9 May 2012

Africa: One Change, One Year, One Continent

Photo: WEF
Pascal Lamy, Director-General of the World Trade Organization.

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Geneva — The World Economic Forum is travelling to Ethiopia this week to bring together the voices of Africa and help transform the region. This blog post is part of the One Year One Change campaign, which shares visions for a better Africa with world leaders attending this week's meeting in Addis Ababa. What change do you want to see in Africa by 2013? #1y1c

1 billion. This is the approximate total population of the world's second most populated continent - Africa.

Covering 6% of the world's total surface area and with a booming population, Africa is renowned for its people, languages and cultures.

Despite its wealth of natural resources, Africa remains the poorest and most underdeveloped continent on Earth. It is plagued by high illiteracy rates, infectious diseases, poverty, malnutrition, gender inequality, pollution and lack of good governance.

In light of the challenges, which impede the welfare and economies of Africa, the continent is working hard to eradicate poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality and women empowerment, combat deadly diseases, including HIV/AIDS, and ensure environmental sustainability

But we will not achieve these goals unless we identify what I believe is one of the core problems facing the continent - attitude. Attitude is often defined as a favorable or unfavorable appraisal of something, and this is what has impeded progress.

What is required and how can we bring change in one year in Africa? It is about transforming negative attitudes into positive attitudes. This will have a profound impact on all citizens of the continent and will impact each and every action they do. To be more precise, it's about self-development.

The Law of Attraction, which is part of self-development, is based on the belief that thoughts materialize into things. Why are we trying 101 ways to change Africa when the real power lies within? Africans need to be educated on how to attract positivity in their lives. This will be a life-changing experience for all Africans, with guaranteed lifetime sustainability.

My approach is to preach that we are all-powerful from within and we can make anything happen in the world with strong will power. We can shun extreme poverty and hunger with positive thinking to try all ethical ways to earn a decent livelihood. Enlightened and conscious of our leadership abilities and power of positivity, we can gradually move Africa from its current image linked with poverty to becoming the pride of the world. This is a feasible approach to make something happen in one year. Change begins from within. We cannot change the world until we change. In the words of Mahatma Ghandi: "Be the change you want to see in the world."

The following are some steps a One Change, One Year, One Africa education campaign should follow:

Step 1: Define a precise training programme with training materials that addresses the needs of Africa and aims to instill the law of attraction, positive thinking, will power and other self-development traits.

Step 2: With the help of NGOs and governmental bodies, identify active social workers with a positive mindset from each African country.

Step 3: Organize a seminar (for example, in Kenya) with all the identified social workers with an aim to train them to train citizens of their countries; seek financial support from each country to fund the travel and expense of all those who will attend the seminar.

Step 4: Implement a follow-up programme to ensure continuous support in terms of coaching and mentoring to all citizens.

Step 5: Conduct regular evaluation and involve more social organizations to conduct seminars across the continent; in short, create and maintain a network of trainers.

The first batch of trainees who will participate in such a seminar will return back to their countries of origin where they will train their fellow citizens while also forming a network of trainers. This network will be managed through e-mails and project progress tracked through evaluation and feedback forms.

It is all about educating people to adopt a positive attitude while developing them to become better citizens and custodians of tomorrow.

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