There is this picture I came across, that depicted resources being drained from Africa. Its credit goes to the artists Cani & Porci, and the image is satirically titled, “Don’t Worry Africa, We’ll Go Away When We Finish.”
In the picture, there seems to be a sort of siphoning machine that is draining what seems to be oil from an outline of the African continent; which in the image is artfully shaped as a bent human head.
One can infer different things from the image. To some, it may look like the hapless drainage of Africa’s natural or financial resources by global players to build on their self-interests.
I remember looking at it and thinking of the state of the CFA franc, whereby 80% of foreign reserves of fourteen West African countries are still deposited in operations accounts controlled by the French Treasury. Ignominy I know, but I digress – another story for another day.
To others, the image may look like the drainage of Africa’s finest human resources – its brains. Observing the picture, I fell into the latter category.
I come from a country whereby the idea of going overseas to slice potatoes for a living rather than remain where I am is anathema to me. I realize though, that this is not a privilege youth from all African countries can afford.
Countries where conflict and corruption is rife are hard-pressed to produce youth who are committed to, or who believe in building their countries. That is why when I looked at the Cani & Porci image, I was thankful that I live in what I think are the most exciting times as a youth in Rwanda.
I’m sure you’ve heard of the ‘American Dream,’ an idea that all people can have happy and successful lives if they work hard.
The same can be said for Rwanda today, especially when one takes time to observe the achievements made by Rwandan youth, and opportunities afforded to them.
From the internationally recognized youth entrepreneurs who dot the capital, to the industrial individuals in rural areas who make the news with their innovative products and services; there is an unmistakable sense of energy and enthusiasm in the air.
The Rwandan Dream, so to speak, denotes the idea that hard work equals success – for everyone. For youth, this is where it’s happening. This where the moving and shaking is getting done, and no more is this noticeable than by the multitude of young people from the region who are flocking to the country for jobs, investments and ideas.
I cannot for the life of me, envision living anywhere else today but in Kigali. Idealistic, you may say, but blame national systems and leadership for producing this attitude.
As for the caption on the Carni & Porci picture, let it be a constant reminder of just how willing we are to preserve our dignity as a Continent.