Africa is where we are building the global future

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The growth of Afro-optimism provides a broader and more nuanced perspective that sees Africa not just through its challenges but also its potential and achievements.

Over the last five years, our work across the continent has immersed us in the burgeoning spirit of Afro-optimism. There’s a palpable shift towards recognising our intrinsic strengths and enormous potential, especially with Africa’s youthful dynamism at the helm.

The mantra I often reiterate, “Africa is where we’re building the global future,” stems from this unwavering belief in our potential. Instead of fixating solely on challenges, we must embrace and champion our vast resources, youthful energy, cultural richness, and innovative spirit.

We as Africans need to focus on Afro-optimism and on our beautiful continents’ strengths, opportunities, innovations, and potential and rid ourselves of the outside noise from the West that keeps on creating interference on our continent. It is imperative  to drown out the external noise, that tends to overshadow our narratives with pessimism. This Afro-pessimism, accentuating our struggles and historic burdens, sometimes feels like a concerted effort to stifle Africa’s march toward its destined greatness.

We need to counter the Afro-pessimism by emphasising positive narratives and potentialities within the African continent and its diaspora. Too often Afro-pessimism highlights the challenges and negative aspects related to Africa, including its colonial history, economic challenges, and social issues. This Afro-pessimism is often created by outside influence and interference to prevent Africa from reaching its full potential.

Afro-optimism and governance are interrelated in so many ways. True ethical and transparent governance that  focus on creating value for all is sadly lacking on the African continent and influence and create the Afro-pessimism. The African landscape, unfortunately, still features leaders who prioritise personal gains over national progress, perpetuating Afro-pessimism. But with the winds of change, we are seeing how Afro-optimism can reshape governance.

Afro-optimism can influence governance by providing an alternative narrative that is hopeful and forward-looking. Such positive narratives are important for Africa to foster unity. In addition, a narrative of optimism can attract both domestic and foreign investments. When the governance structures are aligned with this optimism by ensuring transparency, efficiency, and forward-thinking policies, it can lead to economic growth.

“We need to encourage a resurgence of pride in Africa to propel us towards creating the Africa we want, not what is described by Afro-pessimism.”

We need to encourage a resurgence of pride in Africa that propel us towards creating the Africa we want and not what is described by Afro-pessimism. Many Africans abroad are keen to contribute to the continent’s development, and optimistic narratives, backed by effective governance, can encourage diaspora engagement in various sectors.

Through building and encouraging Afro-optimism we can reinforce the idea of Pan-African unity. Governments that intentional and deliberately underscore and implement the values of true transparent and ethical governance can promote collaboration between African nations, leading to shared solutions for common challenges.

The global community has often viewed Africa through a lens of challenges rather than opportunities. Afro-optimism can challenge these perceptions. When coupled with effective governance that demonstrates measurable progress and growth, these external perceptions can change, leading to more equitable international relations.

It is my personal view that effective governance can harness Afro-optimism and lead to addressing pressing issues and barriers that is restricting our African growth potential.

The growth of Afro-optimism also doesn’t mean erasing critical voices that highlight the African challenges. Instead, it provides a broader and more nuanced perspective that sees Africa not just through its challenges but also its potential and achievements.

Tiekie Barnard