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‘People need to see Africa as it is’

I realise this is becoming the ‘Africatruths’ blog, but hey, Africa is synonymous with development right?! (Truthfully, there’s a lot more written about it, it’s the continent where ‘development’ is appropriated by the world as the primary discourse and contains some of my favourite countries in the world so there is a slight bias – I will work on it).

I don’t agree with everything in the article and it’s a shame that it focuses on business, but I agree with the sentiment: http://www.howwemadeitinafrica.com/?p=42154

[Mo] Ibrahim did however highlight a couple of misconceptions about Africa, one being that Africa’s 54 different countries are often clumped together and considered one homogeneous region. The existence of war or human rights violations in one country is often generalised to the entire continent.

He noted when there is war in Ukraine or genocide in Bosnia, no one calls all of Europe a “basket case”, like they do when these events happen in Africa.

Another misconception is that bad leadership is unique to Africa. Ibrahim said the continent is often remembered for its bad leaders such as Mobutu (President of the DRC, then known as Zaire, from 1965-1997) and Idi Amin (President of Uganda from 1971-1979). He argued that the western world has also had its fair share of bad leaders.

“Come on, you had Milošević, you had Berlusconi, you had Hitler, you had Mussolini. You had all those guys. So I just hope for the day that [the west] recognises that we [Africans] are just normal people, like everybody else, who is blessed with a huge continent. We have a lot of resources and we have mismanaged it sometimes… We have had some failure in leadership; we accept that as well. We all have our faults but we are dusting ourselves off and trying to move ourselves forward and we have a better, new generation coming through,” he said.

“People need to see Africa as it is. Africa is a normal continent. We are normal people just like you, the guys in America, or anywhere else.”

Thoughts? Is Ibrahin on the money or has he got it wrong? As usual, please do let me know!

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