Africa has a rich cultural heritage compared to the rest of the world. We have different kinds of resources that fascinate, inspire and interest the world, and knowing how to manage and use these resources will help us thrive. But our heritage is often overlooked and not celebrated well enough. When it is celebrated and commemorated, there is also the exploitation of this heritage and its people. This article will highlight how to use our rich cultural heritage for the continent’s socio-economic development and growth.
Understanding What We Have
African culture and traditions are vast. Not only are we rich in natural resources, but our culture and heritage are celebrated all over the world. From the clothes and beads we wear, the beautiful homes and environments we live in and open up to the world, to even our culinary heritage too. Africa is like a big melting pot that has everything everyone needs but didn't know they did until they found it.
With the Covid-19 pandemic forcing us to invest more into our own nations’ cultural resources in an effort to shift the state of the economy, we have opened up travelling opportunities, food business ideas, technological upgrades, and so much more to get African residents to experience the beauty and culture we have, preserve the history of our lands and work on bettering them in order to attract other nations. This, in turn, pushes us to open up to international exchanges, start conversations around how we can grow Africa and how the rest of the world can access our resources and great culture.
Africa To The World
There is a thin line between appreciation and appropriation, and more and more African countries have been having conversations around how much of Africa should be shared with the world and how much should remain our treasures. With collaborations, Africa stands a better chance of executing its rich cultures and heritage in non-exploitative ways and help shape the message that the continent is open for business and growth.
However, we need to be careful of the disadvantages the Western culture has on Africa and its influence on the future. While it is safe to say that since everyone, African countries included, is moving into a more digital era, the influence of Western culture plays a huge role in how Africans appreciate and utilise their culture, resources and heritage. The goal should be to want to exchange wisdom and resources as opposed to converting each other into another version of whatever culture we are collaborating with. So, when we give the world Africa, we should also allow ourselves to take some of the world without replacing who we truly are.
Heritage Growth. Economic Development.
There are a lot of factors affecting economic growth in Africa in positive and negative ways. The pandemic has robbed too many people of the opportunity to continue to make a living, changed the way businesses operate, and introduced new ‘not so normal’ ways of accessing things such as education and training. This has put Africa under immense pressure to take advantage of this adjustment by introducing digital literacy early in African children’s lives, as well as upskilling the current workers and business owners in order to adapt to the new normal.
There has been a significant change in the economies of different countries with tourism, culinary, technology and many more industries investing in and with African countries. It may be a long way to get Africa to be inclusive of more people, especially women, but the change is currently visible, so an impact is being made.
We Grow When We Help Each Other
One of the biggest advantages of African culture and traditions is being able to always help one another grow – education, business and otherwise. From taking our natural resources, inventions and capabilities, we have changed the way in which our economy functions by creating job and business opportunities from our backyards. Public and private sectors have caught on to the use of African cultures and heritage to grow businesses, with NGOs and development finance institutions lending a helping hand. Through social development and financially aiding the programs that help others in education, business and career, we automatically develop the state of our countries’ economies.
Not Easy, But Worth It
Socio-economic development is not an easily achievable goal; however, the growth and development of our economy are heavily influenced by the growth of our societies. And, how we grow our society is by exploring the rich talents we house and not exploiting them. The mismanagement of African resources needs to be accounted for so that change can be initiated. While we try to break away from the history of exploitation and corruption, we must remember that our resources and heritage are enough for us all, and there is a need to change the corrupt narrative into an inclusive and honest one.
From art to architecture, farming to logistics, Africa is taking shape and rising in an attempt to change the course of the economy and allow future African leaders to have a place to lead. It is also through collaborative efforts that we find ourselves uniting in order to offer other nations outside our shores the opportunity to experience everything there is to offer by this vast and beautiful continent. DBSA supports a lot of programs and initiatives that help African businesses and the education systems thrive and prosper.