For people here in the west, Africa is synonymous with a dystopia. However, for those of us who have grown up in different parts of the continent, our experiences may be far from that. That is not to discount the fact that our societies have had and continue to have challenges. Nevertheless, we've also seen a continuous, sustained growth that has been fueled by the actions and initiatives of its citizens. Ghana is home. It is where I have forged most of my identity and built many friendships. Coming to America has challenged my identity in many ways but it has taught me to embrace it even more. Though I have come to enjoy a burger a lot, I don't think I have faced a burger with as much excitement as I would for a bowl of fufu.
Some of my most vivid memories have come from my frequent visits to the Makola market in Accra. For me Makola embodies the problems as well as the numerous possibilities that exist in Ghana. A vibrant market, it is full of the many different kinds of people you can meet in Ghana; a trader clamoring for the attention of the unexpecting customer so they can provide for their families, someone hoping to get back to school, or the accountant who comes down from his office to get waakye for lunch. The negative effects of certain international trade policies on local industry is also evident as one will also find locally produced goods compete on the same market for cheaply imported goods from China.
For me, being African in this age is a calling. Lasting solutions are only created when they are inspired by the culture of the people instead of pre-made solutions from the west. This potential is being realized now. Young Africans are beginning to pursue more entrepreneurial careers, while trying to make lasting changes in different sectors. I believe that this is the time to learn, innovate, and also to collaborate with different people who truly understand the intricacies of our needs, while working to improve our conditions. To the young African, I would urge you to get involved, but for the older generation, I would ask for a hand.