“However long the night, the dawn will break” – African Proverb. The dawn has broken and yet, Africa remains where it was. Must we allow for another dawn before change can happen, or do we take matters into our hands and grow grass through concrete. I choose the latter.
As an African, an African living in the diaspora, or a friend of Africa, I am sure you have heard at some point, someone says it is time for Africa. There is an entire movement built around this notion. Africa will rise and take its rightful place amongst the continents and contribute to the world’s economy. African nations will have a voice at the decision table. This has been words uttered by so many, yet here we are. Africa remains for the majority a very hard knock place.
Sure there is upward mobility, more Africans are taking their destiny into their hands, more investors are making their way to Africa, and startup poolooza is afoot. Therefore the argument is always that it will change over time. At the current rate of change, Africa will remain as is for the majority, and nothing will have changed in this century. We must change course, and act faster. We need Regulations, we need policies that take into consideration our current realities, and a more competitive workforce. To do so, we must first cite a few of our challenges, so that we know what we are solving for:
Africa currently has the 2nd largest population in the world with over 1.3 billion citizens, and the fastest growth rate at 2.52% with only 43% population density. Many believed that Asia, particularly China became a world power because of its population. And while this theory is not proven, it is hard to refute, however there are many other factors that are not mentioned when dowling out this opinion. China built itself into a super power by taking on the world’s manufacturing. They made themselves unavoidable. Ever heard of made in China. Everything is made there, not by mistake, or by chance but because China realized they had the world’s largest population, a lot of people to feed and therefore very affordable workforce. A workforce they put to use. They understood that this could only get them so far, which is why they started seeking knowledge and R&D became very important to them. Today, China is where it is because they made hard decisions, and chattered a course that could only lead them where they are now.
The political climate in Africa is ever so volatile, and corruption is rampant. While we like to blame our overlords, the colonizers, it is high time that we start taking responsibility for our own destiny. Nelson Mandela famously cited the words of Williams Ernest Henley when he said “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul” When you listen to most African’s today, there are no doubts that very few consider themselves the master of their fate. All is either left to God, a pastor, or another or worse yet to the next political regime, who presumably will come and fix all the problems without a concrete plan of action. We are hungry, they come to our villages with beds of rice just a few months before the election, we are fed, and we vote for them, only to realize that there is no more rice once they’ve won the election. After the election, it is all about them, and their pockets. And the next election comes, and it is full circle again. This vicious cycle has been the norm on the black continent since most countries gained their independence. Bad actors that mask themselves as good, and smile while taking the common goods out of the country, leaving those they are meant to serve starving, and waiting for more rice the next election round.
We are divided, while we can only overcome united. I will repeat the statics above once again: Africa has the second largest population in the world with over 1.3 billion citizens, and the fastest growth rate at 2.52% with only 43% population density. This ever growing number of citizens does very little good for the majority of the continent because the world’s economy is built on investment, which is mostly derived from perceptions. As it stands, Africa as a whole is very interesting to invest in, there is a total addressable market of 1 billion+. However, Africa is made up of many small countries that by themselves just does not meet the minimum requirement for major investments. And major investments are what we need in Africa. The counter argument is the African Union, headquartered in Ethiopia, and whose founder we African’s let kill, for lack of better words. The African Union offers no solidarity to the continent, it offers no treaty of value, nor does it offer actual results to any of the people living on the African continent. It is a facade, and nothing more. True unity is required here, and will take several lifetimes to accomplish.
But we must start now if we are to ever get to the promised land. We must all of us, raise our sleeves, and contribute our part to move the burden as far as we can so that those that come after us can do the same. Itinere University was birthed from this initiative. Itinere Cloud has always believed that education is the way of bringing quality pupils with the necessary skill sets to tackle most of the challenges facing Africa. We started by equipping the market with the required tools, hardware, software and training to enhance new ways of learning and working. Now we bring forth a university to provide students at all levels of their journey, tangible hands-on learning designed to propulse a Kindergarten to Employment approach, where students at any level have the necessary skills to join the workforce and be direct contributors.
Priding ourselves as a solution provider company, Itinere University will provide the employability traits and skills that will produce professionals with the required skill set to penetrate the opportunities that currently is not being tapped into due to lack of required skill sets or technical know how. “Blomberg estimates there are over 700k technical jobs that will remain unfilled in 2019. By 2020, that number jumps to 1.5 million just in the cybersecurity industry.” How can African be upskilled to take on some of those roles. Itinere Cloud has always fostered the kind of education that provides all the necessary skill set including collaboration, teamwork and problem solving that employers say matters to them. Now with itinereU, we can provide more technical and targeted training that complements what students are learning in their respective school to get them a crucial edge.
If you are part of the human race, meaning you can draw a breath, and you possess thinking faculties. We ask for your help. Not for the starving kids in Africa, not for the usual war thorn imagery you are accustomed to. Rather this time for the future of Africa, for the dream that may never be, for the dawn that has broken but not with the promise that it was supposed to carry. For when you “give a man a fish, you’ll feed him for a day.” However when you “teach a man how to fish, you’ve fed him for a lifetime.”
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