Why we need to change the narratives on Africa
The way Africa is portrayed in global media and discourse as an impoverished, in conflict, drought- and the famine-stricken continent is so different from the realities of its 54 nations. Increasing economic migration of young Africans, low investment in the continent, and reshaping development strategies from the global north, are some of the reasons to change narratives of a continent full of opportunities.
According to the UN Africa Climate, in 2022 the continent has the world’s youngest population, the largest amount of arable land, the greatest potential for restoration, and is home to a quarter of all wildlife. With all this potential, there is a need to shift towards new narratives that allow us to see Africa through the lens of resilience and recovery.
This GLF Live hosted on 30 August, brings together Nigerian author and journalist Moky Makura; award-winning Associated Press journalist Wanjohi Kabukuru; and Land Hero of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification and Drought (UNCCD) Ibrahim Musa, to discuss the role of media, governments, and the population play in deconstructing misconceptions about Africa.
3 ways Africans are changing the world
Speakers elaborate on new narratives arising and unpacked the potential of a whole continent for sustainable development:
- Africans as the heroes of their own stories. Media plays a key role in portraying African realities and it’s not always portrayed in a truthful way. “Media has a powerful role because it interprets the world for us,” Makura says, “and we can tell our own stories much better.” There’s a need to step away from the mainstream western narrative of conflict and negative media that report on the continent.
- Africa is full of talented and creative young people. Being the continent with the youngest population in the world is not strange young Africans are working for the sustainability of their continents. “It’s important for governments to include youth in processes where they can bring their creativity to solve challenges,” Musa points out.
- Africa holds great potential for restoration. Africa contributes less than 4% to global climate change and is working to restore drylands. The Great Green Wall is one of the most ambitious international landscape restoration projects, it aims to create a grand mosaic of green and productive landscapes across the vulnerable Sahel region.