April 24, 2024

 

Introduction

To properly understand where the continent of Africa stands in terms of its ability to hold itself, its undeniably important to understand the meaning behind the adjective being used to define it

“Hopeless”, as defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is a condition insusceptible to g remedy, and incapable of redemption. The strong emphasis being placed on the inability to improve is noteworthy in the analysis of Africa’s case of being a hopeless continent.

Now it goes without saying that Africa, just as the other continents surrounding it, has and will continue to have continent-specific issues to deal with and as such, considerations have to be made about the severity of the issues at hand, and the steps taken within the problem-areas to facilitate positive changes.

To further elaborate on the matter of dealing with Africa-specific issues as a continent, it is important to note that there are over 50 countries within the continent- the most of any other.

The media focus and attention on the nations within the continent suffering from country-specific issues thus tends to create the negative impression the entire continent is stained with.

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Media do and will continue to be the window for many, to the world beyond their peripheral vision, and the source through which their views, mind-sets, and inclinations are shaped. Again, considering the general comparative spread of negative media to positive media news, it comes then as no surprise that the general public perception of the continent continues to be drenched in the judgment and sludge of irreversible critique on its past and current state of affairs, without careful considerations for the changes being made within the present to affect the future positively.

A continent may be unable to redeem itself of the stains made by the media coverage it receives, and the view it has within the public eye within and outside of itself. Regardless, the capacity for change is unmistakably possible through the combined effort of decentralized independent sovereign states within the continent in question.

Take Asia for example, and the state it found itself in only a couple of decades ago, and the effort of countries within the continent- such as the economically deprived China, to pull the reputation of the entire continent out of the mud and back into the spotlight, through the country’s ambition to become a global powerhouse within a defined period (Bloomberg. 2017). This story typifies the possibility countries within the African continent have, to draw the reputation the continent deserves back to itself.

Just as it would be irreversibly defamatory to talk about the continent of Asia in a generalized negative light as a result of the huge class divide caused by the Dictatorship system of governance within North Korea and China, it would be equally defamatory to relish in the struggles of countries within Africa suffering from abject poverty and subject the entire continent to such a stigma.

Considering other countries within other continents tend to have very similar, if not worse situations to those within the continent of Africa, it is immeasurably flawed to state that the continent of Africa as a whole is doomed for impending disaster as though those within other continents have nothing to worry about.

Now, as it is with every good tale, it is critical to know the backstory of the characters involved- in this case, the continents and nations involved.

Africa, as far as historical evidence provides, has sat atop the pyramid of greatness and wealth in the genesis of humanity and the ancient era. From the abundant wealth of the great Mansa Musa of the old Mali empire; considered the richest man to ever grace the earth, to the logic-defying intellect of the ancient Egyptian empire’s infrastructure the African era of global dominance blossomed with incredible hope for centuries to come.

But then came the dystopia of colonialism that plagued most countries within the African continent for several decades. This era of totalitarian rule of Europe within Africa caused the free-fall of the African continent into the “inferiority complex” mindset (Madasari. 2020)- as the African economy was seen as a means to sell off more manufactured goods produced by the European countries, all while facilitating the continuous supply of raw materials for their manufacture plants from the tilling of the African soil. This was further elaborated on in the sense that the assigned role of the African in the international market was designed and decided by the European colonial rulers to focus solely on the production of raw agricultural produce in the days of the colonial rule, and even till date (Ocheni, Nwamkwo. 2012)

Despite these struggles, and seeming fall from grace, it still stands as erroneous to claim that the continent is utterly hopeless. Africa is slowly, but definitely surely beginning to showcase its abilities, and in some situations even pave the path for the global community to follow.

Some countries within the African continent, through some of the struggles encountered, have sought ways to utilize the issues within their specific country- sometimes even spreading it across huge segments of the African continent through innovation and perseverance.

Take for instance the boom of mobile money transactions, one would reckon such a revolutionary innovation took root and achieved its peaks outside of the media-tainted, so-called “poverty wrought” that is Africa- but interesting enough, the early beginnings of the Mobile Money era took place in none other than the East of the African continent, in Kenya.

After being further popularized by yet another African country- Uganda, through the South African telecoms powerhouse “MTN”, Mobile Money transactions are detailed to have handled close to a fifth of the nation’s economic transactions, as well as delivered an astounding 15% to the country’s total revenue (Appiah-Danquah. 2014). The flourishing of the Mobile Money market within Africa stemmed from the difficulty in transferring relatively large sums of money across two parties and the expenses involved (Parekh, Hare. 2020). This shows the innovative abilities of the African mind in utilizing the surrounding resources to produce effective systems in the face of seemingly hopeless conditions.

With the immensely favorable business conditions within numerous African countries in today’s world, its no surprise many foreign investors looking to set up massive corporations within the blossoming emerging markets Africa has to behold- the question thus stands, why do we in turn not see any hope within what is deemed a gold mine to foreign investors?

Hope and massive potential still do reside within Africa, but pends the innovative minds of young, passionate Africans to unearth it.

Again, taking a closer look into the financials per sector of some African countries, it becomes more than visible the massive steps being taken to crack open the opportunities within the continent otherwise deemed a “hopeless” continent.

Within the agricultural sector, massive improvements in the sector have been realized. With the gradual shift over to larger mechanized equipment in the farming process within some countries in Africa, the potential in the agricultural sector stands to be capitalized on. Aside from this, the realization of the further gains to be attained upon processing of the raw material produce has led some African leaders to cut certain ties with European and Western counterparts in the export of raw produce in favor of internal processing and sale at higher valuations

Ghana is an exemplary figure in the positive stance towards self-sufficiency in the improvement of cocoa beans instead of plain exportation to its trade partner, Switzerland (Hakeenah. 2021)

Africa is also seeing huge jumps within the e-commerce sector, with unicorn start-up companies like Jumia, in Nigeria, settling in to fill the huge gap of online trading within the continent to actively compete and reduce dependencies on other global e-commerce conglomerates such as Amazon and Alibaba (Bright. 2020).

It stands as no surprise given the expounded details of some sectors of economies within some African countries, that some of these very countries have staggering GDPs and per capita figures capable of rubbing against the shoulders of many other countries across the world indicating a resurgence of the African continent as a whole in the right direction through the developments individual countries in Africa make towards the common goal.

Now, pointing out all the positives in Africa does not expressly excuse its flaws. Africa does indeed have its own set of weaknesses and struggles as a continent- it would be false to say otherwise. One too many countries within Africa are known all too well for the heightened rates of blatant corruption within the Government offices, as well as issues related generally to Leadership.

Post attaining positions of power within their respective countries in some African countries, many leaders veer into one of the following- some choose to disregard continuity growth plans to develop and favor their own set of growth plans for the country, now to some extent, this might have been bend iced to the country in question if the leaders in power did sick to complete as much of their growth plans envisioned during their tenure of office unfortunately, they usually do not. And then of course, the other spectrum O the tale holds the leaders who seize power with plans to never return the national system to These two destructive systems many leaders in African countries adopt in their rule tenure creates a cycle of short bursts of short-term growth, without real long term ambition.

That aside, the point of the media portraying these relatively atrocious crimes of leaders in some African countries, and their impact on the majority of their populace as the general norm within all African countries, is a gross exaggeration that disrupts the full view of what Africa has to offer. This is not to assume the issues do not exist within some African countries, but only to state that they almost certainly happen with countries outside of the African continent, in different shapes and forms such as Venezuela, within the South American continent. This also seeks to display light on the distortions the media creates on the entire continent of Africa, without consideration of beautiful havens like the Seychelles, as well as the huge steps countries like Ghana, despite the massive corruption displayed within offices of power are trying to do to reverse their actions and create positive change within the nation- all of which usually goes undocumented by the same media outlets that seek to publicly stain the continent.

Africa is endowed with numerous natural resources and yet there is so much poverty on the continent

The media generally tend to prey on the troubles and inadequacies of some specific African countries, intentionally leaving out the positive narrative on Africa to tarnish the entire reputation of the continent (Ekpe. 2020). The unfortunate truth is that this act of continent shaming, and preying on inadequacies, go on to shut down any semblance of a growth mindset within the African continent’s populace as the news outlets and general media coverage on the continent only seem to speak negatively of the continent they live in. This creates a helpless sense of hopelessness within the minds of many Africans and causes them to fall further down the rabbit hole of dependence on other continents for help. The lack of self-esteem heavily imprinted in their minds, makes them view the continent they live within as the problem rather than the opportunity, and causes them to seek supposed “greener” pastures within the countries portrayed by the media as better in all areas. Many then tend to be stuck in a condition of verisimilitude upon arrival, arriving to the realization that they have sold themselves to a modernized form of slavery off the shores of their native home as in the case of some of the vulnerable migrants within Italy (Baker. 2019). That aside, numerous people living outside the continent of Africa tend to have a similar grave unconscious imprinting of a different message a message that makes them feel superior to all those living within the African continent, one that divides them from the reality of our equality in being human beings.

Thus, is the end goal of the media portrayal of the continent of Africa, to market a stained, irredeemable continent to itself and the world at large, and cause its populace as well as those foreign to it, to see it in utter contempt and distance themselves therein.

What then is the way forwards? Or does this piece only seek to babble on the effects of the media in drenching the continent in the sludge of inadequacy and hopelessness, and the acceptance of Africans and non-Africans alike in believing their word to the letter?

Intuitively speaking, Africans need and ought to come to the reckoning that the realities fed down our throats by the media are not all true- better still, they’re mostly false and only serve to flood us with the victim mentality of being trapped in a hopeless continent, without light for a better future within it.

Africans need to create for themselves the reality they would be proud to show forth to the generations to come. Nozipo Maraire, a renowned Zimbabwean writer and doctor once said, Until the Lion learns to write to tell his side of the story, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter”. A truthful and careful evaluation needs to be made by every African, to properly access the situation within their country, and the continent as a whole, to determine the ideal way forward Nothing is ever made hopeless for so long as breath exists, and hope exists Africa needs to globally showcase itself in the positive light it hopes to be viewed in, and put in the sufficient work necessary to back itself.

It is only there and then, that an African man will pride himself in the hope embedded within his home roots, and stand up to proudly represent the continent to which he belongs as such leaders within the continent will look to fix the blotching imagery stamped on their continent, beginning by fixing the countries they govern to serve as beacons to others to follow or concurrently rebuild the reputation Africa ought to be remembered for.

 

 

By Ntiamoah Gyebuaah Josephine (Student at UniMAC-GIJ)

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