Opinions & Features December 06, 2017 at 05:33 am

Entrepreneur Fred Swaniker: 3 reasons why you should move back to Africa

Ismail Akwei December 06, 2017 at 05:33 am

December 06, 2017 at 05:33 am | Opinions & Features

Reason #3: The priceless value of respect and dignity

There is one thing I value far more than money or a successful career–and that is dignity and respect. In the USA, no matter how successful you get, you may be seen as a ‘foreigner’, an outsider, and (especially as the world becomes increasingly racist), even worst things. For example, before Uber came along, I had so many experiences of taxi drivers in New York driving right past me–a successful black man wearing a suit–to pick up the white passenger standing just 10 feet away. The ability to live in your own continent and not have to suffer such disrespect is something that I can’t begin to put a value on. I love living in Africa, listening to our own music, eating our own food, being close to family, friends, and others who respect me for who I am not and because of my skin color. Nothing beats that.

We all have a role to play

Of course, while returning home was the right choice for me and many others,  it may not be right for everyone. If I haven’t convinced you about the phenomenal opportunities that exist on the continent, all is not lost. You can still play a role: last year, Africans abroad sent $33billion to Africa, which typically compares to or even exceeds foreign aid sent to Africa. This is all investment that can support businesses on the continent and that is contributing to our development in some shape or form.

On a final note, in Strive’s talk, he mentioned a program that we run together called the Africa Business Fellowship, where we bring young American professionals (mostly graduates from top MBA programs) to Africa to work in African companies for about 6 months.

I recently met with a group of ABF fellows who had just finished their 6-month stint. The number one question on their minds was–how can I stay on the continent? Almost all of them didn’t want to go back to America! –which goes to show you that something special is happening on this continent. I hope many young Africans around the world will come home and be a part of it.

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