When I first heard my friend and colleague, Yelang Prue Jinka, share a keynote on ‘Africa: On the Cusp of an Economic Miracle’, I fell in love with the content.
Yelang had painted a picture of a hopeful future for Africa, in a world filled mostly with images of a failed continent.
When Yelang and I spoke of her message, she reminded me of the incredible TED talk by Nigerian novelist, Chimamanda Adichie, on ‘The Dangers of a Single Story’. It is too easy for us to consume the single story of a failed Africa, of problems, poverty and disease, both in the world beyond, as well as within the countries in Africa. We are lazy and unlikely to go looking for those stories that paint a different picture, that tell of hope, boast of success and revel in the innovativeness and creativity of the people in Africa.
As a futurist I am aware of the incredible power of narratives. What we tell about the future becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we tell tales of AI taking jobs, and technology ruling our lives and busyness consuming our time, then we will live lives that reflect those beliefs. But if we cast visions about solving problems, creating opportunities and living more tangible and connected human lives, then that is what we will lean into, that is the future we will create.
There are multiple versions of the future, many different futures that will be experienced. When we only have one story then that is the story we will believe. However, when we find other stories, of hope, creativity, innovation, technological marvel, and success, then we have found new ways to express our lives and our futures.
Africa has many problems, but also many opportunities. As we unpack these seven reasons why there is the potential for an economic miracle in Africa, let us choose to find ways to express this future, rather than any other that does not serve Africa or her people.