Africa, the center of the world.
September has seemed like a whirlwind of momentous events and the exhilarating rush of a resoundingly successful Global Citizen Festival in my home country Accra, Ghana, and New York, USA has been the cherry on the top.
Noteworthy performances by Stoneboy that highlighted climate change issues, Gyakie on inclusion and empowering our women, and Sarkodie, the rapper whom I covered his first DMV concert in the USA more than a decade ago’s “Pizza & Burger” hit song illuminating the frustrations ever-growing poverty in these parts and Stormzy aka Mr. #Merky who reps the British-Ghanaian diaspora and rap-god in his own right, whew!
But before I get into Uncle Waffle’s set as well as Usher’s encore performance inviting Nigeria’s Tiwa and Oxlade to delight us…. let’s start from the beginning of this month.
The 14th annual GovTech conference hosted by SITA (State Information Technology Agency) in Durban, South Africa was a precursor to Africa’s needed discussion in co-designing a digital transformation in a globally connected world.
This year’s offering “Digitisation and Digitalization — Evolving Government Services” had yours truly speaking on a panel on ICT and Digital Transformation for SMEs & reminding the world that Wakanda Forever, can be truly achieved together.
To be honest, the general sentiments around Africa’s digital transformation are not always encouraging, the expectations of governments in meeting community demands are ever-growing while the imposition of large foreign tech companies influencing trends is equally apparent.
How do we future-cast for an equitable Africa when we are not co-creating in the digital transformation and digitization for me and the next generation?
Possibly breaking how our Africa engages globally into impenetrable small sizes — in tandem with national and regional policy; we have sustainable authentic community and neighborhood interventions. On my panel, I shared the superpower that is building-for-community, not as a buzzword, or as a marketing intervention. But when we have tech conferences, accelerator programs, funding rounds, and government programming what does community engagement look like? What does community representation look like at these events? Multi-stakeholder engagement from grassroots communities, representation by young free ideas, old-questioning inquirers, and lower economic tinkerers, maybe? Local sourced, catered, and marketed workshops and ideation with family members? Maybe.
I deeply think of community as a superpower and joke with my close friends and colleagues, I’m the self-appointed and unpaid Chief Innovation Officer of my childhood neighborhood Dzorwulu. I even created a Notion draft plan here with executable next steps I have not been able to shut up about.
Maybe it was my first non-paid gig writing for and becoming the managing editor of a small community newspaper, The New Ghanaian, or the lifelong commitments to service through Rotary and youth with Global Shapers and now the Eliu Gift Hub. I don’t know if I can objectively explain the why anymore, but I want my communities, especially my Dzorwulu, like Ghana’s headlining artists, during Global Citizens win.
What community winning truly looks like may have to be a community discussion, with community checkpoints and community equity models for community-empowered sustainability. Community crowd-sourced metrics of success.
The movie Black Panther helps us reimagine what empowered technologically advanced black communities on the big screen look like. Ahead of the next installment, with women-led leadership of Wakanda, it may just be the rallying cry for navigating these economically challenging times ahead.
Be well, be safe, be loved.
p.s. A pleasant surprise was the discovery of Dzorwulu’s very own co-working and innovation hub, The Enterprise Village. In partnership with the team, we are hosting Social Media for Professionals free-to-attend workshops in-person, on Twitter Spaces & LinkedIn audio to help the community professionals improve our digital footprint from Dzorwulu to the world. If this resonates with you or someone you know, do share this Google form here.
Originally published to Unpacking Africa newsletter’s 15,000 + subscribers on September 29, 2022.