Let’s highlight Africa’s successes

by MMC
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The constant stream of “Africa in crisis” stories in the global media distorts the true picture of a largely peaceful and vibrantly entrepreneurial continent. We need to highlight real successes, says Moky Makura.

If you follow global news about Africa, you’ve heard about the coup in Niger, the war in Sudan and the growing number of stories of migrants dying trying to flee the continent – ​​and I have deep empathy for everyone affected. . But from these stories, one could conclude that Africa is in a state of perpetual crisis. Yet, as is often the case, the reality is much more nuanced than the headlines suggest.

Let’s talk about real numbers, which can provide the context that is often missing from these stories. There are currently 32 countries in conflict in the world – four of them African countries facing civil war. Likewise, coups seem ubiquitous, but over the past two years there have been coup attempts in seven African countries.

The reality is that the majority of Africa enjoys relative stability. In fact, Mauritius is ranked 23rd (there are 195 countries in the world) in the Global Peace Index. Botswana and Cape Verde are other African countries with functioning democracies with above-average Democracy Index scores.

And when you hear these migrant stories, listen to them in this context: African migrants make up just 14% of the global migrant population, while Asia makes up 41% and Europe makes up 24%. A study conducted by Africa No Filter shows that 80% of Africans have no interest in leaving the continent. The context missing from the stories you hear is that the vast majority of young Africans are seeking a better life at home.

The facts often paint a different picture from the wars, coups and illegal migrants that dominate global coverage of Africa. The facts challenge the single narrative and ensure that conflict and poverty are not always the protagonists of Africa’s story. And the facts will prove that much of what we hear and believe to be true actually happens in a very small percentage of countries in Africa.

Hans Rosling in his book Billing says: “The world cannot be understood without numbers. But the world cannot be understood with numbers alone.

The dynamic force

This is why we need to tell stories that bring the numbers to life and show alternative perspectives that truly reflect what is happening on the continent.

My favorite stories are those of the 77% – young Africans aged under 35 – who represent a dynamic force too often overlooked and misunderstood.

They are the ones who lead the continent’s creative, sometimes informal, largely unregulated and often difficult to measure entrepreneurial sector.

In the sound of Afrobeats – which seem to be taking over the world – there are many shining examples of young Africans taking action and contributing to economic growth, while overcoming seemingly insurmountable challenges.

I will give just two examples here: in Cameroon, a bioengineer designed neonatal incubators to reduce infant mortality rates while in Uganda, a 20-year-old student developed a mosquito repellent from spoiled milk.

But there are many more hiding in plain sight in places like Kenya’s Silicon Savannah, Rwanda’s multi-million dollar Kigali Innovation City (KIC), and in cities like Lagos , Accra, Johannesburg and many more. For readers of only the narrative of coups, wars, and migrants, none of this is visible.

Paradoxically perhaps, the absence of any form of state support – financial and infrastructural or even a safety net – has fostered entrepreneurship and fueled the autonomy and determination of young people to forge their own businesses and their own employment path. Nollywood, Nigeria’s cottage film industry, is a case study that beautifully illustrates this.

The global landscape is full of stories of young people who, probably because they didn’t know they couldn’t, started businesses and experienced entrepreneurial success at a young age: Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg were less 20 years old when they created their businesses.

According to the report “Africa – innovator or imitator? » from Africa No Filter survey, 72% of the 4,500 people questioned think that Africa could produce the next Gates or Zuckerberg!

Their stories of resilience and innovation highlight that Africa’s youth are at the right age – and given the rapid upheaval the world is experiencing – the right time to lead change on the continent, with the right support.

It begins with stories that reimagine Africa as 54 countries – beyond Sudan and Niger – and a continent that welcomes young people seeking opportunities back home.

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