Contemporary Africa Through Poetry

About the Anthology

The present work has been inspired out of a conglomerate of ideas, ideals, aspirations, desires and questions that have survived decades of existence and independence in Africa. Literature in English has been conceived of as a dark room where only the daring and adventurous enter. More especially are the genres of poetry and drama, which have the tendency of receiving very little or no attention at all. This is why the anthology – a product of people from various backgrounds- has sought to discuss and portray several perspectives of African and international themes in various tones. Themes range from affection, through the classroom to the highest office of the land (The Presidency).



 Seeding growth: Africa’s youngest entrepreneurs

In 2050, there will be over 2 billion Africans in our world. By then, Africa’s youth will account for over 60% of the world’s young, with over 1 billion people needing jobs. Africa has virtually unlimited thirst for investment, with an infrastructure deficit alone of $90 billion and growing. We can’t afford to not understand Africa. With 6 of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world in the region, Africa is becoming today what China was a couple of decades ago: the next frontier for explosive growth. It’s no wonder The Economist which once called Africa the “hopeless continent” will now turn around to herald “Africa Rising” on its cover 13 years later. This reversal in fortunes and economic surge of the region has been uplifting for the continent as a whole, and for me personally as an African (with Ghanaian, Egyptian and Burkinabe heritage), whose childhood was mired in tropes of poverty and darkness.

I spent the last 3 years (2012-2015) traversing the nooks and crannies of my continent, visiting 43 African countries and interviewing over 600 entrepreneurs. I am capturing the new Africa being built through the eyes of the new African personalities, the young men and women who are taking charge of their destinies and building business enterprises and innovative non-profits to radically change their lives and the lives of their communities. I am telling the story of markets being created, industries being disrupted and theories being challenged. I will describe the challenges and opportunities of seeding growth in a continent so complex and varied and exciting. The goal is to provide readers with a compelling insight into business in Africa, a continent that will grow in its global importance. The hope of the continent and the future of its trajectory lies in the iconic young entrepreneurs. As Sarah Lacy declared in her recent book Brilliant, Crazy, Cocky, “one hundred years from now, when we look back on the 21st century, the dominant story won’t be one of the emerging world graciously serving as the West’s inexhaustible source of low-cost labor and growing middle classes hungry for new goods and services. It’ll be the story of the formation of new, raw, superpowers violently and chaotically bursting through the world’s floorboards. And it won’t be the story of politicians. It’ll be the story of entrepreneurs.” I daresay the 21st century will be the African century. We can’t afford to not understand the continent especially through the eyes of those who matter, the young people who will constitute majority of the population.

“Seeding Growth: Africa’s Youngest Entrepreneurs” hopes to profile and tell the stories of a changing Africa through the eyes of some of the youngest and most promising African entrepreneurs, with the ultimate goal to inspire young people to use their entrepreneurial energy to change Africa through creating opportunities for others.  The book hopes to counter the negative perception of Africa (I will not paint a “all is honey and milk picture” either, but rather push for a nuanced, balanced, truthful perspective), equip readers with intimate knowledge about the markets and growth across the region, and to show how young creative entrepreneurs are identifying problems as opportunities and seeding growth in a continent that has been long overlooked, but is poised for explosive growth and opportunity.

This book will be dedicated to an old friend, a brother and a mentor, the late Komla Dumor, the extraordinary journalist who was the face of BBC Africa. Komla always told me we as Africans have a responsibility to tell our stories, otherwise others will tell it for us in ways we will despise. In many ways, I’m privileged and fortunate to be well positioned to tell the story of African entrepreneurship. In exciting news, Seeding Growth was shortlisted for the Financial Times / McKinsey Bracken Bower Prize. I hope to get it published in calendar year 2016.


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