May 2018 – Creating business communities for African unity

The run-up to the 55th Africa Day, celebrated annually on 25 May in parts of Africa and around the world in commemoration of the foundation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) (now the African Union), is an ideal time to reflect on the opportunities presented by a new collective zeitgeist happening in Africa.

From our insider view, there is plenty of evidence that Africans are reclaiming a renewed sense of identity in the world and that this is a growing trend to watch. Take United Nations-affiliated organisation ARK tracing the royal lineages of Africa across the world; the reimagining of the power and the glory of African cultural iconography in the recent Black Panther blockbuster or the impact being made by Africans on the global cultural mainstream in many sectors, and we might pose the theory that there is a real window of opportunity for Africa to make its mark in many sectors on the roadmap to 2020.

Speaking at Design Indaba 2018 conference in Cape Town, South Africa, acclaimed film director Sunu Gonera was quoted as having said that “now is the time when Africa’s stories matter” and when we as Africans “can bring something to the table, without any longer having to ask for permission”, this uncovering of our stories – of ancient kings and future heroes along with renewed self-confidence, offers visions of a future-shaping identity for Africa.

Back in 1963, ideals mapped out by the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) included furthering the interests of African people; the quest for common ground between African nations; the dream of achieving unification; rejection of exploitation in all forms and the importance of economic models and regeneration to replace colonial economies.

With global mobile communication networks and platforms in place, the above-mentioned quest for common ground between African people and nations has never been more possible and there are many reasons why Africans should now be talking to each other, empowering each other, sharing knowledge and resources. Forging uniquely pan-African business networks now would send a clear message to the world that Africa is open for business on its own terms.


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