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Africa arise, your time has come. We have a new brand of leaders and the opportunities are at your doorstep. Take your place and set the pace for the rest of the world.

The African continent is a land unlike any other, richly blessed with fertile land for agriculture, vast natural resources and a massive treasure of precious and rare minerals. The African man, as tales of early civilization tell us, is wise, cultured and resilient. The African woman resourceful, nurturing and beautiful. It’s no wonder that when the white man set foot on this great land he wanted it all. He took our men, women and children, our treasures in the ground and above the ground. Ever since the white man set foot on this great land, I dare say Africa has never been the same. But that is set to change.

Its people were oppressed and its land pillaged for wealth that the African did not benefit from. Even after the colonial masters packed up and jumped into their ships and left, Africa is still being ripped off in different ways by many different rogues this time.

But being the incurable optimist that I am, the good news is that, when you are at rock bottom there is only one way to go, and that is up! We are on the rise to our former glory. It is a turbulent ascent but it beats the alternative – staying down.

I believe in Africanism. Africans solving African problems. Africans must move from a mindset of dependency that has long plagued our people. We must move away from the notion that a better life is to be found abroad and not here at home. In Uganda people say “Tulinda gavumenti etuyambe” which means “We are waiting for the government to do something about our problems.” Agreed, all governments have a mandate to solve the issues gripping citizens, but the idea that we will sit down  and do nothing, waiting for a government that is waiting on foreign aid, will only serve to hold us back as Africans.

A little known historical fact is that the colonization of Africa did not begin as official state business but rather by private companies and individuals that saw opportunity and set off to grab it. In Nigeria for example, the British government paid a huge amount in 1900 to the Niger Company – a private British firm – for administrative control of Nigeria. This company still exists today and is one of the largest the world over although it is now known as Unilever. The point is individuals took the lead and governments followed which is what we must do as Africans. We have the resources to go out and grab what we need, build institutions that ensure that our children stay on the continent. And those that have left should return with their wealth and knowledge. This way Africa’s trajectory will change and we will thrive.

The possibilities are endless and there is no excuse that the African cannot do for themselves what other races did on their own. But it is going to take leaders and people with a deep patriotic sense, impeccable financial stewardship, integrity, transformational leadership and action orientation. America is a great nation. It is the way it is because for generations that deep patriotic mindset has been transferred down to the next. Love for their land is in their DNA.

I have been intrigued to read about the country that powers almost all the mobile phones in the world and yet has the world’s poorest populations. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is the country with the greatest amounts of mineral and natural wealth that has not reached the masses. This is inexcusable. The DRC government has been misled by corrupt politicians and foreign powers. The same is happening elsewhere even in our country.

To get out and up, we must adopt the mindset of “What can I do for my country, for my continent?” Rather than, “What can my country can do for me?” This is the new brand of leadership.

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