I desperately wanted to hate this op-ed which the NYT published yesterday and Bono wrote, but at the end it was a rather good piece. There is this narrative which is beginning to form which is the first coherent, resonant, and positive narrative on Africa that I’ve heard.
Bono’s piece encapsulates the narrative quite well actually, but let me summarize. Africa is getting to get its act together. Although outliers like here where I live will remain, the rest of the continent (led by countries like Senegal, Ghana, Tanzania, and Botswana) are really moving forward. Last year was the first time since the 1960s where average per capita income for the entire continent rose. Arts are flourishing, people are beginning to move up Maslow’s hierarchy which is developing a strong and engaged middle-class. In summary, it is an exciting time in Africa for all the reasons it has always been exciting, but for new ones too.
I did like some of the imagery in the piece. Particularly how at Ghana University Mo Ibrahim was the rock star and Bono was the apprentice. I like how Bono day dreams of owning NBC and NYT (but I wonder why NBC).
At the end of the day, the taste that resides in my mouth is of optimism. And that, in and of itself is a big step forward. Because the rest of this is going to take work, lots of work and hope will be the fuel of that engine.
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