My Africa Rising #1

As I sit here next to my pool enjoying the early morning sun, I can’t imagine many places  I’d rather be other than my home here in West Africa and one other special person. I have taken a short break after realizing I was trying to do a little too much in a short time, and have not touched any of my new projects for the past 2 days. It feels good to take a break of everything but being the person that I am, I can’t help but think of all the things I could have “accomplished” had I continued working. So then what does one do with 48 hours of uninterrupted free time? Read, ofcourse. And watch Ted talks. 

So here’s my latest problem (I know you missed this) 》》》 Africa.com. A website and online platform for everything Africa.  From business to leisure and from news to travel. Especially as an outsider or African living in the diaspora, this website is a good tool to stay up to date on Africa and get information about the continent itself. As those of us who are a bit familiar with the importance of online presence for organisations together with the names for the connected domains will understand, that for a country looking to atttact and inform tourists and investors the like, a website with an easy to find one stop domain is very important. Now looking at an entire continent comprising of 54 countries, Africa.com is a huge domain and a huge deal for the reputation and online presence of the continent. The website is currently the largest Africa related website online, with over 3 million registered users and even more visitors each month. Great.

So when I found this website, the next question arose.Who ownes Africa.com? 

Teresa Clarke. An American, former investment banker.

Not the African Union, not an African country, Not an African business. Not even an African born and raised,living in Africa. No, an American. And though she is black, and probably has her roots going all the way back to Africa and she has been living in Africa for many years now, this is exactly the same thing we “Africans” have allowed to happen for as long as we can remember. It is having great resources,  great tools, great opportunity and then, do absolutely nothing. 

And while there is nothing wrong with an (African) American building and owning this website, I actually applaud her for taking it up.  My problem lies in the fact that it took another “outsider” to see a need, see opportunity, make use of the tools and set something up that will benefit Africa. We have seen it happen many times and we are seeing too many examples of it now.

All these talks about Africa rising are great but is it really? Even though more and more Africans from the diaspora are going back to their home countries to set up local businesses with great impact, and locals are stepping forward to make a difference in their communities, the sad truth is that Africa is still not Run by Africans.We do however happily invite everybody else to run it for us.

To be continued…

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