The month of January 2020 ushered a new year and a new decade at the same time, a reality and dispensation which calls for introspection, process reviews and new strategies towards redefining personal, corporate and national goals and identities.
In the pursuit of this objective, it is important to quickly highlight that Africa, 4IR and the Youth are the main attractions of this new decade which both individuals, corporate and governments must not overlook.
Even though Africa has been under the radar of many corporations and imperial nations since the time of slavery, it is important to note that this time, Africa will be standing on the global stage from an elevated and glorified dimension.
Playing host to half of the world fastest growing economies, Africa is surely a force to reckon in this decade and a destination where tourists and investment must be headed.
Those who are blind to this glaring fact or and those who shall be blind to Africa’s emerging global status will soon lose out on Africa’s flavoured opportunities that others will healthily feast on.
Some countries will be greatly disappointed to see that without their individual participation, Africa will be re-established on the socio-economic and political global arena of influence with the help of those who shall quickly and mutually beneficially engage it for what it is really worthy.
For years, Africa has been a hapless victim of serious internal and external manipulation and barbaric exploitation of resources that rendered it the moniker the Dark Continent, but soon it will speedily rise in such a way that people and nations who can’t read the signs will be left behind in the race for smart partnerships with the cradle of mankind.
Much of Africa’s relevance and value in this decade will come from its self-awakening, vast natural resources, large expanses of land that is not being utilised, tourism potential, human capital, market and investment potential as well as from its exports once capacity utilization is in full engagement.
Some serious previous colonial masters of Africa have already awakened to this unstoppable reality and are thus trying to adjust their stance and perception of Africa and its citizens, and more so, some are already competitively trying hard to be part and parcel of the journey towards Africa’s coronation.
In the yesteryears, some countries especially the colonial masters used to gather together on themselves and deliberate on the way forward for the African continent even without Africa itself participating as was done at the Berlin Conference.
However, of recently, there has been a serious but seemingly inadequate and sceptical shift towards having these countries individually inviting Africa as a collective in an attempt to have independent mutually beneficial engagements with the African continent.
On 20 January 2020, the United Kingdom (UK) hosted the UK-Africa Investment Summit which was themed Partners for Prosperity under the oversight of the Department of International Development as well as the Department of International Trade and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
To show forth a sense of positive and engaging attitude towards Africa, a press release from the Department of International Development and the Department of International Trade published on the UK government website on 20 January was titled ‘UK aims to be Africa’s partner of choice for trade and investment’.
“Africa has eight of the world’s fifteen fastest growing economies and there is huge demand on the continent for clean, sustainable and innovative investment. As home to some of the world’s most enterprising technologies and the financial centre of the world in the city of London, the UK is perfectly placed to meet that demand and be the continent’s investment partner of choice.” Read a statement in the mentioned press release.
In the same article, International Trade Secretary Liz Truss was quoted as saying “Trade with countries across Africa has never been more exciting. As opportunities there grow, it’s great to see so many British firms paving the way in trading and investing in the region to drive growth, create jobs and boost vital infrastructure.”
More so, according to the China Africa Project article of November 21, 2019 by Eric Olander, the French Ambassador to South Africa unveiled plans for a new France Africa Summit to be held this 2020 in ‘Mzansi’, with Emmanuel Macron, France’s president expected to be in attendance.
All these summits, be it between Africa and the independent G8 countries among other developed nations do show us that the time for tactics of expropriation and exploitation like the Berlin Conference are over as each country on its own now wants to play the perfect courtier to the future global economy’s heir apparent.
In the United States of America, there are reports of an awakening that is happening among its African American populace especially celebrities who are said to be trekking back to the land of their ancestors.
Well known African American celebrities have been reported to have expressed interest to either settle or establish something of significance in Africa.
According to an article in the BBC of January 2020, titled American rapper Ludacris becomes Gabonese citizen, there are also more names of other African American celebrities who have taken the same route including Samuel L Jackson and Tiffany Haddish.
Even though back home, some African leaders especially those with a liberation history are still looting the continent’s riches and stashing it overseas, there is a growing awakening and consciousness among common Africans themselves including children recognising their uniqueness and ability to go beyond the limits set by tradition, culture and colonial history.
A recent video of a young girl who is challenging the status quo in the social and economic dynamics of boys and girls as well as of men and women has gone viral as she even further sends a message to Europeans and President Trump that Africans must not be despised since we are all equal.
Watch video here:
Concerning the youth as among the main attractions of this decade, it’s important to understand that according to the United Nations statistics published on the International Youth Day, 12 August 2019, the number of youths aged between 15-24 worldwide stands at 1.2 billion.
Now, when we consider that this number represents a people who are the hope, anchor and future of nations as they are going to stand in the middle of being the workforce, future parents and caretakers of the elderly, it means those countries who shall groom and develop these people in the right way will have a better future in sight.
More so, it is important to note that the world over, because of exposure to the internet, many people especially the youth are getting smarter and critical in their approaches to the issues of life because they know what is happening and the reasons behind what is happening in other parts of the globe
As such, leaders, be it in families, corporations and nations who are not wise enough to formulate and execute policies that are in line with these 1.2 billion people who make up 16% of the global population will face a rude awakening.
Nations which are going to be responsive to the informed and progressive wellbeing of the youth in this decade will strive and succeed while those on the opposite side will stumble and recede.
It is also important to understand that it is getting harder and harder day by day to manipulate the youth using tradition, culture, religion and political propaganda because young people now have the tools and means to verify and compare information that is available to them in this global village.
Yes, the youth have always been critical and important over the years but globalisation and the advancement in technology is quickly turning them into a collective that is likely to redefine its own future and disrupt the status quo which seem to interfere with their reality of freedom, peace and prosperity.
Over the years, in what I have always described as Primitive Politics, quite often the youth, especially in many poor countries have been manipulated by political institutions in their respective countries into being tools for selfish political agendas.
However, unfortunate enough on those unscrupulous leaders practising primitive politics, there is now a rising awareness and consciousness among the youths of what and how other people in other parts of the world are doing to steer ahead their respective countries.
From one of the books that I have written titled Primitive Politics and The Poverty Machinery, I described Primitive Politics as the adoption of archaic and irrelevant approaches and mechanisms in the administration of human affairs in a contemporary society.
Now concerning the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), on the 14th of January 2016, Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, in a WEF article titled The Fourth Industrial Revolution: what it means, how to respond, talked about the serious dynamics and impact of 4IR which we must all consider.
He said “There are three reasons why today’s transformations represent not merely a prolongation of the Third Industrial Revolution but rather the arrival of the Fourth and distinct one: velocity, scope and systems impact. The speed of current breakthroughs has no historical precedent.”
“When compared with previous industrial revolutions, the Fourth is evolving at an exponential rather than a linear pace. Moreover it is disrupting almost every industry in every country. And the breadth and depth of these changes herald the transformation of entire systems of production, management, and governance.” He added
His above statements alone can be a summary enough of why I said that 4IR is going to be one of the major attractions of this decade together with the continent of Africa and the global youth populace.
Individuals, corporations and nations who shall play a blind eye to the reality of 4IR will be shocked by and succumb to the new realities of this decade instead of being propelled to a new and higher dimension of wholesome living.
Those who shall seek to understand the basic dynamics of 4IR and make efforts to utilize it to their mutual benefit will not only withstand the challenges of tomorrow but will also be creating for themselves reasons and platforms to celebrate the future.
There is however a general fear of job losses that is going to be inevitable in this decade because of the Fourth Industrial Revolution but it is comforting to understand that 4IR also has got the capacity to create or aid in the creation of a whole new set of jobs that will redefine the future.
There are some jobs which are really difficult to automate because of the emotional and sentimental element that is associated with their delivery especially in the fields of education, arts and literature.
Jobs that are dependent on an emotional connection between the parties involved, for example, teachers, authors, poets, caregivers and counsellors as well personal development and leadership coaches are most likely to survive and even utilise 4IR for mutual good.
More so, sports people, elementary school teachers, performing artists such as musicians and movie actors etc. seem to be predominantly spared by the Fourth Industrial Revolution as machines cannot easily incorporate the exact human care and emotions needed in this context.
The Fourth Revolution will also usher in and establish what I call the GIFT ECONOMY/ERA where people the world over will survive and excel in life based on their natural giftedness because such cannot be easily automated and even if there is an attempt of automation thereon, there will be lack of emotional and sentimental appeal.
Gifting in its various contexts will define the future of societies as shall be amplified by 4IR.
Individuals, countries and institutions that shall priorities the identification, development, promotion and celebration of people’s natural giftedness will be the ones that shall fair well compared to those who shall stick to a non-relevant traditional academic approach as a way of personal and corporate development.
What will therefore be needed is a serious concentration of resources on gift identification from a tender age and the teaching of entrepreneurship to help people monetize and manage their gifts.
This is because despite the fact that 4IR will be a very big threat to job seekers in various industries, it is also likely to be a good development for entrepreneurs as it will help cut costs and reduce some unnecessary labour challenges especially politically motivated industrial actions.
Yes indeed, without preparation and familiarisation with it, 4IR can be a great threat to some people’s livelihoods but when well understood and incorporated into the strategic planning of personal, corporate and national plans, the Fourth Industrial Revolution will work for the mutual good of everybody.
In conclusion, let me say that it is important for all and sundry to redefine their perception of Africa, the youth and 4IR especially in this decade in order to benefit the most from what these three attractions of the decade has to offer.
Brian Kazungu is a Christian, Media Practitioner, Author, Poet, Technology Enthusiast, Entrepreneur and an Opinion Leader.