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You’ve heard about the African Renaissance, right? The Aid Bosses, once the unquestioned successors in Africa to the joint heirloom of Mother Teresa and Lord Clive of Chennai, are finding it harder and harder to get face time with the political grandees in our wheeling and dealing capitals. The Chinese are fawning all over our oil and copper, forcing once-aloof Westerners to write treatises about why China’s engagement with the continent isn’t all marshmallow candy. These concerns get polite nods here and there but, mostly, serious Africans ignore them and firmly redirect the conversation back to private equity, or franchise deals, or something along those lines. Bottom line: Are you game or are you out? And have you heard that we have more mobile phones than any other continent besides Asia?The curious thing, though, is that Africans aren’t basking in a perpetual high. The fact that the continent is tired of being lectured to and treated as a curiosity to sate the intellectual pretensions of Westerners doesn’t mean that Africans are blind to the challenges they perceive as obstructing every aspect of their continent’s development.
Take any newspaper printed in Africa any day. Whether you are in Dakar or Asmara, the wailing and ranting brims over; doomsayers and purveyors of gloom compete for the prize of most pessimistic outlook all morning, noon and dusk on local radio, Facebook and — where such media has been cordoned off by overzealous political police — in the backseats of tightly packed mini-buses.
Read the rest of the article at Harvard Business Review >
This post originally appeared at Harvard Business Review.