We all have limitations and opportunities wherever we are in the world, but I choose to talk about the limitations on Africans because I am an African and even that is an abuse of language because we don’t all share the same limitations as Africans, but these are some of the most common. These are the things which hold us back as African, they prevent us from flourishing and reaching our full potential, they have been here for decades now and despite all the innovation in modern day society, these problems still persist. I won’t say they are that bad, but I’ll definitely say they are very much widespread, some of these have already been solved to an extent in developed countries and yet the African community still suffers from these.
These are complicated issues which may be subject to debate and depending on your position in the society or in life in general, you may differ from my point of view. What’s interesting about some of these limitations is that we do know how to solve them, but the problem is on the implementation of the solutions here in Africa, putting things into place has proven very complicated. Some of these issues have multiple layers of complexity and are dependent on each other in some cases, which means you can’t fix one without fixing the other first, we end up in a deadlock situation.
Well, don’t take my word for it, just look at this chart.
What this means is that there is still a high level of illiteracy in Africa, I’m definitely not proud to say this being African but it’s the truth. Unfortunately there is very little we can do in this modern society without an education, we need to learn, we need to understand the world around us in order to be able to better our lives. The benefits of education have already been proven, so why is it still very difficult to reduce the level of illiteracy in Africa, you may ask? That’s because doing so is dependent on other complicated issues as well, like money, management, resources etc
Money has a direct and indirect relationship with some of these issues that’s why it’s difficult to solve the problem of illiteracy in Africa, for example;
To solve illiteracy > people need to be educated > education needs resources > resources need funds > funding needs management and income generation > management relies on persons > income generation relies on persons > persons must be skilled > persons are uneducated.
Each step is a major issue in Africa already and unfortunately, they are all linked together.
There is definitely no money in African countries as compared to other developed countries, I was going to show you some charts to drive that point home, but just reflect on this instead. Nigeria is the biggest economy in Africa and yet has the highest level of poverty in Africa as well, think about it, the wealthiest country is also the one with the highest number of poor persons! As compared to other developed countries, there is just no money in Africa which is not to say they aren’t resources. Now the question of understanding why it is so or how it can be fixed is a whole other book I’ll need to write, but I want you just to realize how much difference there is. Just to put that into perspective, the richest person in the world has more money than the richest country in Africa, one person has more money than the richest economy in Africa.
All this is really just to drive the point that there isn’t as much money in Africa, that’s why we are limited in the things we can do, we are competing with the very few resources which are already limited. It doesn’t matter what we want to do in life or what our dreams are, we will always need money in order to make that happen (even if it’s sleeping all day). I’m talking from a global perspective but when it comes down to certain communities it can be a whole different story, there are communities which are very wealthy while others are very poor, you may do the same job but receive very different salaries depending on which country or town you work.
Much Passion but no Action
We are definitely filled with so much passion and potential, a lot of it, way too much for me to be able to express in this article. I’ll just use some example of what has been happening in recent years to drive this point, take for instance
Francis Nganou who became the world Champion heavyweight fighter or Davido who is arguably the best Afro beat singer in the world or even at a simpler level Mamoudou Gassama who became a French hero after saving a baby from a fall from a skyscraper in France.
These people are now recognized as very talented and very competent persons but you have to understand that they didn’t become that because they went to a developed country, they have always been that except that in Africa they didn’t get the chance to show the world their full potential because of reasons other than talent.
Its difficult to try to prove to the world that you are the strongest man alive when you can’t even eat, its tricky to try to open the most innovative company in the world when you have to deal with corruption, imagine being the best singer in the world and yet, there is no marketing platform to push your music to, the local TV stations reject your music because its not what they like. What I want you to see here is that the issues we have aren’t even linked to our field, sometimes they come from totally different places.
Sometimes when I watch National Geography, I see people who have the craziest jobs in the world, there are people whose job is to take care of a specific breed of birds, they are specialists in that bird breed and all they do is go into the forest looking for those birds and ensure that they are healthy. First I wonder what it takes to get such a specific job and secondly where the passion comes from for a person to decide that it is what they want to spend the rest of their lives doing, I like birds but even that is too much for me. Its really how specific that job gets which amazes me, I wish we had the same kinds of choice here in Africa, doing such a job you can imagine money isn’t the incentive, you’ll have to pay me millions to get me to look at just birds for the rest of my life.
In Africa, we don’t go off of much, it’s just “what is the easiest thing to do which will generate me the most money”, we could also add another clause like “… and which I like doing” but that really depends on your status in life. Here we don’t just get to chose things out of fun or passion, but every decision must be well considered, ensuring you have food in your belly at the end of the day. There are many people with dreams of being musicians, actors, actresses etc, but they literally can’t follow up on those dreams because its not going to provide them with instant money, so they put their hopes to the side and focus on surviving.
I sincerely don’t understand why corruption is still such a major problem till date, but I guess its persistence comes from the shortcomings of democracy in Africa. It’s okay to have divergent view points, but uninformed view points which are based solely on emotions are what are holding us back. Some people might disagree with you just because you are from another side of town even if you are doing a good job, our strong ties to family values and tribes is also playing against us in a system of government which aims to bring unity. I don’t want to talk too much on this because I’m no expert and I don’t have a full understanding of everything going on. Corruption is one of those things holding back a lot of other parts of society, projects can’t advance, development is slowed down, communication is a mess and much more. Solving corruption could go a long while in solving a lot of the problems in the African society.
How to fix this
I can’t offer a solution for all those complicated issues plaguing the modern African society, but I can give advice to individuals out there; it takes hard work, discipline and focus in order to fix these issues and overcome these limitations, at least at the level of your life. You have to be aware of your circumstances, the situation in which you are found and the ways in which you can overcome them. The first step is education, as much as it might not be fun, its the surest way to take you out of your difficulties,
learn as if your life depended on it because one day it just might.
Learn how to learn, learn how to excel and learn how to understand the modern society and use it at your advantage. The next thing is to find your path in life and walk it the best you can.
Thanks for reading!
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