This article will attempt to explain the core foundation of the Think Big for Africa platform. It’s to promote the philosophy that to develop Africa, young Africans must take personal responsibility for their lives.
Africa’s development goes hand in hand with the growth of African youths.
I came to this conclusion by looking at what my generation has done and doing across Africa.
We have done much based on the opportunity we were given.
I want to confer that I was born to a lucky generation of Africans.
Yes, I was.
Just post-independence for many countries in African, the 1970s was a real lucky era.
My generation (born between the late 60s to 1980) was born and raised when many of our systems (educational, healthcare, legal, infrastructure, etc.) still worked.
Many materials and oil were just being discovered and the money was flowing abundantly.
But the elites of my generation have largely ignored our duty because we have always had many options.
To me, the negligence of my generation is a major factor in the downfall of Africa’s economies.
Of course, I have to admit that it’s not so straight forward. We can all debate the causes, and point fingers to everyone else.
But I choose this moment to point my fingers to myself and my generation.
No matter who we blame, the consequences are real for everyone to see.
Today, I am sad that most African youths born in the last 40 years have NEVER seen the continent work effectively.
All they know are wars, hunger, decaying infrastructures, decaying social services (education, healthcare), and corrupt government institutions, etc.
Non-responsive governments across the continent.
My generation has not done the best work to move Africa forward. There are so many reasons for that, and I won’t try to articulate them in this article.
But my horror is that today’s African youths are still making the same mistakes of my generation.
Leaving everything to the government and hoping for our governments to save us and develop Africa without their own active input!
They don’t know better, just my generation didn’t know better.
There are no serious books that itemize and critically analyze the failure of African governments over the last five decades.
At least I don’t know of any, if you do, please recommend it.
In the African counties where elections are held, when political opposition gets into power, they do exactly the same as the other party that lost power.
Very few if any of the parties have serious political ideologies to drive sustainable change.
Most of them, are all the same.
All they want is to get into power to benefit their individual pockets at the expense of the millions of their country people.
It’s so very sad, indeed!
Yet, the majority of young Africans are still waiting and hoping for their government to save them.
STOP Bowing Down to Victim and Dependency Mentality!
Many of us have been sold victim and dependency mentalities. And these have contributed to young Africans not taking personal responsibility for their lives.
Various sources have repeatedly told them that whatever is going on with us as individuals, our countries, and our continent is not our fault.
And that it’s the responsibility of SOMEONE else to save us.
This is the biggest BS that many young Africans have adopted to everyone demise.
I don’t really know the real motive of the people who have perpetrated this thinking in African youth.
But I can clearly say that it is not to help them grow as individuals or to help Africa develop.
A similar mindset is sold to the youths in the western world and African youths see these on television, the internet, and social media.
What many Africa youths don’t see or understand is that the African countries are at least 100 years behind the developed Western countries.
So, if we choose to copy what we see on TV, the internet or social media, it will be to our peril and our continued underdevelopment.
I also see a lot of cultural baggage in the dorsal nature of most African youths, they defer to people in authority (parents, family, cultural, political and religious leaders) irrespective of their credentials on the subject of discussion.
Our continent is lagging behind and young Africans must take personal responsibility for their lives in order to close the gap.
Why Young Africans Must Take Personal Responsibility for Their Lives and Develop Africa
To make it clear; I’m not excusing the absolute non-performance of many governments across Africa.
But we need to be realistic about what we can expect in the next few decades if we continue to look up to our governments as our saviors.
We can’t expect massive improvements in the majority of African governments in the next decade that will create the number of jobs for the youths.
Here Come the Elephant: Is It A Friend or Foe?
China is here to stay; the big question is: Is it here as a friend or foe?
I choose to see the entrance of China in Africa as a good thing; as long as we do the right things to benefit from this.
I seriously hope we do.
China will crush Africa if she doesn’t grow exponentially in the next few decades.
This may be the best opportunity for the development of Africa in the next few decades, or even for a century.
China is in a huge competition with the Western world; both are looking for the same things in Africa, and Africa needs to take full advantage to her benefit.
But this is where Africa’s dilemma lies; it still needs experts in the various African governments to negotiate the best deals for the continent.
We all know that first and foremost, every country is looking out for its own people, and that includes China.
Unfortunately, many people in many African governments are not looking out for the interest of African people but are in government to look after their individual pockets.
I don’t have a lot of hope in this. However, I would be very happy if I’m wrong.
Think and Act Differently to Achieve A Different Results
Knowing the history of the selfish nature of many African government officials, I wonder why are the majority of young African not “thinking” to liberate themselves in a different way?
Many of them tell me that they are doing something.
When I ask them; WHAT?
I hear; comments on Social Media and on various online articles.
I feel disappointed because it’s no different from my generation, that’s all we do.
My generation has been complaining for over two decades, and it has not moved the needle one inch.
Yet, the next generation continues doing the same old thing.
It’s insanity; doing the same things over and over again and expecting things to change!
This hasn’t worked to their benefit most of the time, and they need to do something drastically different!
They need to take personal responsibility for their lives, and as an additional benefit of their personal growth, they will develop Africa.
Some may consider Africa’s development as a secondary benefit, but I consider it as the ULTIMATE reason for young Africans to develop themselves.
The number one reason why young Africans need to take personal responsibility for their lives and develop Africa is for their own survival in the emerging world.
All through the nearly fifty years of my life, Africa and Africans have been treated as less than first-class citizens of this planet.
I would rather not go into the details of our treatments.
But I would say this, we have the opportunity to write a brand new chapter of our future from today.
African youths must make themselves relevant and make Africa the envy of the world.
Not only for minerals’ human labor exploitation, which is limited and will soon be things of the past. But, for your intelligence, ingenuity, and innovation.
What Does It Mean to Take Personal Responsibility for One’s Lives?
Developing Africa is a massive project, it’s going to be difficult.
But we need to do this, otherwise, there will be no hope for a future, for the next generation of Africans.
This is what scares a lot of African youths when I tell them to take personal responsibility;
First, many of them think it’s about taking over the government, and that scares a lot of people including me.
It is not.
To take personal responsibility for one’s life and Africa’s development does not include taking over any government.
FOCUS on yourself and make yourself better in all areas of your life!
How can this seemingly simple strategy be the solution to the massive problem that Africa; a continent with 1.2 billion people have?
Everything is about people:
Communities, counties, the whole world are built around people.
For example; the level of affluence/wealth, education, health, etc. of any community is based on the accumulative affluence/wealth, education, health, etc. of the individuals in that particular community.
So, if the individuals who comprise a community, work on themselves and grow in different areas of their lives, their accumulative growth will affect their entire community.
For a community that comprises a thousand youths, if they learn to focus on their individual personal development that leads to fifty people earning Master’s degrees and PhDs, the level of education of the whole community will have risen by the same amount.
Many times, when I talk about focusing on individual personal development, I hear to talk about selfishness.
Collaboration Between Young Africa May Be Very Valuable!
Why can’t we do it together?
When I hear this, and I’m delighted.
It means that the people in my audience are thinking about collaboration which we need very much to pull this off.
It will be fantastic to collaborate, work hand in hand to develop everyone in our communities.
But the truth of life is that individuals have personal dreams and goals. Many of which are going in totally different directions.
So, to insist not to develop oneself until everyone does it together is fool’s errand.
Whenever one can find other like-minded individuals going in the same direction, it’s magical.
They can collaborate, hold each other accountable and catapult their individual and communal improvement faster.
How Can Young Africans Taking Personal Responsibility for Their Lives Help Develop Africa?
This is where the rubber meets the road…
It’s simple, but not very easy!
First, you need to make a very important decision to take personal responsibility for your life.
Without making this very important decision, nothing you will do will work.
Secondly, you need to know and understand what you want in your life.
The majority of people all over the world do not know or understand what they want in their lives. And that’s the simple reason why they are not happy or fulfilled.
So, you need to take care of this.
Once you have these two issues covered, you are ready to roll, because the world will open up to you in an incredible way, not seen before.
The opportunities that have always been outside your doorstep, but you didn’t see, you will suddenly see them.
As clear as day.
Young Africans, No One Will Develop Africa But You!
To take personal responsibility for one’s life may sound illogical to some people, especially when it’s the main strategy to develop a big continent like Africa.
It sounds daunting and simply impossible!
Like I said earlier, this is going to be very challenging, but what alternatives do African youths have?
It’s clear that we cannot continue to rely on the people in our governments, or outsiders to solve Africa’s problems.
If we do, Africa’s problems may continue for another century.
We have done that for over half a century already and look at where we have ended up; in the gutters!
What about using Charities/NGOs like many young Africans want to do?
Using Charities/NGOs means that we want to continue to rely on the benevolence of other people.
How long does any thinking person think this will last?
Charities/NGOs are a big subject in itself, and I will address their role in the development or under-development of Africa very soon.
We are proud people, and we have the capabilities to take care of ourselves and contribute massively to the rest of human civilization.
You do not need to become Dangote, Elon Musk or Steve Jobs.
Just be you, but a more powerful you.
The version of you with fewer complaints and more innovation to solve little everyday problems.
If a lot of us do this, the Dangote’s, Elon Musks and Steve Jobs will emerge from our mist.
But I want to be clear to you; this is just the beginning of a bumpy but exciting lifelong journey that you cannot truly imagine.
And we all need to find our own paths.
I’m on my own path on this journey, and I am encouraging you to find yours.
This is your life, and Africa’s future we are talking about.
This is the time for you to decide to take personal responsibility and do a lot more than my generation did.
Your generation must decide whether you want to continue being VICTIMS or to grow to become LEADERS.
I trust that you will make the right choice!
To yours and Africa’s progress…