As this meeting draws to a close, I have been privileged to hear, feel and interact with the grand ideas that are gestating around Africa’s Transformation. I have heard about the immense opportunities that lie before us in the agriculture sector, a sector bursting with the potential to “feed the world”, putting Africa back in her rightful and historic place as a breadbasket for the world, capable of feeding rather than being fed.
I have experienced the extent to which the continent’s people are embracing, deploying and crafting technology, something I have more than a passing interest in as I head a company whose early leveraging of technology has been critical to our success and forms a key part of our expansion platform.
I have engaged in discussion panels that have highlighted the fact that innovation, rather than being something that Africans needed to embrace, is, in fact, indigenous to the African continent. Africa and Africans have given the world thousands of years of critical innovations in a myriad of areas and continue to do so. The difference now is that we insist on doing so on terms that are fair and just, and of mutual benefit. No longer will we stand aside and see our works, be they cultural or technological, ripped off or pawned off.
I have had the chance to argue that development in Africa must not simply be about oil and resources; it must also be about industry that cultivates human-driven resources, especially those that power creative industries. Creative industries – such as fashion and design – are proven money-makers and great job creators. Wide swaths of Africa, from Addis to Accra, have the resources and talent and the heritages to become just as dominant and successful in creative-driven industries as Milan or Paris! So it’s a no-brainer that African creative industries must be given the room and support to grow and flourish. (cont…World Economic Forum on Africa)