The African Angle – The Need to Unleash Africa’s Ideas

The African Angle resizePresident Obama’s African Leadership Summit convened in early-August, connecting African leaders to their U.S. counterparts in an effort to spur cross-continental partnerships. David Stevens, President of Fireside Research and a project leader at the World Policy Institute, describes the significance of the Summit and the importance of mutually-beneficial, innovative idea-sharing between Africa and the West.

 

While there have been meaningful changes in discourse surrounding how best to work with Africa, the current emphasis on Africa’s potential as a consumer market does not, in and of itself, change the view of Africa as a region. Rather, it replicates a view that holds Africa as a place from which profit is to be taken. This is not necessarily a bad thing. The prospects for returns can certainly motivate the influx of foreign capital and technical know-how that the continent requires to turn it’s present potential into self-sustaining systems that can meaningfully elevate standards of living.

 

But if the current interest in Africa does not further greater integration of economies and an honest two-way street approach to growth, then conditions of exploitation are certain to reemerge. If Western interest in Africa’s long-term success is defined solely on it’s ability to produce and consume goods, then we will all be worse off. If however, Africa is fully embraced as a key contributor to the world of ideas-if the innovation, and the creativity of African scholars, business leaders, artisans, artists, and thought-leaders is taken seriously, we will all be better positioned to prosper in the coming century.

 

To read the blog, please click here.

Latest News

AAI Announces Participation in African Leaders Speak Conference at Harvard Kennedy School

Covenant University Selected as a Partner for Jim Ovia Foundation Leaders Scholarship

The Africa-America Institute Announces Partnership with Empatico to Bring Free Digital Learning Tool to Ghana and Nigeria