Has Africa finished rising?

Cape Town

“Has Africa finished rising yet?” Someone asked me at dinner a few days ago. I am in Lagos and the only friends I have in the city are either entrepreneurs, work for startups or work in tech. This makes perfect sense, my re-introduction into my home country was through a journalist’s lens. The questions I ask are socio-political, they relate to infrastructure and the conversations I have with friends follow this trend. It is a small part of Nigeria, but it the part I know well and I am intimate with.

Four years ago, you couldn’t take a breath in Africa without someone telling you its on the rise. Africa is rising, our mantra to the West. We said to them: come, our continent is ready and we want to show you what we can do. Africa is rising multinationals chanted, they invested in a foray into the continent. This was it, Africa’s time. No one ever asked, who decided this, no one ever asked about the global roster that had Africa next on its list.

While Africa was supposed to be rising for the tech ecosystem, its creative industry that had always been on par and even exceeded global standard pivoted – building on quality and creating global appeal. Everyday people began experimenting with platforms that allowed them to be creative and have fun, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook opened up the world. African fashion and culture began permeating the West. The Ankara jungle of Nigeria proved its potential as a key global player, and the Jollof wars came in vogue with heads of states and celebrities wanting a say. African cities were the subject of sultry tales about young 20-somethings, destinations for world travelers and location for famous Hollywood moments. While we waited for Africa’s infrastructure to catch up with its entrepreneurs, its music, movies and dances graced the world stage and captured the world.

African entrepreneurs have had to force the ecosystem to match where their vision is. They have had to drag governments and users with them on a journey that required stepping back a few steps before achieving the intended beginning. Africa began to rise, then investors decided they weren’t sure it should. Then Starbucks, Burger King and Krispy Kreme, lacking more places in the Western world to go, came here. Then investors too, came back and brought with them the multinational’s renewed interest.

African startups haven’t been able to compete in the same way that counterparts in more established markets have. Africa rising put a spotlight and added pressure on a young ecosystem to deliver on impossible scale. When a business that worries about basics has compete with one that only thinks about scale, there is a disconnect. Still, the successes did come.

Africa is the next frontier, I suppose we had to come before space. The next billion users will come from here and the race is on to see who wins the continent. The battle is on between Africans and the West to see who can save Africa first. Who will solve the access problem, who will bridge the skills gap and who will reform the education and healthcare systems.

“Project Africa” is fully on the way and the objectives are set, get Africans on the global stage.

Has Africa finished rising?
Did the sleeping giant awake from its slumber ready to begin the long haul reimagining of a story that has long been told by hunters?
What does a risen continent actually look like?

Airplane mode: My travel playlist

In flight entertainment

Airplane entertainment often isn’t that great and most of the time I found that reading a book is a much better experience than watching a movie that get’s interrupted every the plane bumps into some clouds and the captain feels the need to tell you about it.

Unlike other travel playlist the airplane playlist is a little more difficult to put together. When road-tripping you want music that will keep you awake on a 13-20 hour plane ride you want something that can help facilitate sleep as well be a good companion to your reading material or your working (I work on planes).

Music is the most important thing to me when I am about to be technically cut off from the world for a significant amount of time. If I am unable to listen to music while it tends of make the experience or the more tasking and you find things begin to drag on.

You will find that sometimes that it pays to be prepared with your own entertainment and your own headphones because sometimes inflight entertainment system just stop working (thanks KLM).

So here is what I have been listening to for the couple of plane rides in no particular order, feel free to suggest additions.

Passenger — Let her Go
Lorde — Royals
Ellie Goudling — Burn
Daft Punk — Get Lucky
Lynyrd Skynyrd — Sweet Home Alabama
Guns n Roses — Paradise City
Queen — Bohemian Rhapsody
Wyclef Jean — Gone Till November
Lorde — Glory and Gore
Ellie Goulding — I Know You Care
Orbital — Doctor? (Dr Who Theme remix)
Kings of Leon — The immortals
Kings of Leon — Pick Up Truck
Peter Cincotti — Angel Town
Kings of Leon — The End
Jay Z — New York
The Red Hot Chilli Peppers — Aeroplane
Vampire Weekend — A-Punk
Two Door Cinema Club — Come Back Home
Adele — Skyfall
The Lumineers — Stubborn Love
Lana Del Rey — Young and Beautiful
Nero — Into the Past
Florence and the Machine — Drumming Song
Florence and the Machine — Rabbit Heart
Sleeping at Last — Turning Page
Imperial Mammoth — Requiem on Water
Amy Winehouse — Love is a losing game
Amy Winehouse — Back to Black
Billy Joel — We didn’t start the fire