“The African continent is overflowing with a new generation of confident, forward-thinking innovators and entrepreneurs who are constantly leveraging the power of exponential technologies with global appeal and commercial viability to create wealth, transform societies, and positively impact the lives of many.”
For so many years, the West has dominated the narrative around the continent of Africa. Africa is often portrayed as a poor and uncivilized continent.
In 2014, Delta Airlines, a US carrier, made a major social media blunder. In an attempt to congratulate the US World Cup team on their victory over Ghana, a picture of a wild giraffe was used to represent the African nation. The carrier was promptly notified by the irate Twitter community that there were in fact no wild giraffes in Ghana.
In 2018, former United States President, Donald Trump at a meeting with politicians reportedly referred to African countries as ‘shithole countries.’
The continent is grossly misrepresented. This is the peril of a single narrative.
We as Africans must start to blow our own trumpet.
Innovation in Traditional African Societies
Contrary to popular belief, the continent has a rich history of innovation in numerous facets of its economic, political, religious, and social life. Unequivocally, creativity is a traditional virtue in African cultures.
Documentary evidence reveals that Africa is one of the most strategically important continents in the world history of Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI).
The Center for Trade and Learning in West Africa (13th – 17th century)
During the 15th and 16th centuries, Timbuktu, a Malian metropolis in West Africa became an extremely wealthy city. The city’s wealth sprang from its strategic location along numerous trade routes, allowing it to participate in the trans-Saharan trade in gold, ivory, slaves, salt, and other commodities. The Tuaregs, Mandés, and Fulanis made up the majority of the merchants.
The city was possibly the most important center of learning in Sub-Saharan Africa throughout the 15th and 16th centuries, with experts in religion, the arts, and sciences.
African intellectuals commissioned and meticulously executed tens of thousands of manuscripts during this time. Several manuscripts were compiled over the centuries.
We will now consider some modern-day practical, African-led solutions – Africans for Africa to the World.
One Acre Fund
The ONE ACRE FUND is an initiative for educating and training the next generation of African farmers. The model is straightforward, yet the impact is significant. One Acre Fund expects to be Africa’s largest network of small farms in just a few years. They intend to serve at least 1 million agricultural communities by 2025.
These farmers are estimated to generate enough surplus food to feed an additional 5 million people in their neighborhood. Farmers are granted credit for seed and fertilizer, and the company delivers the products to them at a suitable location, guides them on usage, and provides support with the sales and distribution of their harvest.
Since its establishment in Kenya in 2006, One Acre Fund has expanded its frontiers to include Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, and Nigeria.
This is just one of the innovative solutions by Africans for Africans. Tomorrow, we’ll others.
See you in the next post.