Beginner's Luck (The True African Story)
Happy New Year dear reader, the year that was 2012 has passed. So much has happened this passed year both in my personal life and on a global and CONTINENTAL stage. The reason I put the word "continental" in CAPS is cause today I'm going to be talking about a popular trend that was amongst writers in the year that just passed; Africa.
We all know the statistics relating to Africa; the demographic, the number of countries (although 85% don't know the exact figure) and tit bits in relation to its history (mainly cause of the selectiveness of historian writers). But do we really know Africa, who she is, what she does, what she plans on doing, the potential that lies in her bosom of undeveloped land and under-utilised resources? I'm not that much of a historian, but as a Young Entrepreneur who plans on expanding across Africa, I saw it fit to study her history in order to know her future. Africa's been coined the 'undiscovered gem' in the business word and rightfully so. As someone who tries to understand African markets, or by what economists would call them - emerging markets, either for the international investors I've partnered with or for my own growth strategy planning purposes, I can assure you Africa is the most untapped, under-utilised market out there. The South American market could be argued to in that position but I personally believe Brazil's classification as a Fast Emerging Market, the minerals mined in the Amazon and the oil found in Venezuela makes South America, an exploited part of the world. Any who before I go into the history of Africa I want to describe Africa through the eyes of the world to you. The US spends billions of dollars annually with programs to better living in Africa, more especially education and literacy, why? Well they are doing something called Market Creation. Majority of the USA's GDP is contributed by information (directly and indirectly) so if Africa is educated well enough, a need for information will arise and a new market is born (in short). The Chinese government is another example of a super power making a play for Africa, although their approach is less forward looking and more short-sighted, but a play none-the-less. And to spare you the details, these are moves that hover around the central theme of Africa being an untapped area of the world. Now to avoid the niceties and create an even longer piece, let me give you a brief summary of African history (a timeline ref. courtesy of http://www.localhistories.org/aftime.html)
The history of Africa dates back to 100,000BC (Egyptian Civilisation; quite interesting), but I want to start from 2000BC, when the Bantu Speaking people started migrating southwards.
If you study the timeline, very little is said about Sub-Saharan Africa in the earlier periods, all that's mentioned is the development of civilisation in the North. This is something we see today as well.
In 350AD, the Bantu arrive in Zambia and only after 150 years, in 500AD, does Iron working reach Southern Africa.
If you continue to scroll down, with the help of Europe in its conquest to divide and conquer, Southern Africa (or in more scholastic terms Sub-Saharan Africa) surpassed North Africa in Iron working. I'm a firm believer of the phrase, "history repeats itself," it has happened before and it can happen again. At the time of all this the North of Africa was considered a super power, at one point becoming a province for the Roman Empire, something which can attest to the potential that lies within this great continent of ours. We, as the future need to understand that united as a continent we can achieve greatness and give our continent the status it deserves. The question to ask is "how?" Well I don't assume a philosopher-like status and lay claim to knowing EVERYTHING. There are many way of 'skinning a cat', if I'm to give you some direction as to where to look for the tools needed to carry out such, I'd say the history books. It all lies in the past. For self improvement purposes, my next statement is NOT recommended but for business I say this should be your cornerstone.
The future lies in the stories of yesterday and the needs of today.
Have a prosperous 2013!!