Occasionally I come across some fact that I truly did not know – and this was one such. A friend forwarded this map to me (from the Africa report – December 2010 issue), which shows the true size of the African continent – it’s awesomely large!
I know size on its own does not necessarily mean anything, but I was not even aware how large it actually is. I did know a few facts though like that the DRC for instance holds more mineral wealth than the whole of the United States and Europe combined. And yet what’s generally known about the DRC (and Africa) is not its wealth but its poverty. There is some skewed reporting going on out there – because even talk of DRC’s poverty focuses mainly on the poor, with lots of images of just how poor they are. Occasionally we see the contribution that the country’s leadership makes to the poverty problem – the late Mobuto was a much studied and reported case in point. What we rarely see is the complicity of institutions such as the World Bank who bank-rolled Mobuto for years – eloquently described in ‘In the footsteps of Mr Kurtz’ by Michela Wrong, a very good read indeed.
But all this is neither here nor there – the question is if Africa is so large, so richly endowed, and has so much obvious potential, what are we as the Africans doing about it? Herein lies the rub – until the real Africa (not the poverty stricken media Africa) is discovered (and developed) by the Africans themselves there will always be this parallel universe of the ‘Africa is a country’ type. And we cannot blame anyone for this ignorance when we (or maybe I should say I) am myself so uninformed about the real treasure that Africa is.