Foreign direct investments to Africa continue to rise, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in its World Investment Report 2022 published June 9th. This is something we will probably not get to see in mainstream media — that quality of leadership in Africa is improving, generating more confidence in the continent.
Global misconceptions have shaped opinions and it’s hard to determine who exactly fuels these misconceptions but then again, the world has generally been driven by narratives based on absolute misconceptions.
In Factfulness by Hans Rosling where this point is made in a well-researched manner, should be a must-read for leaders interested in driving transformation.
Former US president Barack Obama called the book hopeful about the potential for human progress when we work off facts rather than our inherent biases. Billionaire Bill Gates calls it one of the best books he has read and an indispensable guide to clear thinking since it challenges stereotypes. Factfulness points to the fact that life expectancy across the globe was roughly 30 years in 1800 but 72 today meaning, the world is better than it used to be.
But since bad news is free while good news has to be searched for, it is easier to maintain the narrative of an Africa laden with terrible leadership and a land of disaster and insecurity. Gradually, Africans are solving problems internally.
For instance, Tigrayan rebels and the Ethiopian government agreed to a peace pact after two years of civil war. This agreement was signed in the presence of former presidents Uhuru Kenyatta and Olusegun Obasanjo and others. That is progress and a bold statement.
It was also the year of the Kenyan general election that many predicted would be the bloodiest in the history of the country. Predictions were bandied about, and travel advisories issued left-right. However, the elections came to pass and after a stint at the Supreme Court, a peaceful handover took place to a new president. This is progress. There was no bloodshed or fighting.
To bolster the point about the capacity and capabilities of Africans, there is what I call the Sign of France. In 2018, we saw a brilliant performance by the French national soccer team zooming to the pinnacle. They took home the coveted Fifa World Cup. Come the 2022 edition in Qatar and the defending champions were phenomenal once again and faced Argentina in the grand finale.
In what many have called the best World Cup finals in football history, France defended their title till the very end and only lost through a penalty shootout. Even though they lost the title and the match, they won many hearts.
What is peculiar about the French team is that it is made up predominantly of players of African descent. This is huge. Given the right environment, Africa will rise even more. Now who is responsible for this environment? Most people will say it’s the government but is the government responsible for you cutting corners and producing inferior products? Is government responsible for the toxic environment in your home or office? Is government responsible for the mediocrity that you allow?
The rise of the continent has begun, and it will accelerate when we all come to terms with the fact that we are all stakeholders in the new Africa.
As we visualise changing the world someday, each stakeholder can start by changing their personal space. If they stay focused, they would eventually and collectively affect the world at large. The board, leadership and students at the Street University wish you a very happy 2023 and encourage you to change your world to make a dent in the universe.
Wale Akinyemi is the founder of the Street University. Email is [email protected]
Source: The East African