businesses that are for women or by women. By showcasing the outsized returns and immense social impact we deliver through our investments, we aim to change the narrative for African women accessing capital in the years to come. We are challenging the status quo and changing the narrative for women by being a capital allocator. Instead of begging for a seat at the table, we have created our own table where African women are decision makers and capital allocators.”

8. Temi Marcella Awogboro, Investor, Board Director & Advisor: “As an investor in the healthcare industry, I have witnessed first hand how women have stood at the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis, as health care workers, caregivers, innovators and as some of the most exemplary and effective leaders in combating the pandemic. It is no coincidence that the countries most successful in stemming the tide of the COVID-19 pandemic and responding to its health and broader socio-economic impacts, have been led by women… Read More

9. Ashaba Faridah, Pilot & CEO Bambino Life Foundation: “My message to the women out there this women’s Day is; Choose to challenge the harmful stereotypes imposed on us by society, believe in yourself and know that you have so much more offer to this world just like everyone else and more importantly by choosing to challenge and standing for what you believe in, you pave a clear path for the generations of women to come.”

10. Saibatu Mansaray, Retired US Army Officer & Founder, The Mansaray Foundation: “A challenged world is an alert world and this International Women’s Day The Mansaray Foundation is challenging our leaders, our supporters, and the global healthcare community to join the fight for a healthier Sierra Leone. 1 in 73 mothers in Sierra Leone will die in 2021 alone from preventable childbirth complications, making Sierra Leone the most dangerous place in the world to give birth. The need to improve access and quality of care is obvious but to bring about that change, we’ll need everyone to raise their hand and take responsibility for the inequalities that exist in our global healthcare system.”

11. Margaret Adekunle, MBA, Banker, Diversity & Inclusion Advocate: “A woman should not have to choose between raising her kids,  a family and having a career. As a woman and a Black leader, there are days that I take my kids to work when there sick rather than staying home to care for them because of the fear of loosing my job. As a woman and a Black leader, I have learned a lot from corporate Traumas and Triumphs. Therefore, I speak from lived experiences. My voice is my gift and my advocacy for minorities in the workplace is my calling. I will continue to challenge “The Norm” for the greater good of “The silent Minorities.”

12. Belinda Kendall, Founder of Promise Media Group, LLC: “International Women’s Day The COVID-19 has had profound effects on every aspect of life and one year later, we have yet to shake its hold on our world. It is no surprise that women, especially those from low-income and minority backgrounds, have been disproportionately affected by the global pandemic. This year’s Choose to Challenge theme is a call to action to address the gross inequality in our within our communities. We must stand together to advocate for women who are on the front lines at hospitals, working high risk essential jobs, and those at home that have been left bear the burden of governmental failure as they support their loved ones through these trying times. Together we can make a change to ensure the safety of our world when we choose to challenge racial and class inequality, government complacency, and sexism.”

13. Dr. Jumoke Kassim, CEO, Naturescape Consulting Ltd: “The 2021 Theme of the International Women’s Day, “#Choosetochallenge” advocates that we stand in to challenge everything against inequality and bias against women. I stand in to Choosetochallenge in several ways against unfair statuesque. In the same vein, we can choose to challenge everything against sustainable living and lifestyle which can improve our health and lifestyle to shore up our immunity against Corona Virus so we can reduce and eliminate underlying illnesses that gives the virus leverage to grow. Let’s choose to live and eat healthy and cultivate a sustainable lifestyle as women and as families. It will be our greatest weapon against Covid-19. Let’s #Choosetochallenge!

14. Najwa El Iraki, Founder & Managing Partner, AfricaDev Consulting: “Celebrating women’s day means celebrating their contribution and valuing their input to better empower them. I take this opportunity to thank Nada Cheddadi, our Business Development Analyst at AfricaDev for her dedication, agility and strong work ethics. It is a real fulfillment to see that across Africa, successful women #choosetochallenge stereotypes, injunctions and gender roles to pursue their own careers and personal / professional endeavors. Let us all support each other.”

15. Oyetola Oduyemi, Director, Public Affairs (Africa Region) The END Fund:I am really glad to lend my voice to this celebration of women everywhere, on this auspicious occasion of the annual International Women’s Day commemoration, 2021. I celebrate both women winning, and women struggling but pushing through. I identify with women that have borne the brunt of the ongoing…..Read More

16. Elfreda K. Sheriff, MBA, MSc, Founder, KilSah Consulting: “Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world would mean putting women and girls first. Concerted efforts must be made to remove the barriers that limit women’s full participation in the economy. Governments must commit to providing girls access to education, so they can fully participate in our society. According to UN Women, “up to 70% of women and girls do not have mobile devices, Internet, and digital literacy”. We should CHALLENGE THE SOCIAL NORMS that restrict women and girls from achieving their highest potential and participating fully in society.”

17. Meseret Haileyesus, CEO of Canadian Center for Women’s Empowerment (CCFWE): “I #ChooseToChallenge Economic abuse and injustice that prevent women from achieving their highest potential”

18. Munwangari Cynthia, co-Founder, Ukosokoni: “The only way to empower a woman is to provide her financial freedom! Happy International Women’s Day to my beautiful Sisters. I #ChooseToChallenge”

19. Masego Moalosi, CEO, Moalosi Media: “For this year’s International Women’s Day, I’ve decided to set a goal for myself to meet more women who share their dreams and thoughts, mentor young women, and make mistakes. The allure of making mistakes is that they have the uncanny ability to turn you into something stronger than you were before. I’d rather be sorry for what I’ve tried than for what I haven’t.”

20. Crescence Elodie Nonga, Founder of WETECH & EN Group: “This theme gives the chance to women to bring a significant change to their conditions, their rights, and their inclusion in the development of their community. In a period of crisis, women should more than ever be considered as big allies and great contributors to the collective efforts aiming to recover from the pandemic. In a Covid-19 world, no woman should be left behind, marginalized, or excluded. Women have to be more than ever encouraged to make their voice count with the assurance of bringing positive economic, social, and cultural changes to the world.”

 

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Open Letter to President Joe Biden

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President Joe Biden © The U.S WhiteHouse 

The Legacy Premier Foundation joins the rest of the world in saluting and congratulating you and the amiable Vice President – Madam Kamala Harris, on your outstanding triumph in being elected the 46th President and Vice President of the United State of America. It was an all-round resounding victory that showcased your fruitful political career over the years. It was also incredible to know about your magnanimity in clinching the presidential seat. How beautiful It is to see one who gives so much get rewarded! You are an icon as you have consistently expressed your genuine thoughts, and the electorate has regarded this honorary virtue.

Reiterating the words of Fashina, et al.(2018), their study revealed evidence of a long relationship among economic growth, foreign aid, human capital and other growth determinants namely; real domestic investment, foreign direct investment and trade openness. It is also evident in the study that among other factors considered responsible for economic growth, foreign direct investment and trade openness appeared the most viable for explaining growth attainment in Nigeria as there were more statistically significant factors. On this account, we would trust that you will keep on offering the truly necessary help; support and aid for Africa-oriented programs. Currently, we need a great deal of help in the advancement of Africa development.

Going down memory lane, since the escalation of World War II, there has been a significant development in Africa’s general foreign exchange. The development contrasts well to that of other continents, for example, Latin America. The estimation of imports, notwithstanding, has exceeded exports bringing about an unfavourable lopsided exchange for most African nations. One way to overturn this is through foreign aid and grants.

Over the years, there has been a huge surge in African commodities by and large, and this can be credited to the increment in the demand for essential commodities during World War II and in the prompt post-war refurbishment period. Thus, the fulfilment of independence by most African nations, particularly in the mid-1960s was trailed by an offer for economic development that is fortified by the export-expansion drive.

Another wholesome reason for the rather slow growth in African exports is the perseverance of the present circumstance that has been essential for the explanation of the economies of numerous African countries.

To salvage this, the African Union has launched the operational phase of the Africa Continental Trade Area (AfCFTA), which could become the world’s largest trade area, going by number of participating nations, once it’s fully operational. Nigeria is on the verge of developing a national AfCFTA strategy. In Nigeria today, we have the road, maritime and air transport options well utilised, but the railways would have an edge over the others when the trading bloc starts operations because of its relatively lower costs. Nigeria therefore is positioning itself to take very good advantage of these policies to come.

After years of talks, the end goal is to determine one marketplace for goods and services across the 54 African countries, allowing the free movement of business travelers and investments, and making a continental union to streamline trade; which thereby attracts long-term investment.

There is also the “African Growth and Opportunity Act,” (AGOA) which has been the foundation of U.S. monetary commitment in the last twenty years, with the nations of Sub-Saharan Africa and has assisted with expanding two-path exchange between the U.S. and Sub-Saharan Africa.

AGOA builds on existing US trade programs by expanding the (duty-free) benefits previously available only under the country’s Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) program. Duty-free access to the U.S. market under the combined AGOA/GSP program stands at approximately 6,500 product tariff lines, including the tariff lines that were added by the AGOA legislation. Notably, these newly added “AGOA products” include items such as apparel and footwear, wine, certain motor vehicle components, a variety of agricultural products, chemicals, steel and many others.

In conclusion, we see that the agreement will expire by 2025, but we want to see to it that this applaudable act is extended further to help bolster economic development in the whole of the Africa continent.

For this, we humbly request for aids and policies targeted towards trade openness, laxity on stringent policies against migration and support on democratic practice that will enhance human capital and socioeconomic development on the continent. We also offer you our wholehearted partnership in your future works, and we expect your tenure achievement to be all-encompassing and all-reaching.

This wouldn’t just imbue more credibility to your governance, it will be a far-reaching policy towards igniting hope in the heart of the African populace.

We look forward to meaningful collaborations through our organization, Legacy Premier Foundation – a global intergenerational non-profit organization committed to empowering and developing underserved communities through human capital and socio-economic empowerment.

We remain open to a meet and greet opportunity with your team.

God bless the President
God Bless Madam Vice President
God bless the United States of America

Signed: Dr Remi Duyile, Legacy Premier Foundation Management

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What’s Happening To Democracy In Africa?

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Yoweri Museveni and Bobi Wine (Source: PML Daily)

Nobody was genuinely surprised that Uganda’s Electoral Commission declared the incumbent, 76-year-old Yoweri Museveni of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) the winner of the country’s violent Presidential ballot. It was a forgone conclusion. The victory is Museveni’s sixth since fighting his way to power in 1986. Although his 35-year rule has been extended, this time around the desperate groans for change were felt across the entire world.

African leaders have a long history of using violence and fear against political opponents. At the time of writing, Bobi Wine, Uganda’s 38-year-old musician turned formidable political opponent, is under house arrest. Wine insists that the election was rigged against him and his life is under threat. Many of his supporters and close political allies have been tortured and detained by the country’s security forces. After his arrest in November at least 54 people died following protests. This is taking place all under the watchful gaze of the media, the United Nations and the African Union. At one point Museveni ordered the shutdown of the internet. 

2021 will be a busy political season for the African continent with more than 13 countries heading to the polls to elect new leaders. The invasion of the Capitol and the legacy of President Donald Trump is proof that Africa can no longer look outside of its borders for positive influence. Constitutional change, fair elections, independent courts and free media is fundamental if Africa is to truly govern itself. Without these basic pillars of a democracy, civil war is the inevitable outcome.

Somalia 

Presidential Election
February 8th 

Incumbent President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed will face former president Sharif Sheikh Ahmed. The threat of political violence still lingers as the tensions among key parties remain high and electoral preparations are lagging.

Niger

Presidential Election
February 21st 

Former prime minister Mohammed Bazoum of the ruling party will go head-to-head with former president Mahamane Ousmane. Niger is attempting its first peaceful transfer of power since gaining independence from France 60 years ago.

Republic of Congo

Presidential Election
March 21st 

The President of the Republic of Congo, Denis Sassou Nguesso, who is one of the world’s longest-serving leaders is seeking a fourth term. His challengers include Mathias Dzon, who is the former Minister of Finance between 1997-2002 and Guy-Brice Parfait Kolélas, who came second in the highly contested 2016 presidential election that Sassou Nguesso won. Congo is an oil-rich but impoverished country. It is in the grip of a deep economic crisis, triggered by the slump in oil prices but worsened by long-standing debt and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Cabo Verde

Legislative Election, March
Presidential Election, October

President Jorge Carlos Fonseca is stepping down in 2021 following the conclusion of his second and constitutionally limited five-year term.

Chad

Presidential Election, April 1
Legislative Election, October 24

President Idriss Déby is seeking his sixth term in office, having previously overseen the removal of term limits in 2005 and then their restoration in 2018—though they are not to be applied retroactively. The 68-year-old former military leader came to power in 1990 following the toppling of the despotic Hissan Habré. 

Djibouti

Presidential Election, April

Ismail Omar Guelleh, President of the small but strategically vital country of Djibouti in the Horn of Africa, announced in late December he would be running for a fifth term in presidential elections this April.

Benin

Presidential Election, April 11

Benin will hold its presidential election on April 11, 2021, the country’s election commission announced Tuesday. The first round of the election will take place on April 11 in the West African nation, the Independent Election Commission said in a statement. A second round will be held on May 9 if none of the candidates passed the 50% threshold, the commission added. Although current President Patrice Talon said that when he was elected for the first time in 2016, he would remain in the government for only one term, his candidacy for a second term is seen as almost certain.

Ethiopia

Parliamentary Elections, June 5

Ethiopia will hold a parliamentary election on June 5 as Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed seeks to quell political and ethnic violence in several regions. Abiy’s Prosperity Party, a pan-Ethiopian movement he founded a year ago, faces challenges from increasingly strident ethnically based parties seeking more power for their regions. Africa’s second most populous nation has a federal system with 10 regional governments, many of which have boundary disputes with neighbouring areas or face low-level unrest.

São Tomé and Príncipe

Presidential Election, July 31

President Evaristo Carvalho is seeking his second 5-year term in presidential elections in July. Carvalho was previously prime minister, president of the national assembly, and minister of defence. São Tomé and Príncipe enjoys a competitive multiparty democracy and a history of peaceful transfer of power between parties. The 2021 elections are expected to be freely contested and transparent.

Zambia

Presidential and Legislative Elections, August 12

Presidential elections will be held in August 2021. The election will be the sixth (and, he says, last) attempt by opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema of the United Party for National Development to win the presidency. Hichilema was the business-friendly candidate in 2016 who campaigned on fixing the then struggling economy.

The Gambia

Presidential Election, December 4

The Gambia’s upcoming elections will be the first since Yahya Jammeh lost power in 2017. President Adama Barrow’s first term has largely been about rebuilding after more than 20 years of Jammeh’s rule. This mammoth task requires reforming every sector of the country, not least of which the economy and the security sector and finding avenues for the country’s youthful population. 

Libya

Presidential and Parliamentary Elections, December 24

In November 2020, Libyan politicians convened by the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) to sketch out a plan to reunify the country agreed that Libya would have elections on December 24, 2021—the 70th anniversary of Libyan independence in 1951.

By: Juliana Olayinka (Broadcast Journalist)

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