We’ve known for many years, if not decades, that African nations were the recipients of a bad rap of misrepresentation, stereotyping, and negative media of all sorts. Which is why many books have been written, and organizations and movements formed, to tackle this very issue.
With each passing day the real news about our beloved continent continues to emerge. What’s the real news you might ask? Don’t look too far! Read between the lines of the news.
As I’ve been looking at where the continent is headed in 2019 I found great news, some of which I like to share with you. The first is the November, 2018 McKinsey & Company report on Business in Africa: Africa’s overlooked business revolution.The second is the January, 2019 Brookings Institution report on African Governance: Africa is an opportunity for the world: Overlooked progress in governance and human development.
The reports are probably some of the best I’ve seen in recent years about the true scale and dynamism of the continent in the 21st century. The key word is clear: overlooked. Let me say it again: the African continent is being overlooked.
After reading both of these stories you’ll notice something familiar: the question of perception of the continent versus the reality on the ground. Misunderstanding of the African continent, created by the news media, has often led to fear, delusions, and a drain on the potential for investment in the continent. This needs to change.
But here we are. To gripe and complain about the news is one thing. To take action, a premise of our organization, demanding change about the reportage of the news, is something else. Over the last several years, we’ve often fought back the negative characterization of the African continent portrayed in the media. While this is not new, there is an uptick in the number of individuals, organizations that want to see change too. That’s what I see from The Brookings Institution as well as from the McKinsey & Company reports.
So now, it appears, we have a few more friends in this battle to change the news. And that is the good news!
Lastly I invite you to join us and our friends of the Africana Studies department at the Metropolitan State University of Denver for the 36th Annual Black World Conference on February 13 and 14. We’ve published the event schedule on the Africa Agenda website. Please check it out and join us in the celebration of Black History Month.