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What Africa Can Learn From Our Past To Promote A Better Future

We’ve all heard the saying, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. History is an important factor in our lives as it shapes our present and influences our future. African history has always been fascinating as it dates back to some of the most unique economic eras. With everything changing and evolving, there is a need for Africa to catch up in order to thrive, but what can our past teach us about change and evolution? Let us look at how Africa’s rich heritage can aid in providing answers to our current and future challenges and ways we can help promote this continent’s development. 

Learning The History To Live With The History

It’s no news that Africa is a rich continent. From oil to diamonds, timber and other natural resources, Africa takes pride in being a continent of possibilities. However, African countries face major challenges due to factors such as mismanagement of these resources and corruption. High levels of corruption, lack of policies on wealth management, poor resource allocation, exploitation, and political instability are some of the factors that affect the continent in a major way. These factors need to be addressed to enable African countries to benefit from the abundant resources in their hands. There is resilience from different sectors in trying to regain and repurpose Africa’s growth and economy; however, there is a long way to go. With things moving into a more digital space, there is hope if more and more Africans gain access to this digital world. 

Whatever Is Natural To Us Is Necessary

There is merit in the way African countries have handled the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on everything and everyone. With countries such as Rwanda, Togo and Tunisia gaining popularity over their response to the pandemic and South Africa being praised for the way they handled lockdown, it is evident that our natural resources, of whatever kind, come into play. From small businesses forming out of gardens in homes to impactful and relevant African conversations and content placing Africa in the spotlight, it is through our own use of our own capabilities, resources and talents that we are able to sustain ourselves and therefore change the position of the economy. Plus, we get to showcase Africa to the world. 

We’re No Longer Shy About Having Difficult Conversations

It is beautiful to see African countries opening up to exposing hard truths about them and asking for assistance from other countries. It is even better to see other African countries standing in support and solidarity behind each other. Through collaborations for projects, products and services, as well as collectively working towards debunking and dismantling oppressive systems, Africa’s fightback has and always will be a force to be reckoned with. It hasn’t been easy, and suffering has been visible, but it is through working together that we are able to get somewhere. 

The way we respond to challenges now is also a representation of our history. Awareness of how the leaders before us dealt with oppression (though it may be a different sort this time) has made us either follow the same paths or adjust ours to fit our narrative. For example, the women of South Africa in 1956 fought against the apartheid government's control over the movement of black women in urban areas, and the women of Africa today are fighting for equal rights, opportunities and pay. This shows that as the struggle continues, so does resilience. 

A Better Future For All Awaits

Africa is growing and changing. Socio-economic development in African countries has been the backbone of most of them – from infrastructure development to digital literacy and creating ways to fund programs that help more and more industries. The most important thing in the African history timeline is knowing and understanding the history of our own wealth and resources. Once that has been achieved, aiding in preserving and distributing resources will also be possible. DBSA, much like a lot of other development finance institutions, pride themselves on being able to identify what Africa needs to develop and assist in acquiring some of them. For example, our infrastructure fund addresses the need for blended finance to enable the efficient execution of socio-economic infrastructure programmes and projects in South Africa. 

Diversity In Leadership

Africa has been operating under systems that favour the male more, and as the world adjusts to the new normal, it is evident that leadership needs to be re-evaluated and adjusted. The need for more human resources begets the need to train and educate everyone, women included. The notion that women will not be given access to the same career and education opportunities is a thing of the past. Now, for the sake of the economy and for the sake of creating a better world for all, we need to create and continue rooting for opportunities for women, people of colour, and those who have long been marginalised to lead and take charge. 

In Conclusion

It is possible to learn from our history in an effort for a better future. But, we must not hold back on providing and dissecting said history. If we open up conversations around all of our challenges, hindrances and more, we stand a better chance at coming up with a collective solution that is going to benefit us all. While we know every war has its casualties, it is paramount to remain in the mission to create better access to opportunities, education and history that reside in our beautiful and rich roots.