Viewpoint: The West Must Catch up with Africa
By Rara Reines
The global future is African, the continent will account for the majority of the world’s future population growth with half of the world being African by 2100. Africa is at the forefront of future trends and the most pressing of global challenges and already represents a key site of global power struggle and transition.
China and other emerging powers have recognized the pivotal importance of the African continent to global affairs and have significantly increased engagement with African states in recent years while Western powers have been slower to catch up to the continent’s significance. In this way, the traditional Western aid donors are not fully prepared to engage with African states as partners rather than aid recipients and it is critical that these states recognise the immense economic, cultural, and political importance of the current shifts underway on a massive continent of 54 countries.
Traditional views and stereotypes of African countries that reduce diverse and multifaceted groups with complex contexts into single stories of poverty, war, and disease are outdated. Western media coverage of Africa largely continues to lack the nuance and coverage to portray the complex and lived realities of a continent of over 1.2 billion people and a paradigm shift is needed in how Africa is seen by the world.