What I want for the continent
As a young person who is often searching for answers to difficult and exceedingly complex socio-economic issues, and most importantly as a student at the African Leadership Academy (ALA), I know what I want for the continent.
Decades down the line, I want - No, I expect a story of building and re-building, of earning and of giving back. Young leaders are often faced with the challenge of finding their path and motivation while at the same time, establishing core values.
A big part of what ALA does it to expose you to constructive situations that will challenge you to reflect and engage in difficult situations. This is mostly through critical reading and experiential learning, and the Student Enterprise program. You’re expected to be an entrepreneurial leader that can use a need-based mindset to solve certain problems.To be an entrepreneurial leader one requires passion, vision, extensive data mining skills, and a high moral ground.
Africa is now considered the next investment hub of the world. Investment in the continent is integral and it makes perfect sense for entrepreneurs to expand on Africa’s growing internal markets. After all, it is said that our growing middle class is approximately the same size as that of India and China. This new growing middle class is rapidly becoming consumer based and is demanding goods and services that fit their lifestyles and needs. There are great examples of ventures that are capitalizing on this such as iROKO Tv and soleRebels among others. This is great news, as it shows that entrepreneurship can and will be the liberating force for Africa’s economy!
I came across Nigerian Philanthropist Tony Elumelu’s pithy comment that Africans themselves will be at the forefront of the continent’s economic renaissance. There is no way for us to be prescient about the future state of investment in Africa, but it is time we get our tentacles into various sectors of the economy. Should I build and re-build? Earn and give back? I think so …
Maimuna Abdi Yussuf is a Somali and Kenyan second-year student at African Leadership Academy.