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.
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.
The Society Expects More From Youths
Hear Ariel Foundation International Young Associate Ambassador, Abigail Oppong as she elaborates on the need for youths to step up their game and create more impacting works for society.:
One of the challenges I have gotten to realize about most Youths in our society nowadays is the fact that, we want everything in the pot to be cooked for us without knowing what goes into the preparation of what is being cooked for us. We keep going astray because when the pot is left for the youths to do it ourselves, we messed up. The reason is so simple, we only got to know about the content in the pot after is being served. The future is Youths and we need to start acting now as the future leaders beginning from the renewing of our mindsets to learn how to prepare ourselves.
It is time we learn to see opportunities and act proactively towards them. There are a lot of forums, workshops, talks and the likes to help leverage the potentials of youths but that can never be achieved if the youths “ourselves” still have the mindset of having everything cooked for us. And thus, a quest for leaders to also include youths 100% in their decisions and plans concerning agendas to help youths in community developmental projects.
Each one of us has a specific formula to help make an impact. This individual formula is known to us personally and we have the key to unlock it within ourselves to get answers to that (mathematics) questions we keep asking for years. Our internal mindset is enough.
IF YOU FOLLOW “THEY SAY, THEY SAY”, YOU WILL GO WITH THEM AND FORGET ABOUT THE FORMULA IN YOU. LET’S BE VIGILANT
Being a leader is being human. Until then, we will still be the spectators cheering and making comments (bad or good) to the works done by other people. Remember starting is better than nothing.
YOUTHS ARISE AND LETS’S ACT PROACTIVELY NOW. WE ARE THE CHANGE
SOCIETY CRIES FOR US NOW AND THE FUTURE TO COME
SEVEN USEFUL TIPS FOR MY FELLOW YOUTHS
- Accept no one’s definition of your life. Define yourself. It is your life, not theirs.
- You are more than enough
- Follow your rules and principles (Specifics)
- Devote your time to something to create something that give you purpose and meaning
- Try to get the best version of yourself
- When things go wrong ………. don’t go with them.
- Be Proactive and don’t let anyone take advantage of your innocence
- You are not too young to start making change, you are the changemaker.
- Be Fearless and humble
- Accept mistakes but don’t tolerate excuses
Don’t forget to follow Ariel Foundation International on Facebook for the Ariel Foundation International (AFI) Dialogue as we discuss more about Youthful topics that will help us build up our community together. This Facebook Live will showcase the AFI Young Ambassadors around the world and other leaders who will be sharing their works and knowledge about topics for discussion.
Trust the Process
More Action Needed
Abigail Oppong is a humanitarian young African lady who passionately work to impact life. She is a Young Speaker, Mentor, Changemaker, Young Activist, Motivator and a Social Entrepreneur.
Challenges of life as a Young African lady, growing up in the continent of Africa where the girl child education wasn’t prioritized has given her a much-presented experience for her to give back to community in empowering women and girls whiles firing in more energy to serve as a role Model and help Youths in Africa think differently.
Abigail Oppong is the Youth Ambassador for Ariel Foundation International focusing on Africa and making the voices of African Voices heard. As the Director of communication and Development at TiemeNdo, she focuses on empowering more women and youths in the field of Agriculture and help them to develop economically. Being a changemaker, she is passionate about social impacts project that seeks to empower women, children and youth. She is the Co-Founder for Universal Care for Africa, an initiative aiming to provide a free healthcare opportunity for the rural communities in Africa and the Ghana Ambassador for Global Success Society.
Passionate about women in Technology, she is working diligently to makefree access to the needed technical resources for young girls to stand firm in their STEAM Courses and professionally.
Abigail is skilled at Information Technology, Project Management, Entrepreneurship, Humanitarian, Communication, Design Thinking, Graphic design, leadership, Personal Development, Public Speaking.
She is a Recipients of the “Young Leaders Creating a better World for All award” at the Women Economic Forum, 2019 and the first youngest leader to receive such an international award from the Women Economic Forum.
Her Next Movement is to Global Initiative to help more youths especially the young leader to be the “PRO” in their fields as a leader. She is a Role Model to all Young Women out there. An inspiration and a world changer.
One word that encourages her everyday is the fact that, “our capabilities and abilities are enough to help us scale and make an impact; money will not. Money can not buy our passion”. She said this when someone asked her how she gets all her impactful work done as a Youth and still in school.
Credit: Dr. Ariel King – President Ariel Foundation International
How To Find Your Voice And Use It Contents
Finding your voice is critical in every aspect of your life – school, your career, business, your ministry and especially in your Marketing. We already have one of “them” so be an original YOU! Words are the most powerful tool we have. They can inspire, build, lift, and provide meaning and hope. They can break, destroy, undo, and cause great harm. It is up to us to insure the right words are used.
I cannot stress enough how important your own voice is. When put in certain positions, no matter how scary, you must stand up for yourself.
No one can make you do what you are not contented with. There is no one that can stop you from choosing what you think is best. If they agree with it or not it’s our resolution. You are in control of how you treat your voice, its best you learn that early on. I have learned over the years that even though I may not be able to control what my body does, I can control how I treat it. Take it into consideration and be able to work with what you think is best. You have to find your limits.
Once you find them you have to insure you do not push them too much. There is nothing worse than having a massive panic attack in the middle of a procedure. I have the worst anxiety.
How can you find your voice? What are the things you need to discover when finding your voice?
They are just few listed below they are just an instruction manual which are subjects to change at the long run but at the meantime, let’s learn from them.
What is your inherent ability? What are those things that you have mastered in the course of your life? Are there tasks, skills, or opportunities that you have simply mastered and can do without thinking? These low-friction activities might give you a clue to ways you can continue pursuing your voice. We learn through action, observation, and then correction. Start with what you do well, and work your way toward your goal. Have a goal with good desire. A goal is a desired result that a person or a system envisions, plans and commits to achieve: a personal or organizational desired end-point in some sort of assumed development. Many people endeavor to reach goals within a finite time by setting deadlines.
A purpose and aims are not the same as a goal- they are kind of similar to one another. They are the anticipated result which guides reaction, or an end, which is an object, either a physical object or an abstract object, that has intrinsic value.
What irritates you? To be a super hero you must be willing to have a bad guy. Without one, the super hero has nothing to fight against. Are there specific things that induce a sympathetic annoyance in you? (Key point of variation: this is not about road rage, poor service, or leaving the seat up. We’re speaking about the general things that induce a craving to interpose in a situation as an act of compassion or to resolve a great wrong.)
What makes you Emotional?
Think about the last numerous occurrences that instigated you to be very emotional to the extent that you could not control your emotions but to cry. Movies are fair game too. I’ve noticed that I almost always tear up while watching stories of losers who overcome incredible odds. This is a clue to me that my greatest work may somehow involve fighting for those who are oppressed or unheard
What gives you hope?
What do you look forward to? What great vision do you have for your future and the future of others? Hope is a powerful motivator, and can give you a clue to the ways in which you may be able to compel others to act.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? We often forget the earliest clues to our voice as we are burdened with the expectations of peers, teachers, parents, and eventually the marketplace. But those early days of wonder – the vast expanses of horizon that hinted at limitless possibility – can give us insight into the deeper seeds of fascination that still reside within us. So…what did/do you want to be when you grow up?
If you had all the time and money in the world, what would you do? It amazes me how few people have asked themselves this question, and it amazes me more how few people can arrive at an answer when they do. We believe that a lack of resources is the problem to our happiness and fulfillment, but for many of us the limitation has nothing to do with a lack of money or time. The limitation is our fear of falling short of our own self-perception. We point fingers at others because we can’t reconcile our own fear of engagement. We don’t think about limitless possibility because we are afraid of what would happen if we were to get it.
The hidden worth of the global African diaspora
Credit: Flickr, Cresi Africa, Creative Commons.
Diasporas are often treated as foreigners in their adopted homes and as traitors in their place of birth, despite often hidden cultural and economic contributions. Now is the time to overturn outdated perceptions, writes Behailu Shiferaw Mihirete, and for Africa to utilise its diaspora’s potential.
On 5 November 2018, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed appointed Billene Seyoum as the Press Secretary of the PM’s Office. We all celebrated, because somehow there appeared a consensus on her merit. Two days later, somebody ‘disclosed’ on social media that she held a Canadian passport, and the tone changed completely. The debate escalated. It was as if the PM had let a stranger in to the annals of Ethiopia’s political secrets.
Diaspora-ness is a tricky state of being. In their adopted homes, diasporas are referred to as ‘immigrants’, a term that often elicits a sense of unwelcomeness. In their original homes they are thought of as ‘runaways’ who want the best of both worlds – the first to trace their roots when it’s convenient and exotic but also the first to pack and leave when the going gets tough.
But these same diasporas, by some miracle, are expected to make a contribution both in their adopted and original homes. Hypocrisy arises because no matter how much their adopted homes look down on them, for instance, they do not waive their taxes. And even when they are referred to as ’them’ in the third person, the original homes do not refuse their remittances. By their adopted and original ‘homes’ alike, diasporas are treated as resources that should be carefully tapped rather than embraced.
They are resources, of course. Remittance flows to many countries in the global South are larger than the official development assistance received from the West and more stable than private capital flows. And in some countries, even the ones that have respectable economies, the contribution of remittances to GDP is growing. During the period from 2004 to 2017, it grew from 0.93% to 7.47% in Ghana, from 12.31% to 18.70% in Liberia, from 2.59% to 5.85% in Nigeria, from 7.88% to 13.67% in Senegal and in Egypt from 4.24% to 10.06%.
In most African countries, the diaspora’s economic contribution is rarely spoken of openly, because most leaders do not want to concede on them financial dependence. Many governments actually either underreport the contribution of the remittances to GDP or ‘fail’ to report it for fear of the figure empowering diasporas to influence local politics. Even in countries such as Somalia, where a quarter of GDP comes from remittances, this barely figures in any reports.
But while diasporas may be resources, it is problematic to look at them as just that – resources – and nothing more. Why do we boil down their worth to the few hundred dollars they send to their families every month? They are and they can be so much more, especially when diasporas have achieved great things for the human race. Why can’t their potential gained from exposure, experiences and education overseas be brought back home encouragingly and be deployed for the betterment of their homelands, so that the next generation of Africans and the generations after them will not have to leave home to find better education elsewhere?
Coming from Ethiopia, I can speak of so many Ethiopians who have influenced the world beyond their adopted or original borders. I can speak of the late Ethiopian space scientist, Kitaw Ejigu, who was NASA’s Chief of Spacecraft and Satellite Systems. I can speak of the Ethiopian agricultural scientist at Purdue University, Gebisa Ejeta, who developed Africa’s first commercial hybrid variety of sorghum tolerant to drought and parasitic weed. I can speak of Noah Samara, who founded the world’s first satellite radio network which aims to reach and empower the entire global South with educational and informational content. I can speak of Professor Tilahun Yilma of the University of California, who developed a genetically-engineered vaccine for the fatal cattle disease rinderpest, and who invented the inexpensive rapid testing kit for the same disease. I can go on and on, and I am sure each African national can name similarly dazzling diasporas originating from their respective countries.
Why, then, do we still measure our diaspora’s worth by their hand downs when it is their brains that could create infinitely more value back home? Is it the case of the prophet being ‘not accepted in his hometown’? To me, the diaspora might just be the card Africa has hidden under her sleeve for far too long.
CNN once called the African diaspora the continent’s ‘secret weapon’ and this, I think, is not hyperbole. The African Union Commission defines the African diaspora as ‘peoples of African origin living outside the continent, irrespective of their citizenship and nationality … who are willing to contribute to the development of the continent and the building of the African Union’. The Commission considers the diaspora the continent’s ‘sixth region’ after the East, West, North, Central region and South.
That inclusive definition and characterisation of the African diaspora, estimated at about 170 million, as another organ of the continent’s body is a good beginning to recognising and unleashing their full potential. Second-guessing the disapora’s loyalty to the motherland, as we did of Billene Seyoum in Ethiopia, is no means to win their hearts back home.
Behailu Shiferaw Mihirete (@behailus) is a former journalist and communication specialist from Ethiopia. Currently, he studies Politics and Communication at LSE’s Department of Media and Communication. Behailu is the runner-up of the LSE Africa Summit blog competition 2019.
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