African Renaissance

Dear Friends.

The African continent is the second largest continent geographically after Asia. In terms of natural resources it can be argued that Africa is the richest continent on the planet. Africa’s population now approaching a billion people now accounts for one person for every six people in the globe. Yet this continent is still beset with numerous problems which I have no interest in elaborating further because I think they detract from the focus at hand.


Many Africans in the diaspora have mixed reactions to this state of affairs. Many will lament the problems and point out in clear detail the lack of good leaders, corruption, illiteracy and disease. Ask them what they intend to do about it and many become speechless or give abstract and vague answers. Yet many will tell you they came to the west in order to help their families, themselves or Africa. In my opinion though selfish it may seem that is already leading to a solution for Africa’s many problems. Recent figures from Ghana and Kenya show remittances accounting for a significant percentage of forex inflows.

The above video is a TED [Technology Education & Design] talk by Ory Okolloh a Kenyan who also has a blog called Kenyanpundit. She has been involved in many notable projects chief among them the Ushahidi project. Listening to her story you see the need for Africa to have a positive media image which is something I have been trying very hard to impart on Kenyans especially in the diaspora.  

Secondly the knowledge gathered by this Africans by exposure to advanced societies through their education whether formal or informal is very important for Africa. It allows this people to want to emulate this in their own countries. Respect for law and order, the value of technology, education and ethics is also evident in this same societies. Respect for time and deadlines, regulations and adherence to contractual obligations are all traits that many Africans are learning.

This is another TED talk by Euvin Naidoo discussing investment opportunities in Africa. There is vast investment opportunity in Africa and Kenya is well positioned to take advantage of this. He makes a compelling case for the investment potential that is Africa. He turns the negatives into real tangible opportunities be it energy, transport or entertainment.

Andrew Mwenda is a Ugandan who talks of Africa with a passion. The media’s coverage of Africa which is usually negative is actually misreporting. To potray Africa as continent beset with civil war for example is actually false. When you have 54  countries and only 6 countries in civil war then it certainly cannot be said it’s embroiled in civil war. I think he makes a compelling case of the misconceptions of Africa.

Finally the African renaissance is being realised back in Africa by a general realisation by governments in Africa that they must have conducive environments to attract investments both foreign and domestic. The number of conflicts in Africa has also reduced as compared to the 90’s, corruption is increasingly frowned upon and disease is being curbed or contained in many countries.

Perhaps the greatest example of success is the explosion of the mobile phone phenomenon in Africa. This has spurred a telecommunications revolution beyond cellphones which is now reshaping other aspects of African life. Take the success of Safaricom’s M-Pesa concept of money transfer which has eased money velocity within Kenya. Now Zain has introduced mobile financial products which allow people who were previously without bank accounts to do everything bank account holders can and with better convenience and less cost.

The above video is of Ms Ngozi Okonjo Iweala a former finance minister of Nigeria who also worked previously with the World Bank. Listening to her you see that even corruption which is talked about so much in Africa and the west is being tackled. She talks very positively of the developments happening in her country and the African continent. If Nigeria can come to grips with it’s corruption surely Kenya and any other African country can too.

This indicators though in many places still viewed as baby steps nonetheless constitute a very integral step in realising the second rebirth of a proud, resourceful, benevolent and capable African race that will steer Africa to wealth and prosperity.



2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    John Karanja said,

    Read and listen to my interview about Seacom and Fibre in Africa with Voice of America Africa Correspondent Douglas Mpusa

  2. 2

    kenyanize said,

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    i think you might find this dating site intresting too. its for kenyans

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