Time to tell Africa’s story?

This is the conclusion reached by  The Observer newspaper and they have written several articles to prove it

In the first article The Observer editorial tells the readers that Africa has regenerated itself , Europe and Britain in particular must sit up and listen  and most importantly they must take note of the economic development that is unfolding as well as the investment opportunities that available of which China has taken/is taking advantage

I love the second article from The Observer, especially the heading, it says_ IT IS TIME WE LISTENED TO NEW STORIES OUT OF AFRICA- Well I couldn’t argue with that! there are a couple of interesting points in this article-

  1. The Economist revealed last month that six of the 10 most rapidly expanding economies over the past decade were in sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria, Angola, Rwanda, Chad and Mozambique
  2. When dealing with Africa we should strive for trade not Aid…
  3. Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf likes to say, there are no poor countries, just rich countries that are poorly managed-
  4. There is still a long way to go. Repression remains rife, corruption endemic, infrastructure woeful, bureaucracy stifling. But one result is that people respond with immense ingenuity and world-beating innovations emerge.

Mrs Johnson makes a  very important point and as the story of Africa evolves  those BAD MANAGERS  should not be shocked when people get fed of poor management and throw them out.

Point number 3 is  important too in the story of Africa- it is the ingenuity that carries us through.

I discussed this story last Sunday in a conversation with the broadcaster Henry Bonsu at VOX AFRICA

I love the third article finally Bono agrees that even he must get out of the way so Africans can tell their stories and even quotes Ory Okolloh as having told a conference that there was a new train leaving the station in Africa – and that people in the west had better get on board or they’ll miss out.

The final article is from an African who lives in Africa- how about that? this article too goes over the History of Africa and end on a positive note of a continent going places and calls on the West to pay attention.

The stories are fascinating for me and no doubt some of my close associates especially those of African heritage will find them fascinating too. For you see we are not as pessimistic as some of the people who have taken the time to comment on those articles even though they had nothing good to say. I bet they would be surprised if I told them that I know Africans who have quit Britain for instance and are paying their mortgages with income they generate out of Africa.

The sort of Africa that we know and love is certainly going places. If you are a regular reader of my blog you would know by now for instance that most of us believe the surest way for folk to get out of poverty in Africa is through trade and aid. We also know that so long as the story of Africa remains one of bad news, wars, disease then inward investment will be slow to come in if at all.

We know that the story is one sided, we are not going to sit back and allow it to remain thus, and for that reason last year we got off our backsides to bring you the real African story and what folk are doing to develop their communities in VILLAGES IN ACTION CONFERENCE

Watch this space for new developments!

Are Africans in the Diaspora real Africans

or do we cease being Africans when we leave Africa?

As  some  of you will be aware our guest blogger here Teddy Ruge of Project Diaspora is organising a Villages in Action conference in Uganda and he explained how and why he is doing it in his last blog here

Supporters of the VILLAGES IN ACTION initiative have worked and continue to do so in the background to  ensure that the conference goes ahead without a hitch.

But something rather sinister is going on too

What is that? I hear you ask!

The detractors are out in full swing and of all things they are questioning whether Teddy is a real African!

And  this  has led me to ask

ARE AFRICANS IN THE DIASPORA REAL AFRICANS OR DO WE CEASE BEING AFRICANS WHEN WE LEAVE AFRICA?

When Teddy announced the dates of this conference he received a lot of support from folk in cyber space even the good folk at AID WATCH  posted something about the initiative on their blog and this is where the detractors started

check out this comment on the AID WATCH blog,

Stefano B. wrote:

This is interesting.

But it’s worth noting that the article was written by an African whoif I am not wrong – was educated and actually runs a business in US.

He may not be considered a total outsider, but he’s not even the quintessential citizen of the African continent.

and this was Teddy response

TMS Ruge wrote:

Thanks so much for writing about our project. I see the skeptics our there are already chiming in. It was to be expected.

Stefano – I was educated in Uganda, Kenya and the US. I also run a business in the US as well as two for-profit social enterprises in Uganda. So I am curious which part of that disqualifies me as a “quintessential citizen” of Uganda.

Thanks again, looking forward to

I had pretty much left it at that until this morning when I logged into Twitter to find several Tweets from Teddy aka @tmsruge  and here are those tweets

#via2010 Not a big deal, but think it is worth a discussion at least. Is there some barometer that disqualifies me as part of this village?

I’d like to ask every1 aware of #via2010. Color of blood do I need 2bleed in order to be “authentic” – so far am the outsider & don’t count

Comments: “While Villages in Action is being run to give poor voice, it is still being organized by outsiders” http://bit.ly/abIlMt #via2010

I started by teasing him as per usual until I popped over to the blog in question  and you can read  the comments for yourself here http://texasinafrica.blogspot.com/2010/11/villages-in-action.html

I was astounded by this. It seemed to me that Teddy who is currently on his way to Uganda via Amsterdam has taken to publicly  defending himself  that as a Ugandan Diaspora  he is qualified to start such an initiative and that he is indeed an African  even though he is lives outside of Uganda and speaks with an American accent. And don’t get me started on the stance that the folk at TED took!

I found this hurtful too . Teddy and I collaborate on a couple of initiatives and  I don’t know anyone that is more dedicated to the development of African as he is. I also wondered whether the rest of us African diaspora involved in the development of Africa will soon come under such attack?

Is it really possible that some folk out there do not consider African diaspora as real Africans with a passion about the development of Africa or is it because we have dared to take up roles that are normally taken up by the likes of BONO

What about our fellow  Africans on the ground? Do they view us as outsiders too?

I see our role  as the diaspora amongst other things as a bridge between the African continent and West.

One thing for sure most African governments are increasingly tapping into their diaspora not only as potential investors but also as away  of  attacking suitably qualified people to fill difficult to job vacancies.

This  was recently demonstrated by the Ugandan government, when they sent a whole delegation to address us. On the day the government officials told us that they have vacancies to fill within the infrastructure sector (Roads and Railways) and would especially like to tap into the skills of its diaspora and not only that they would like hire SKILLS ASSESSORS from within the diaspora so that they can establish exactly where the gaps are.

One of the government officials said that he too regards our role as a bridge between the West and Uganda(Africa)

So over to you folk.

ps, if this comes across as a rant it is meant to be! If you are on Twitter follow the hashtag #VIA2010 for more details on this and the conference

#MDGs- the cameras are switched off now what?

A week ago all cameras were on UN Summit as the great and good convened in New York  to review the Millennium Development Goals or MDGs .

WOMEN OF KIREKA- PHOTO BY TMS RUGE

If you followed the news and discussions on the various social media platforms you would have noted that  opinions were divided. The key points of note were

  • More Aid is required
  • some countries especially in sub-saharan Africa are unlikely to meet the goals
  • the goals are not realistic and should be treated as mere aspirations
  • goals not far reaching as elements such as governance are missing

Just about the same time two stories broke regarding Bono, his fashion label as well as his ONE campaign. Rotten timing I would say for someone in his position. Nevertheless if this is what  folk like him that are on record as advocating for a fairer deal for Africans get up to when the cameras are switched what hope is there, if any of meeting the MDGs,

I am going to keep this very short as  I would to give you the reader especailly if you are a fellow African a chance to answer this question, because I believe that after so many years of aid getting pumped into Africa we are not getting anywhere near being self sustaining  if we need outsiders to come in and set us goals in spite of the wealth that we have on the continent. Are we perhaps asking ourselves the wrong questions?

What can we as Africans do for ourselves today, without Aid from the West?

Please leave your answer to this question or any other comments below