So, I was having this discussion with a friend in the US and this issue came up. Like most Africans in diaspora, the issue of helping to improve societies and lives in Africa. The conversation tilted towards infrastructure, contributing to build infrastructure at home, schools, hospitals, and more. But does Africa need more infrastructure? Yes. But how much infrastructure would bring sustainable development to the continent? I can’t answer that. However, I think focusing on infrastructure alone is cosmetic and would not change much. To bring real change, we need to address systems, ideologies, and processes. This is because infrastructures are the product of working institutions and ideologies. There are countless NGO and missions focused on building infrastructure in Africa, but not so much focused on introducing new systems and processes and changing existing inefficient systems. Open data, accountability, waste in governance, pollution, etc. are some of the root causes of underdevelopment in the continent. So, if Africans in diaspora really want to help, they can champion and contribute to building strong institutions, effective systems and processes of governance that will change the way things are done in Africa, beyond contributing for infrastructure. Things like; - Sponsoring and introducing new legislation that will improve governance and economies. - Sponsoring social campaigns on the following issues;
o Different facets of health
o etc - Building tech hubs and ecosystems to encourage start-ups and innovation- I believe you get the picture. If you’re African and you live abroad, you see how things are done there, how do we replicate this at home? I know the work is so much, but we must start somewhere and contribute the little we can individually towards building a better African.