Africa 2063. You might not think that a vision so far into the future applies to you. After all, if you’re a student or young professional, you’ll be in your mid-sixties by then, ready to retire. Which means that we belong to the building generation. The ones who will spend our lives making this vision for Africa a reality for those who come after us.
Let’s ask ourselves then, when we get to 2063 and look back, what are the things we will want to have achieved?
Sustainability isn’t only important from the point of view of preserving our planet and its environment. It’s also a crucial part of any development plans that we make for our own continent. With so many African economies either in early stages of economic development or extremely vulnerable to cost increases, it’s important that the products, processes and models we adopt can be sustained. In other words, that we can afford them in the long-term.
Of course we also need to start managing natural resources more carefully, and developing alternative sources of energy, if we are to leave a world that offers next generations a lifestyle that is at least comparable to ours – ideally better. On a continent so blessed with daylight hours and other alternative energy production methods, we should hope to be world leaders in sustainability by 2063.
A common culture is one of the things that most strongly binds people together in large communities. If we think of some of the most successful countries in the world we find that a distinguishing feature is that they all have relatively homogenous cultural values. They have a shared culture that the vast majority of people are part of.
One of the big challenges we need to overcome in Africa is the tendency for cultural differences to be divisive. We only need to think of the many civil wars that occur to realise this. This places an exceptionally strong onus on us to work together towards a continent where we celebrate the vast majority of things that we share, rather than allowing our differences to divide us.
It’s an unfortunate historical truth that centuries of patriarchy have shaped the world in ways that pose unique challenges for women to overcome. As the world thankfully becomes more egalitarian in gender terms, Africa has its own challenges to overcome, including removing the restrictions that women still face, both regulatory and psychologically.
There are many women’s’ organisations and initiatives that are vitally committed to ensuring that gender inequality disappears from all strata of African society, from the most basic level of healthcare to the highest offices of the land. These organisations are having an increasingly powerful impact on our societies, which bodes well for a future where African men and women live on equal terms.
This is an area that Africa needs to focus on if it is to become a place that its inhabitants can really call a mother.
There are encouraging signs that a new generation of leadership is taking this very seriously. The so-called “Millennials” have a well-developed sense of social consciousness and, as they come to dominate the worlds of business and politics, they will hopefully transform these in ways that will serve the people of the continent more fruitfully.
Author: Ashlyn Padayachee (General Manager, Coastal Region at Eduloan)