Africa is Unstoppable

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“Nothing is vulnerable unless it is valuable.” Vulnerability is the driving force of connection. We have been taught that vulnerability is  a weakness,  yet it is brave, and it is tender. It is impossible to connect without it. The best part of being African and being human is our vulnerability and being able to connect with each other and that is what we as Africans do seamlessly – our own humanity,  Ubuntu. We are hardwired for it. Whether we acknowledge it or not, the drive to connect is in all of us. In that vulnerability lies Africa’s future and real value.

On 18 and 19 September, during the United Nations General Assembly Week the Global Africa Business Initiative was born under the theme Unstoppable Africa. Under the leadership of Deputy Secretary General of the UN, Amina Mohammed, joined by African business leaders such as Dr James Mwangi, Group MD and CEO of Equity Group Holdings; Aliko Dangote, Founder and President/Chief Executive of Dangote Group; Strive Masiyiwa Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet Group; Juliet Anammah, Senior Vice President at Jumia Group; Julie Gichuru, Chief Public Affairs and Communications Officer at Mastercard Foundation; and of course Sanda Ojiambo, Assistant General Secretary and CEO, UN Global Compact.

The theme of “Unstoppable Africa” feeds directly into the “One Africa One Voice” theme of the 2022 Africa Shared Value Leadership Summit. The summit is one of the most important convenings of leadership and executives on the African continent – this year once again highlighting our responsibility and obligation as leaders to find solutions for Africa’s challenges and to reconfirm, as per my personal belief that: in our vulnerability, lies our value.

It is time to create value for all in Africa. It is no longer acceptable that only one-third of Africans have access to broadband connectivity and because of that too many of Africa’s expanding youth population are denied the opportunity to live up to their potential. Africa’s youth need to be empowered with the digital skills and access to technology and markets that are essential to thrive in a digitised African economy. Both governments and business need to connect to hundreds of millions of citizens and customer and create and utilise digital-centred business models to reach those that were previously excluded because of geography or low income.

Africa can be unstoppable if our powerful individuals, powerful families and successful organisations and institutions, business and governments unite understanding that there is value in our vulnerability, and we need to intentionally create value for all. We need to put away our own agendas and self-interest and share the same agenda not only on paper but also in our hearts. Only then will we be able to defend all that this beautiful continent has given us as Africans.

The 2022 Africa Shared Value Leadership Summit sees the Shared Value Africa Initiative joining forces with the Mobile World Congress to raise awareness, create discussion platform and forge solutions for Africa’s connectivity and digital challenges.

Input from across sectors are needed to address our economic, societal and environmental challenges as no sector alone, can bring about the change that is needed in Africa. We need each other on the African continent, and we need to support each other as Africans, we need to work together as Africans, we need to build the Africa we want as Africans. We need to forever rid ourselves of the after-effects of colonialism as we have allowed it to linger for far too long. It is Africa’s time, and we need to take control of our own narrative and our own destiny. 

Tiekie Bernard
 Founder & CEO