What’s Up With The ‘Africa Rising’ Rhetoric

The African continent has gone through its share of definitions. One that has persisted over decades was its association with gloom, complete with the “Dark Continent” moniker. And then all of a sudden (or perhaps gradually), Africa started to ‘rise’.

“I think that there are quite a number of profound flaws to the Africa rising narrative, the first one being, we’re coined not by an African but a well-meaning western journalist. Someone who is on the outside looking in and comparing the state of the continent today to what it was fifteen years ago,” says Tanzania Businessman Ali Mufuruki in a 2014 TEDx Talk.

The continent has come a long way, but again, be reminded that the continent’s fifty-four countries have always been inadvertently lumped together. It would be all too simple to qualify all countries as ‘equally rising’. Nigeria, Africa’s giant is currently going through a recession that has seemed to reverse any advances made over the last few years. Ethiopia, a country that made great strides to boost its economy is now dealing with anti-establishment issues of epic proportions. Many other countries are going through their fair share of incessant internal turmoil. And yet many others [case in point:  Tanzania] continue to rise above the fray.

“We have embraced this narrative without questioning it, and I think that’s why we are where we are. We are beginning to question this whole idea of Africa rising.”

Watch the video above for more on this conversation.

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