New Generation of Africans Quashing Old Stereotypes

North America and Europe may be reeling under the pressure of budget cuts, austerity measures, debt reduction, bailouts and job losses but there is one continent that appears to be rising amid the turmoil – Africa. African countries have without a doubt experienced a considerable and prolonged share of strife, poverty and civil war.  However, the rich history, array of cultures and wealth of natural resources that are spread throughout the continent can’t be drowned out or suppressed. On the contrary, for the economies of the developing world in the wake of the global recession it is “business as usual” according to BBC correspondent Justin Rolatt.  This week in an online article Rolatt wrote about Mombasa and gave credit to the southern Kenyan costal city. “This great East African metropolis was a cosmopolitan trading hub even while London was a regional backwater.” As far back as the 12th century Mombasa has been a market centre for anyone who sailed the Indian Ocean, so it should come as no surprise that Kenya or any other African country could not thrive as the world’s wealth starts to be distributed more evenly. And it appears that new generations of Africans are quashing the long-seen stereotypes of their countries and are excited for new steps and ideas that are forming; hungry for success and opportunity. The rise in both Chinese manufacturing and tourism in Africa is a sign that a great deal of Africa’s future boom may lie in the continent’s relationship with its North-Eastern neighbour.  With organizations like China to Africa whose entire purpose is to increase the number of Chinese arrivals, both leisure and business, to African countries it is no wonder why the rising Chinese middle class who are traveling more are choosing Africa as their vacation destination.  It is obvious that a boom will occur in Africa the only question is when. Another interesting Africa-China connection to note is that for a number of years young Africans have been learning Mandarin in preparation for new job opportunities. Furthermore, entrepreneurial artists and fashion designers are taking advantage of changing attitudes and abundant resources at their disposal to jump-start fledgling fashion and textile businesses.  Last year the fourth Swahili fashion week was held in Tanzania to promote East African designers within the area and judging by this BBC video report the designers see great potential in their market. There is little doubt that the people of Africa have a rich and diverse culture.  The continent enjoys significant resources, this is evident by the past colonization and exploitation of its people and those resources.  And yes it is true that there are still a great many challenges facing the great continent but it would be refreshing to think that Africans will be able to enjoy for themselves all the fruits that their countries have to offer. | Raymond Matt, CFP, CLU, TEP, CHS | The Ontarian, Writer, Editor

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