The Future of Africa

Kwame Nkrumah, in his famous speech, on Ghana’s Independence Day on March 6, 1957, said “… our (Ghana) independence is meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of Africa.” This pan-african ideal is one that I was brought up with and it is something I think about more and more in these times, when Africa is considered the new hope for the future of the planet. Some of the fastest growing economies in the world are on this continent. We still retain extensive natural and human resources despite decades of plundering. There are pockets of leadership and positivity that seem to be turning the tide and shining a torch on what, for so long, was the Dark Continent. At conferences, seminars, corner discussions, the general consensus is that “Africa’s time is Now!” There is a hope bubbling just beneath the surface, even amidst the continued challenges we face.

Everybody wants to be Africa’s friend. The former colonial masters and the United States tell us to watch out for the Chinese, they are going to exploit us … they aren’t concerned about us, just our natural resources. The Chinese come bearing gifts and remind us how we were exploited. It has never been, and was never going to be that simple. The answer was never going to be a simple one but, to find it, Africans need to be engaged and aware and committed and focused and unified. It is only Africa – with its diversity and vastness – that can determine the best path(s) to take.

A friend of mine, Cedric Ntumba, is a 2011Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellow, a programme that is operated by the African Leadership Institute. He says, in a document copied to various people, myself included, “the experiential based programme which is held at the Mont Fleur conference centre in Stellenbosch and the University of Oxford is premised on the notion that leaders need to self introspect, be self-aware, self-regulate and understand how followers experience them. Further, it seeks to navigate the complexities and challenges of African leadership in a global context appreciating the duality of perspective required of Africa’s future leaders.

As part of the programme, they explored two scenarios of Africa in 2025 depending on decisions Africans and their leaders make today. These were presented in September 2011 at Rhodes House, University of Oxford. “In our scenarios, we identify that foreign direct investment, environmental policies, technology transfer, amongst others, are vital for the economic growth and development of African countries. The core theme of our scenarios is how investments and trade arrangements are structured and managed – recognising the global competition to attract this investment and trade that will be critical to the way Africa develops. Different foreign actors will also have different goals and objectives, and will require different conditions in bilateral agreements.

Africa – The Bread Case

httpv://youtu.be/ols_ScXNZTE

Africa – The Basket Case

httpv://youtu.be/6yih6HKLfsE

These scenarios were created using Clem Sunters scenario development tools and are meant to “encourage others to engage in critical debates and challenge one another to develop different scenarios for Africa.”

The 2011 Fellows (with advice from Peter Wilson and the AfLI) who formed part of the syndicate group who developed and produced these scenarios are:

  • Nomfanelo Magwentshu (South Africa);
  • Eric Kacou (Ivory Coast);
  • Victor Ochen (Uganda);
  • Bridgit Evans (South Africa);
  • Momar Dieng (Senegal);
  • Jean-Philippe Kayobotsi (Rwanda);
  • Expect Ntsepe (South Africa);
  • Bridget Wachira (Kenya); and
  • Kayeye Cedric Ntumba (Democratic Republic of Congo/South Africa)

What are your thoughts? Where do you think Africa will be in 2025?


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