What does Pan-Africanism mean?
Pan-Africanism. I’ve had the time to reflect on a lot of subtle and sensitive issues, ones we don’t seem to talk about quite often and I’ll uncover some of them in this piece.
Pan-Africanism in its inception meant the redemption of people of African descent from slavery but as years went by the scope had expanded. Pan Africanism calls for African unity as a continent and as a race, independence, nationalism, political and economic cooperation, Afro-centric historical and cultural awareness.
Let’s get this straight, this is not a political piece. I’ve never been great at politics, I’m learning, I learnt a huge deal about office politics this year. Anyways, this piece is to access the pan-African landscape from the eye of a marketing genius.
As a major player in the tech, Blockchain, Cryptocurrency industry and stakeholder in the African landscape. I have had the opportunity to get my hands on first-hand data, insights and information that backs some of the opinions I’ll be sharing in this piece.
Pan- Africanism projects the vision of a united Africa and a United Africa is dangerous for Capitalist North America & Europe when the continent gets to control her resources, control her product lines and solely own her money and money supply – No! Bitcoin doesn’t solve this – 1.3 Billion people will move up the value chain. Who’s going to consume all the nice things capitalist nations create? Exactly. They’ll slowly decline economically and why will they let that happen, when they could squeeze Africa out politically with sanctions. Dear FBI, CIA & MI6, I pose no threat, I’m only sharing common sense based opinions here!
For context – The democratic republic of congo has over $24 Trillion worth of natural resources but it’s the 2nd poorest nation on earth. Fully exploited by capitalist nations. Google search “Who owns the Congo” and tell me what you find. When I was 10 years old, I wanted to start a melon and maize farm in our backyard, I called all my friends to join me in the project but they were not interested. I went ahead to build the fences for the farm, planted the seeds and nursed the farm till it yielded fruits. One evening, I got to the farm and everything was harvested and destroyed. Guess who did it? My friends who were not willing to help me in the first place. I felt ripped off, betrayed and used. This is what it feels like to be the Democratic republic of congo.
I see the same move playing out in the African tech industry. I’m really excited to see African companies finally raising funds to build innovative products and solve our local problems. Ever since Paystack got acquired by Stripe for $200M, there’s been a craze by VCs to get a piece of the next Paystack. It’s a good one! The ecosystem is booming. A lot of people sacrificed to get us here, they sacrificed to get us this recognition we are enjoying from the world. We appreciate them!
Gentrify your own hood before these people do it– Jay Z
There are currently about 7 unicorns in Africa, the majority of whom founders are foreigners or the investors are foreigners. Don’t get me wrong, this is not bad. America was built by foreigners but somehow the wealth never left America. How do we keep all the wealth made in the African ecosystem from leaving and circling back?
But then, I understand the situation in Africa, It’s difficult. It’s difficult to get the government to create favourable policies and regulations that can let the wealth circle around.
Should we fight it?
Fighting corruption is Dangerous
I bought a book while waiting in an airport “Fighting corruption is dangerous” written by Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, the former finance minister of Nigeria and current Director-General of the WTO. Flipping through the first few pages of the book and reading her story, I immediately remembered being stuck in traffic in Lagos with my father, a Pan African, in 2013, he told me about how he had to run away from his previous workplace because he received death threats from his colleagues after he busted a scam they planned that could have cost the company over 10 Million Naira ($64,000 in value back then). He ran! A man who had spent his entire life in the corporate world, he ran. He told me a similar thing was happening at his current workplace when he was narrating the story. A year later, he was assassinated by some Car thieves. Coincidence? I doubt it. Fighting evil killed him.
Fighting corruption is dangerous. If you pay attention to the subtle pattern. Most Pan-Africans who want a great Africa don’t live long enough to see it come into fruition – Kwame Nkrumah, Mohammed Gaddafi, Thomas Sankara, Walter Rodney, My Father etc.
Let’s be clear. I do not want to die while fighting corruption. I want to drink beer with my sons.
How do we achieve Pan-Africanism
One of the most successful ethnic groups I have studied is the Jews. There’s a quote flying around the internet ‘A dollar exchanges at least 3 hands before it leaves the Jewish community meanwhile it only exchanges one hand in the black community”. The Jews support each other financially, emotionally and what happens is they create a very strong community with shared interests and truthfully that’s the major thing they needed to create billionaires even after they had gone through the holocaust in the 1900s. Even one of the co-founders of our mighty Ethereum is Jewish. I love these people!
I can’t find the right data to back this but Africans have an ultra consumerism lifestyle and we don’t produce what we consume! We don’t share the same interest across all verticals. There’s the tribal divide, the colour divide (Dark-skinned and Fair-skinned). The beautiful part is there’s a level of self-awareness rapidly growing across the continent. We need to double down on this. Thanks to all the Youtubers, bloggers and activists scaling the movement.
It’s time to start supporting each other. Let’s throw away the ego. Angel investing is a great start. I love the approach Iyin Aboyeji is taking with Future Africa. $5k from 1000 people is $5M. Let’s scale this model across all sectors.
Tackling the foundation.
We need to fix the founding pillars of the society without fighting the government. Education & Commerce (Intra-African remittance). Ulesson, Edukoya, Nexford are all startups changing the education narratives both on junior and senior levels. Education still remains one of the bedrock of a high performing society. Throw your support behind these folks.
Close your eyes and Imagine an Africa where a young guy from Ghana can purchase a bag from a fashion designer in Namibia, pay him in a few minutes and get his package delivered to him in 2 days or less. Commerce, fueled by easy payments and fast Logistics.
African countries trade less with each other compared to trade with Europe, Asia and North America. Intra-African trade stands at around 13% compared to approximately 60%, 40 %, 30% intra-regional trade that has been achieved by Europe, North America and ASEAN respectively. Higher trade taxes, difficult payment routes and expensive logistics are some of the blockers but we can figure this out!
I truly believe the first company to crack the intra-African remittance blocker will be the first Trillion dollar company in Africa. Chippercash with over 350M$ wat chest hasn’t figured it out yet but I think only a crypto-based product with a little bit of government lobbying can truly hack it.
Henry, If you’re reading this, I hope Muna gets there first.
Pan-Africanism I believe could be a way out, a deadly path but totally worth the risk. I hope to see a prosperous Africa before I leave this earth and you should too for the sake of 1.3B people and more!
Thank you for reading. Enjoy the last few days in 2021, and have an amazing 2022.