For Your Daily Dose of MbA

Microblog on Facebook so follow today :)


"Culture is the heritage of us all. some may be more interested than others in the treasures of the past, but no one can fail to take a pride in his country's participation in the story of mankind, as represented in carvings, sculpture, music, paintings and the other arts. And there is a personal commitment to this, for no man can really say he is alone: we are all joined through our identity, with the cultures which are part of the mainstream of life"
- Simon Kapwepwe, Zambian Independence Freedom Fighter

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm" - Winston Churchill

"Try to be the rainbow in someone else's cloud" - Maya Angelou

"Your time is limited so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinion drown out your inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition" - Steve Jobs

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Hilary Clinton Speaks to the President's Forum of Young African Leaders: "Africa's future is up to Africans"

Hilary Clinton delivered a great speech during the first day of the President's Forum for Young African Leaders. It inspired me to finally start a new blog feature, AMASHIBI, (a-ma-SHI-bvi/ wi), which means words. She described the continent as a place "brimming with potential" and the fact that 60% are under the age of 25 means that there is a really opportunity for us to be leaders.  With poverty and child mortality on the decline, even though it may not seem we are not making progress due to the fact that there is a systematic focus on negativity when reporting on the continent, Africa is set  to fulfill its "promise of becoming a leader."

She said it was time to focus on the "gains" not on the challenges to help inspire people.  She commended the elections in Ghana, Botswana and SA as "models of freeness".  She quoted Obama who had said in Ghana last year that "Africa's future is up to Africans." She then acknowledged that the US needs to view its relationship with the continent differently - it needs to be partners with it, not the benevolent dictator.  She called for expanding trade agreements to be more conducive to bilateral exchange and to encourage intercontinental trade as well.  She also called for full female participation and mentioned the African Women's Entrepreneurship Program that kicked off in DC on the 26th of July and is moving to Kansas City tomorrow. She talked about needing to take climate change seriously too.

She also brought up the need to continue to educate Americans about Africa.  She talked about how when she had made a visit to the continent in the late 90s as First Lady, she realised she needed to be proactive in this regard.  This was confirmed when a reporter asked her "So what's the capital of Africa".  Oh dear! Oh dear dear dear dear...As LOLZ likes to say "Africa is not a country, its a continent." It inspired a lovely T-Shirt I know have that was made for Africa week for my undergrad's African Students Association that had a little Africa filled in solid at the front with the country bit and then large Africa that covered the back with all the boarders outlined and the continent part of the quote.  I decree that this should be an initiative the American government takes up: passing out free t-shirts to the public like the ones we had ;). Although an African American once told me she was led to believe that Africa was a country because the map was presented to her as the outline of the continent with the country borders inside and this was the same way they presented America to her with the state borders so she assumed that that what in actuality were countries were in fact states.  Quite a logical deduction when you think about it.  So the word continent has to be featured on the back in LARGE LETTERS with the outline in order for this initiative to really educate ;}.

She also touched on how we are pioneers in Information Technology.  It always blows my mind how people do not know that we had mobile phones too by the mid-90s and by the year 2000 our adoption was exponential.  My "proudly" Canadian friend told me about an aid worker's joke that plays on the fact that the difference between Manhattan and Northern Ghana is that they can get reception in the remote area in which they were stationed :). Clinton mentioned Ushaidi, meaning testimony in Swahili, an application that was originally pioneered in Kenya using google maps to alert people on their phones as to where violence was occurring during the 2008 elections.  It has now been used in Burundi, South Africa, DRC, Sudan, Namibia, India and Haiti.  She also mentioned Apps-4-Africa, an initiative to foster application development for mobile phones.  Winners are to be announced in September.  She believes that this will lead to being able to implement e-government in African countries.  We know how to use "good ideas [to] leapfrog technologies and borders."

For the amount of times she mentioned Africa holistically, you would think North Africa was represented.  You are talking to Sub-Saharan Africa, not the whole continent.  Let us be clear about that.  Still very annoyed about this.  It irked me even more when she talked about the separate entrepreneurship program aimed at Muslim countries which included Eygpt.  She made it seem like they weren't serious. I would gander they were skeptical because of US sentiment towards Islam. The only low point in what was a very inspiring speech.

No comments:

Post a Comment