TEDxAccra Among 'chaos, dysfunction and disorder' is Africa really rising?

Princess Umul Hatiyya Ibrahim Mahama has visited 62 countries and seen how some have triumphed over advertises, leading her to question the assertion 'Africa is rising'.

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Princess Umul Hatiyya Ibrahim Mahama has visited 62 countries and seen how some have triumphed over advertises, leading her to question the assertion 'Africa is rising'.

The entrepreneur, writer and travel addict grew to love geography at school, and since then wanted to travel.

As she grew older, her reasons for travel changed.

“I didn't want to only see spectacular architecture like the Sydney Opera House, or visit historical sites like the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt or the joys of nature, but I was keen on understanding how nations are built, how nations develop.

“I wanted to know how a small nation like Singapore, being a third world can be transformed into a first world.

“I wanted to understand how a country like Japan could rise up out of the ashes of the second World War,” she told an audience at the TEDxAccra talk on Wednesday night.

So far, she has seen 100 cities across 62 countries, and seeing all those countries got her thinking about what she has seen through Africa.

“Recently we have been hearing the term 'Africa is rising' - a part of me wants to believe in this...however after visiting 20 countries in Africa the questions I keep asking are, if Africa is truly rising why would acquiring a simple document like a passport be such an uproar?”

Impassioned, Ibrahim Mahama asked her audience “if Africa is truly rising, why is corruption on the rise?” citing Transparency International's 2016 corruption perception index, she noted 40 countries through Africa listed corruption as a major challenge.

“Why are many of our cities and countries characterized by chaos, dysfunction and disorder?

“If Africa is really rising why are 660 million Africans without electricity?”

She also queried why cities through the continent are littered with rubbish.

While not just set on asking her questions, Ibrahim Mahama was also ready to offer remedies, but noted they take everyone being in on it together.

She urged for people to “move away from tribalism and political divisions” to employee someone based on their knowledge, competence and skill “not because of their party colours or the tribe they belong to.”

She called for long-term thinking to solve problems, and said education needed to be a high priority, including in the home.

Stopping corruption could be done by not paying bribes, or taking them, no matter how small, she said.

“'Something for water today boss', 'what do you have for me', 'the weather is hot', or 'boss today is Friday'.These things should be a thing of the past.”

Her steps also include people being responsible for their actions: “let's not blame superstition or negative forces for every mishap,” and to put a stop to littering: “it makes us sick and it drives tourists away,” she said.

And to applause and shouts of agreement, Ibrahim Mahama wants people to respect time.

“Let's be punctual to work and value time. Weddings, funerals and social engagements should not be three day events. When we have a programme lets start and finish on time.

"Let's be on time.”

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