The African Promise Part 1

The Africa rising narrative talks about the growth of the continent as many countries are growing at 7% per annum. Africa has showed promise in the past but this time around the growth must come from Africans, capitalized by Africans and be shared with the rest of the world, with terms written by Africans.

What is the African Promise?

It is what Kwame Nkrumah said on the day he became the first sub-Saharan African president, it is what Mandela fought for and it is why GoGetters exists. The African Promise is the unlocking of the continents’ greatest wealth, its people.

The Promise begins within every single one of us but it does not end there. We must promise to take ownership of our destiny and personal responsibility to be our greatest asset. We must not see absence but see abundance, we must not focus on problems but on the solution and we must not talk and complain but must take action to influence change. Remember good things happen to those who go-get-it.

The Promise is one of inter-dependency and trust; one man, one organization or one country cannot achieve it. As in Ubuntu ‘we are because you are, and since you are, definitely I am.’ The Promise involves us all.

When you accept the African Promise, it is a promise to our generation, the next generation and the generation after… It is a promise of achieving a vision of the future rooted in the actions we take today or else the future will always remain a dream.

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together — African proverb

In the days of the Mali Empire, Africa had the richest Man (Mansa Musa) ever, he was said to be worth $400 billion and he was the ruler of a kingdom which stretches over Guinea, Senegal, Mauritania, Algeria, Niger, Burkina Faso, and the Côte d’Ivoire… together they were strong.

In my last blog I talked about the Game of Thrones –The African Chronicles and how Africa was divided and conquered. During the days of the slave trade, the colonialists captured Africans but Africans also sold other Africans to buy weapons to defend their land or take land from other Africans. In the end the continent was left vulnerable and ripe for colonization… alone we are weak.

50 years ago and 50 years from now

When I spoke to my mentor, about his Dads generation in the 1960’s when the wave of independence was gaining momentum, I tried to imagine what it must have been like and it made me tingle with pride and optimism. Of course things didn’t pan out as everyone had hoped. Most African countries went backwards for most of the next half century.

That generation made a lot of false promises — not helped of course by misguided aid, continuing vested interest, the propping up of some terrible regimes during the cold war and fundamentally badly designed countries from the colonial era.

Right now, I feel that some of that same excitement that gripped African countries more than 50 years ago has returned. However, today the world is a different place. There is now a shift of economic power from the West to the East and technology advances are creating and accelerating whole new markets. This is giving underdeveloped markets a competitive edge over developed markets (in some circumstances i.e. the rapid uptake of mobile money in Kenya), as they can leap frog to mass adoption of new technologies.

That’s not to say that there aren’t some large and persistent challenges to overcome:

  • Education, especially indigenous knowledge needs to be greatly spread (read Dr Chika Ezeanya’s thoughts, click ‘here’);
  • Healthcare, not ‘sick-care’ needs to be invested in. That means attention should be on prevention, community mobilization and an integrated approach in tackling health issues and an example of this collaboration is seen ‘here’: and
  • Infrastructure, all the basics of transport, power, communications, water and so on need to be improved, especially in cities as they experience rapid urbanization, click ‘here’ to read the report from PwC.

By 2050, Africa’s population is expected to reach 2 billion people, out of which over 1 billion are expected to be below the age of 25. If Africa’s greatest wealth is its people, then the government needs to be focused on improving the interplay of the above 3 issues to unlock Africa’s true economic potential.

Will we look back in 50 years’ time and say that we kept our promise to Africa?

I pause and take a deep breath when I think of that question. The reason why I created GoGetters, why my co-founders and other supporters came on board and why we sacrifice so much time and energy into making our dreams a reality, is because we want that answer to be yes!

We travelled across 6 countries for 6 months, we did not have enough funds to complete the trip, let alone finance 3 workshops, film 3 documentaries and start a sugarcane drinks business in Sierra Leone. The biggest resource we had was people, through people we achieved what before the trip some would have said was impossible. So at GoGetters we want to keep our promise and we are going to do it by bringing society together to build trust and drive progressive change.

In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Are you a friend or as they put it in church, are you an enemy of progress. As a friend the worst thing you can do is just stand by and watch the story of Africa unfold. Get involved any and every way you can.

So what is your promise to Africa?

How committed are you?

And what are you willing to do to keep that promise?

In part 2 hear from one of my co-founders Tola James, about how he has kept his promise.

If you would like to join a network seeking to keep the African Promise, ‘click here’ to find out more about joining GoGetters.

Follow me on Twitter — @alieu_fofanah and @GoGettersGlobal


Originally published at go-getters.co.uk.