When you think of Africa, do you think of a rich continent full of opportunity, or a Third-World land full of starving babies and corruption?
Unknown to many, Africa is made up of 20% of the world’s land mass, has 16% of the world’s population, with over 60% of its peoples being under the age of 25, it also has 60% of the world’s agricultural land (yes, that’s over half) and the continent, as the West well knows, is rich in natural resources like gold, diamonds and oil. Now, what do you think of it?
Ozwald Boateng, an international designer and Kola Aluko, a Nigerian businessman, co-founded the non-profit organisation Made In Africa Foundation as they believe passionately in the successful future of the continent. The charismatic TV host and lawyer Chris Cleverly (also the UK’s youngest ever lawyer to be called to the bar), is now CEO of the Foundation and just as vehement. Together through MIAF, they assist with the development of infrastructure and business ventures throughout Africa by funding feasibility studies, finding joint venture investment and promoting new business and development right across the continent. Together they believe that now is the time for Africa to stand up and be counted.
Boateng speaks passionately of the potential for prosperity in Africa and the Foundation’s aims on the MIAF website.
“It’s a well-known statistic that US$400 million of funding for feasibility studies and master plans across sub-Saharan Africa would develop over US$100 billion of infrastructure projects, which in turn would create a trillion dollars of value across Africa. The first step is often the hardest and we have created this Foundation with Atlantic Energy to make that step easier for Africans.”
Boateng and his non-profit partners have attracted big interest, names and money to their ventures including film star Jamie Foxx, singer Mos Def and now Ireland’s richest businessman, billionaire Brian Comer. September 2013 saw the launch of Comer Africa Real Estate or C.A.R.E – a joint venture between Comer and MIAF with the aim of regenerating and redeveloping 150acres across Sub-Saharan cities, including the centre of Kampala in Uganda.
Brian Comer said of the project: “Everyone has the right to a proper home and work environment. We’ve a lot to share with Africa in terms of urban development and we are delighted to be able to be part of its phenomenal growth story. The growth of Africa will be a defining moment for the world as a whole.”
The Naguru-Nakawa project in Kampala aims to develop a whole town from the infrastructure up, including 3,500 residential homes, a church, school, offices, hotels, shopping malls, restaurants and leisure facilities. In the future, MIAF expects this model will be shown to be efficient and cost-effective enough to replicate across Africa.
MIAF also began working with the African Development Bank in 2013 on its programme for infrastructure development in Africa initiative (PIDA) with the aim of ‘furthering the socioeconomic development of Africans, by greatly improving the continent’s nascent power, transportation, water, and ICT infrastructure.’
Between 2012 and 2040, the programme aims to implement fifty varied projects across Africa, for which MIAF have agreed to assist in the raising of investment and promoting greater public awareness.
This powerful video explains in no uncertain terms, MIAF’s believe that Africa IS finally uprising… and as Boateng so eloquently put it in his article for CNN International,
“A small group of nations cannot forever benefit from keeping the majority of nations and people in a state of weakness. The peoples and continents of the world are not separate, they are part of the same social and economic system: a system that must return to balance and harmony. But this balance can only occur when Africa itselfrealizes that it is time for Africa.”
photo credit: Ventures-africa
source: Made In Africa/Wikipedia/CNN