The TRUE Africa 100 is our list of innovators, opinion-formers, game-changers, pioneers, dreamers and mavericks who we feel are shaping the Africa of today and tomorrow. We’re featuring them over 100 days and we’ve asked them all three questions.
Magatte Wade is the founder of US soft drinks company Adina World Beverages. She recently launched the luxury African skincare label Tiossan. She shares why she thinks some African governments are hindering development and the goal which shapes her life.
You’ve written ‘my personal goal is for Africans to be respected around the world before I die’. What do you mean by that?
Today, the most typical things people associate with Africans are poverty and suffering. However, we’re an exceptionally diverse group of one billion people. We have countless examples of creativity, innovation and genius among us. Yet, how often does the world celebrate an African Michelangelo or Steve Jobs?
I’m committed to developing the creators and entrepreneurial geniuses of Africa. In part so that they can create jobs and prosperity but even more so they can change the global image that people have of Africans. I would love to see Africans be celebrated among the leading innovators in the world before I die.
You’ve talked about African leaders hindering development. How do you think we can reform the system?
While the issue of improving our leadership can be complex, I’m focusing on developing wider awareness of the need to improve legal environments for business. This issue is almost entirely neglected among NGOs, activists and philanthropist organisations and yet it is a leading cause of African poverty. Africa as a region is the worst place to do business in the world. Most African nations rank near the bottom of the World Bank’s Doing Business rankings because it is so difficult to do business in most of the continent. African entrepreneurs are not able to create jobs and prosperity as fast as we could be.
We need an active public debate on why our nations don’t provide competitive business environments and what can be done to improve them. What needs to be done is known. There is no secrecy there. But if we can educate the masses more on these issues, then I envision them putting collective pressure on the leaders to make those badly needed changes. When they finally happen, I think we’ll finally start to see the type of inclusive growth that will lift hundreds of millions of Africans out of poverty and into prosperity.
Who’s your African of the year?
It is not one but many. They are the many African healthcare workers who gave their lives working to protect and save their fellow countrymen during the Ebola crisis. We heard plenty about a handful of the western doctors and deservedly so but not much about our fellow African doctors and nurses. I want all of us to take a moment to honour, remember and thank them.
Follow Magatte @MagatteW
Check out Magatte’s site here
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