Africa’s children must be willing to redefine success and prosperity. They must embrace the knowledge that their greatest resource is their numbers and their ability to harness that will make the difference between a revolutionary generation or the tale of selfish ‘has-beens’. In Africa, pure economic growth is unsustainable unless it translates into social progress. This can only be actualized when governments across the continent and the ever-growing private sector design their solutions around people’s needs and not profit margins. Africa’s children must learn the value of industry and truly comprehend the working of value chains.
Africa’s children must learn to speak up for themselves. But more importantly, they must learn to ask the right people the right questions. They must find information, pleasant or otherwise, that seeks to explain how they got into their current situation. Only by understanding how they got there, can they accurately figure out how to get out and move forward. They must learn to disagree without raising their voices and appreciate the value of debate. The continent’s power lies in the intellectual capital of its people. Conversations must be consciously steered away from who we are to focusing on what we have to say. Informed opinions, data-driven dialogue and the resolutions that arise from that will make the difference between Africa becoming a socio-economic giant or sticking with the tired narrative of greed and conflict.
Africa’s children must strive to be self reliant. They must learn to respect their elders but more importantly, they must remember to respect themselves. The value of hard-work has been grossly understated in the recent past but there’s pride in reaping the fruits of your labour. They must cultivate a sense of purpose that guarantees that, in time, Africa will stand on nothing but its own two feet. They must seek opportunities and where none are found, they must be courageous enough to create them. Decades from now, or even sooner, the next generation will be unforgiving knowing that we lived in this time of boundless possibility and all we had to show for it was stories of how things were so much better in our day.
For Africa to prosper, her children must reclaim its most treasured virtue; empathy. The ability to identify with another’s plight. The understanding that opportunity is the universe’s way of equipping us to be of service to others. The idea that there’s dignity to be found in collective responsibility. The recognition that privilege doesn’t make you a better human being; it simply makes you a more fortunate one.
If I were not African, I wonder whether it would be clear to me that being African is not simply the colour of our skin or the texture of our hair. That Africa, is not just 54 resource rich countries but its diverse, colourful, innovative and incredibly resilient people. I wonder whether I would understand that the only prosperity gospel we need to buy into is that we, the children of this amazing land, have the solutions to our problems. This is the conversation we must ALL have with our sons and daughters.