The Rise and rise of Africa, the next global growth story

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May be you have not realized it, may be you have not noticed it but Africa is changing and rising fast. The the new technology combined with Africa new generation, the very young, energetic? and technology hungry are making unprecedented desirable progress across Africa. From somewhere or nowhere these people have come to discover that they have freedom of creativity and with that it is upon them to solve their own problems and come up with ways to solve other people’s problems around them. The dawn of mobile phones and the internet? has been a big blessing to Africa. The UN predicts that cell-phone ownership will reach 5 billion in 2010, with most growth in the developing world. This incredible proliferation of cell phones and connectivity offers an unprecedented opportunity to access vast populations, including those previously hard-to-reach populations in rural areas.

The internet and the new media has changed the story telling landscape and given voices to formerly voiceless. Africans can now tell their own stories, and through new media we have seen people expressing themselves through blogs, websites, pictures. Now the world is starting to take notice of what is going on? in Africa, the changes, the real progress. Talking about that, globalvoicesonline.org has been in forefront in projecting out to the world what people are saying in Africa through blogs

Not long it was hard to get any positive story about Africa on Western media, any writing or news about Africa was about the war and the UN missions, the disease, the hunger. On top of that there was nothing to say about Africa, that is why magazines like The Economist, Times, Newsweek used to dump Africa together with middle East in one corner, talk about the war and corruption in one page. Probably that is still there on the hard copy papers but? what i see online is completely different. There so many Africa great stories which can no longer be covered on one page, or neither can they just be dumped in one corner with middle East. Let look just a few? stories on the Western media in the last few months

Ushahidi Story on New York Times. I start with this one because it has my favorite quote:

Think about that. The capital of the sole superpower is deluged with snow, and to whom does its local newspaper turn to help dig out? Kenya

Still on Ushahidi BBC had this to say:

Kenya is nearly 12,000km (8,000 miles) from Chile and is therefore perhaps not an obvious place from which to try to coordinate the earthquake relief efforts.

Newsweek on how Africa is Becoming the New Asia

China and India get all the headlines for their economic prowess, but there’s another global growth story that is easily overlooked: Africa. In 2007 and 2008, southern Africa, the Great Lakes region of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, and even the drought-stricken Horn of Africa had GDP growth rates on par with Asia’s two powerhouses. Last year, in the depths of global recession, the continent clocked almost 2 percent growth, roughly equal to the rates in the Middle East, and outperforming everywhere else but India and China. This year and in 2011, Africa will grow by 4.8 percent?the highest rate of growth outside Asia, and higher than even the oft-buzzed-about economies of Brazil, Russia, Mexico, and Eastern Europe, according to newly revised IMF estimates. In fact, on a per capita basis, Africans are already richer than Indians, and a dozen African states have higher gross national income per capita than China.

The Economist on Outsourcing to Africa

Kenya also boasts a decent workforce: educated, hard-working, closer to customers in Europe and America than Asian call-centre workers, and, some say, more comprehensible too.

Then came our Super Hero Makmende Story, The Wall Street Journal was the first to pick it up

Makmende has a number of catch-phrases to his credit, including ?Just heard that #Makmende can tweet 141 letters!?; ?Some people wear Superman pajamas. Superman wears #Makmende pajamas?; ?#makmende is so cool, Even his enemies list him as their emergency contact number?; and ?#Makmende can never have a heart attack, his heart is not so foolish to attack him.?

Fastcompany followed on the foot steps of The Wall Street Journal on Makmende

The video, for the song “Ha-He,” is the first such video to really take off in Kenya. It’s gotten tens of thousands of hits (no comparison to the “OMG cat,” but that’s not really a fair fight–look how surprised that cat is!) in just a week, and the Wall Street Journal reports that it even launched its own “Chuck Norris quote” phenomenon for the main character, Makmende. (Our favorite: Makmende can tweet 141 characters).

And CNN was not be left behind on the Makmende great story.? David Mackenzie African CNN correspondent said this on twitter yesterday:

Our #makmende story first airs in the 8am hour tomorrow (kenya time)…with I am sure a lot of plays after that.

When GSMA announced winners of the 15th Annual Glogal Mobile Awards, Kenya took center stage with three awards

Government Leadership Award
Winner: Kenya

Best Mobile Money Service
Winner: Safaricom ? M-PESA (bulk payment & utility bill) extension to service

Best Mobile Money for the Unbanked Service
Winner: Zain Bahrain B.S.C ? ZAP

The Art Newspaper on the Deutsche Bank artist of the year award

Deutsche Bank has presented its first ever ?Artist of the Year? award to African artist Wangechi Mutu. The selection was made on the recommendation of curators including Okwui Enwezor, Hou Hanru, Udo Kittelmann and Nancy Spector, who comprise the Deutsche Bank Global Art Advisory Council.

So is there real change and progress in Africa? Personally i think so, and I see Africa becoming major player in the global stage in the next five years. I know there are people who will dismiss this at the first glance but think about it. Yes there are numerous problems around but one thing is for sure people have realized that problems present opportunities, there are solutions to any problem and it is just a matter of figuring out how to do it.? If you disagree or agree leave your comment below

What is your opinion on the topic?
Kennedy Kachwanya
Lead Blogger at Kachwanya.com
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Kennedy Kachwanya is a technology blogger interested in mobile phones both smart and dumb, mobile apps, mobile money, social media, startups ecosystem and digital Savannah. New media must not forget the strength of old tech.
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