People like you are needed on this continent to take us to where we should be. Keep it up man!
Welcome to the premier issue of Africa Unbound! This is a forum for those of us who are passionate about Africa-the people, the culture, the land, etc. We know that there is something rich, full, and beautiful about Africa that is diametrically different from the poverty and suffering seen throughout the continent, and we are interested in exploring ways of development that will allow the full manifestation of the wellbeing and prosperity that we know is possible for Africans.
The basic premise of this publication is this: the development of Africa depends on each one of us, more specifically, on our state of mind. So far, development has been regarded as the business of governments and international development institutions. Decades of experience has shown, however, that the capacity of African governments is, in many cases, very limited and that no donor organization can deliver development to Africa.
For the most part, Africa’s most important resource, its people both in the continent as well as the Diaspora, has been grosslyunderestimated. While the need to invest in human development is recognized in development discourse, the effort is usually limited to the expansion of access to education and health services. While these services are important, the role of ordinary individuals as agents of development has not gained the attention it deserves. Conscious citizens demand the accountability of governments, quality services in health and education, and an enabling business environment. Conscious individuals come up with new ideas and innovations to improve living conditions for themselves as well as others.
In this moment, we have a choice. We can either let business go on as usual and complain about the lack of progress, or we can awaken to the truth that each one of us has a critical role to play in the development of our beloved continent.
This forum aims to facilitate this awakening process, which requires a deep desire, courage, and willingness to learn and engage in open and honest conversations about what is working and what is not in our individual lives as well as in Africa. It requires us to pay attention to how we are living, what and how we think, and how we relate to the world around us.
Metaphysics tells us that every thought is a cause and every condition is an effect. Hence to change the effect, we need to change the cause. In other words, to change our condition we need to change our thoughts. What are these thoughts that we need to change? They are the limiting belief systems that we have about ourselves and others that inhibit our development and creative potential. In Campaign Against Dysfunctional Behaviors, Salaam Yetbarek identifies a number of limiting traits he has observed among Ethiopians. While Salaam writes about the Ethiopian community because he is an Ethiopian and that is the culture he knows intimately, a number of Africans as well as non-Africans point out that these characteristics are not unique to Ethiopians, and are in fact dysfunctions of humanity in general. In this deeply introspective article, Salaam invites us all to turn inward and see if we can identify the issues he raises within ourselves, and provides specific remedies for us to consider.
While the identification of factors that constrain our development is critical for our growth, it is equally important to pay attention and nurture the good that is inherent in us. The article by Abdul Mohammed in the Culture and Ideas section and my conversation with Brother Ishmael Tetteh reveal to us that, as Africans, we have a strong foundation to build on. We have cultures that are rich with knowledge and wisdom. We need to honor this and integrate the ancient with the new to expand our knowledge base and build on the legacy of our ancestors.
My vision for AfricaUnbound.org is to be a dynamic and evolving forum that will continually empower its community. I invite you to participate by reading the featured articles, posting your comments and ideas on the message boards, and by submitting articles for publication (please see our guidelines for article submission). I trust you will join hands with us as we embark on this journey to fulfill our deepest desire – to recognize our unity.