Rarely is there any good news coming out of Africa. It’s not that there isn’t good news—quite the contrary. But the narrative too often casts a negative light on the African nations’ vast poverty and corruption, which does exist. Still, Africa is not a continent of only poor and corrupt people.
Africa’s hardships are an outgrowth of colonization and domination by primarily European countries that sought to destabilize African nations and dehumanize their people. The African slave trade is just one example of how Europeans exploited Africa. The legacy continues, but today, Africa is fighting back, and how the continent is rising is the news we rarely hear.
In just over a week, approximately 45 African heads of state will visit the nation’s capital to participate in the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit at the Walter Washington Convention Center, December 13-15. Residents and businesses surrounding the Mount Vernon Square area will be temporarily inconvenienced for sure, but they will join President Joe Biden, Mayor Muriel Bowser, and many other domestic and foreign diplomats welcoming leaders coming here to seek support and to offer theirs.
Africa is still the world’s most mineral-rich continent. With over 70% of its people in sub-Saharan Africa under the age of 30, Africa has the youngest population in the world. The United Nations refers to them as the “key to Africa’s sustainable development.”
Africa has led the world with nearly ten women presidents that have served over the past 40 years, including Sahle-Work Zewde and Samia Suluhu Hassan, the current presidents of Ethiopia and Tanzania, respectively.
President Barack Obama hosted the last U.S. Africa Leaders Summit in 2014. President Donald Trump’s thoughts on Africa made headline news, and he is noted for being the first American president never to set foot in Africa. However, his daughter Ivanka visited Ethiopia, and his wife Melania visited Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, and Egypt.
In July, when Biden announced the summit, he said, in his official announcement, “The Summit will demonstrate the United States enduring commitment to Africa and will underscore the importance of U.S.-Africa relations and increased cooperation on shared global priorities.”
Africa is rising, and there are many lessons to be learned by watching it manifest. It is time to let go of the habitual negative view of Africa, which only demonstrates a lack of interest and laziness on the part of those who attempt to tell Africa’s story. The Black Press must take responsibility, as well.