Beyond The Stereotype
Disease, war and poverty.
These are some of the thoughts that come to mind when people in developed countries think of the African continent. No doubt these scourge exist in this region of the world and is prevalent. But there is so much more. And that is why today I Wil be breaking down my reasoning based on facts on why I came out here (Tanzania specifically).
A Booming Population
First off, Africa has the fastest growing population in the world. In many countries, the average age of the populace is less then 18. In fact by the year 2100, 40% of the world’s population will be African. This boom in population combined with the fact that most African countries are underdeveloped leads to a strain in the system needed to support the population.
This means a high demand for food, education, infrastructure and a variety of different supporting industries. Someone that goes in there and provides solutions will be compensated as such.
Secondly, when people of a world class education, Africa is not included. With few exceptions, this status resides with the West. As such, a Western educated individual is taken more seriously. You become a bigger fish in a smaller pond. And this is based on first hand experience. Way back in the beginning of the year when I was in Thailand, I spent a respectable amount of time knocking on doors of the professors in the local universities asking to teach their class. In hindsight my pitch wasn’t that great but the mere fact that I was a college educated American and a native English speaker lended to me sounding more intelligent then I really am. And I milk every privilege I can get.
As a side note, in non English speaking countries, it is the educated upper-class (and tourism focused) individuals that speak English as a second language. And you speaking fluent English means that some of the “uperclassiness” (so to speak) of said society rubs off on you.
The New American West
The combination of these two main factors, the former of a booming population that demands goods/services on a underdeveloped system and the later of being Western opening up more doors leads to me concluding that large swaths of the African continent are the modern American West which I discussed way back in the beginning of the year when this Africa thing first hit me. Both involve underdeveloped land where persons of drive and ambition went and built something for themselves and cemented their legacy along the way.
Latin America as another example, during my time in that region of the world, I noticed a pattern. As I walked through countless neighborhoods in different cities, it was the areas where the locals were of European descent that were the most affluent because frankly (I think at least) their ancestors were more capable then the people that were there first.
It took generations for this shift in dynamics to occur. But the times of the conquistadors was 4-500 years ago. The American West, 200 years. I think it’s safe to say that technology moves faster now.
My conclusion therefore is that Africa is where China was 25-30 years ago. China was a backwater in the 90’s, now it is the 2nd largest economy in the world. This is how fast the tables can turn.
I can already draw a reasonable inference that the next 1-2 years won’t be as productive as it could be. And I have 40-50 good years in the tank afterwards.
So that is not the question. The real question is:
What if I’m right?
“Go West Young Man, Go West and Grow Up with the country.”
About Kingston’s Journey Series: Kingston’s Journey is a lifelong series. This is the travel journal I take with me. Whether you have questions such as how to change my life or how to travel the world, I think you’ll find value in the life lessons I’ve experienced and documented in this travel notebook. They may serve as travel inspiration for you. In Chinese, there is a saying, “讀萬卷書,不如行千里路.”
This means, instead of reading ten thousand books, why don’t you walk a thousand miles. This is my inspiration to travel every nation (or as many as possible) in my pursuit of my global MBA by learning as much as possible and recording these life lessons learned only by travel. In the end, I think the achievement of dreams, personal growth & aspirations out there through travel and adventure will lead to a more fulfilling life. Living and experiencing the “now” is how I’ll make my life a great memory in the future.