I watched a fascinating Ted Talk a couple of days ago which is a 10 year old talk from all the way back in 2007. It was absolutely brilliant and I hadn't even realised till the end how old it was! It was fascinating, and I found myself reflecting on whether the messages could now be looked at wistfully in a "remember when...?" type of way.
On one hand, it's pretty sad that even now in 2017, the same messages apply which means we still have a long way to go. Those points so beautifully made by Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala could be stated today and have as much relevance and resonance as they did back in 2007. On the other hand, there's been a very clear mobilisation around challenging that inaccurate rhetoric and showing the positive side of Africa that doesn't sell quite so many papers or drop so many jaws (for all the wrong reasons).
I mean we can give you jaw dropping in Africa and plenty of it! Just check out the powerful #TheAfricaTheMediaDoesn'tShowYou campaign on twitter to challenge the "poor, dark Africa" rhetoric, and of course, there's me who created Positive Afritude for many of the same reasons Dr Okonjo-Iweala outlined. My next stop is to check in on the many incredible African entrepreneurs she referenced towards the end of her talk, because I'd love to see how their stories have developed in 10 years. What can we learn from them, particularly entrepreneurs like me who are trying to work with and support other entrepreneurs back at home? How do we accelerate the success of those back home in Africa, using the resources and access we have here in the developed countries where we're based?
I'll be back with a report on what I find, but till then, I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences on what's changed now and where you think we could or should be in another 10 years' time. Should we be further along in our growth given all the "Africa on the rise" excitement of pretty much every other year? Are we failing to ride these waves that it's so terribly fashionable to write about? I'd love you jaw dropping stories, videos and images of Africa! Post them IN THEIR DROVES on our Facebook page or tweet them @pafritude.
There are no doubt many Africans who are doing it right and getting it right; the message is clear though. For the changes to be on the scale we need them to be i.e. where the majority rather than just a minority are reaping the rewards, more needs to be done. I for one don't want to be watching this Ted Talk in another 10 years - God willing - and thinking "wow...this could have been filmed today". What do we do to stop that from happening?
Ideas on a (digital) postcard...