I grew up in a religious household in Nigeria, where prayer played a greater influence in my depth of trust in God.
At our morning devotions, my father would often quote from the Bible: Psalm 24 verse 1, “The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein”. Dad believed God had dominion over the world and as such the earth ought to be borderless such that anyone should freely move about without any hindrance to their financial, mental or physical liberty. His work took him to few notable places around the world and he generously shared with me his travel experiences.
He was a strong proponent of the correlation between travel and education. He encouraged me to “see the world” in order to develop a socially intellectual mind that would stave off any adversity life may throw at me.
Immediately after my graduation from the university, like every obedient son would, I listened to father’s advice and emigrated from Nigeria to the United Kingdom. I had meticulously planned my journey setting a very ambitious timeline and the benefits I wanted to realize from my sojourn. I can proudly say that I have accomplished many of the objectives in my original plan (which by the way, I had to adjust a few times simply because life happens!).
As years rolled by, I noticed that our world was shrinking into a global village due to the effects of globalization and technological innovation. For example, in 2019, one can “see the world” from their bedroom in Owerri; deliver services to the world from Abidjan; generate revenue from an app created in Soweto or trade with a Mr. Smith in New York from your parlor in Accra. As a consumer, you may also watch your favorite movie on Netflix, exchange pleasantries with family on Instagram; catch up with your long-lost friends on Facebook or challenge politicians on Twitter.
Such was the far-sightedness of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr when in April 1963, he wrote a poignant letter from his prison cell in Birmingham, Alabama. He said, “we are caught up in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny; whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly”. Although, the primary purpose of Dr. King’s letter was to challenge racial prejudice but resonating his comments is the possibility that in 2019, an African could sneeze in Nairobi and a section of the community in Europe could catch a cold or the trajectory of the virus may travel in the opposite direction depending on its economic severity/political strain.
Still, on the subject of religion, I have always nurtured a keen interest in developing my faith. Broadly speaking, my faith teaches me to manifest love and benevolence towards all. That was why I could hardly contain my excitement when the founder of MetamorphoseAfrica approached me to become a Trustee of the charity. His enthusiasm rubbed off on me and in keeping with the tenets of my faith, I immediately embraced the opportunity on offer. More so, knowing I would position myself to maximize the full potential of young and aspirational Africans was a rock-solid reason for accepting the challenge.
There are compelling arguments and justifiable reasons for MetamorphoseAfrica to make Africa the focus of its attention. Chiefly among the reasons is the economic argument.
The economic potential of Africa is humongous. Africa is home to a rapidly growing population of young people.
If one is to agree with the narrative of the Western media, Africa is a continent with a vast amount of wealth in the form of natural resources beneath the feet of its inhabitants. Sadly, it is also a continent plagued by wars, high level of corruption, and infant mortality rate.
Oil revenues are the lifeblood of many economies and are a driving force of foreign relations and geopolitical stability (or instability in the case of some African states). This is why it is very important to provide future custodians of this vast amount of wealth with the requisite education and skills to sustainably manage the resources without recourse to incendiary conflicts or polarising policies. Of course, Africa has had its fair share of despots who lacked leadership skills and political will to advance development in their countries. In order to move away from the current status quo of substandard leadership, I’m of a firm opinion that education will always remain the key that unlocks the door of ignorance.
It is a truism that large parts of Africa have been susceptible to endemic corruption with lots of these countries ranking highly on the global corruption index.
Let’s examine Nigeria as a case study. Tertiary education has been underfunded for doggone years. As a result, many once thriving and astute universities now have dilapidated infrastructure and diminished academic credentials. In addition, there has been a massive brain drain in the academia which has stifled research. It is therefore imperative that the benevolent hand of MetamorphoseAfrica should reach and touch the lives of innocent students who have been affected by this aberration due to no fault of theirs.
There is a South African word called Ubuntu. It means humanity towards others. The Ubuntu philosophy encourages a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity. Charity is often said to begin at home. If MetamorphoseAfrica were to turn their gaze to another continent, it will be morally offensive and vexatious to young Africans who were deprived of basic necessities of life by politicians or authoritarian leaders who have frittered away their commonwealth. Either through omission or commission, these African funds ended up in foreign bank accounts with accompanying benefits to citizens and economies of the Western countries.
To remedy this immoral dilemma, MetamorphoseAfrica will act as a proverbial prosthetic to every amputated African soul by fully using its resources to address the moral issue at hand.
According to a recent report by the United Nations Population Fund, Africa could offer enormous potential gains to the continent, by meeting the needs and fulfilling the rights of the expanding younger population.
This is why MetamorphoseAfrica is providing information and digital opportunities to young Africans in the hope that these newly acquired skills will alleviate poverty and also maximize the social proximity between young Africans and their Western counterparts.
Africa’s landmass is comprised of 600 million hectares of uncultivated arable land.
The climate is favorable to sun, wind, waterfalls etc. Africa can lead the way in embracing new technologies to produce and market renewable energy to the rest of the world. Investment opportunities in agriculture and its accompanying value chain is another area where Africa’s younger workforce could play a vital role. Yes, it is laudable to have foreign direct investment flowing into the continent but in order to effectively manage these investments and make the dream of a sustainable Africa come into fruition, the continent requires a strong, dynamic, and educated younger workforce. The role of Metamorphose Africa is to provide education and support to the growing population of young unemployed Africans.
Astronomical unemployment indices in most African countries is unsustainable. Accompanying this anomaly is the premature death of many young men and women of working age while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea into Europe to seek a better standard of living.
Human trafficking which is akin to modern-day slavery is prevalent in African countries with unscrupulous people subjecting young women to a life of misery and servitude.
It is hoped that MetamorphoseAfrica will stem the tide of passage and eradicate weekly loss of life and dignity which has come to characterize young African men and women as they try to cross the Mediterranean Sea.
Never stop dreaming
Since the charity launched in 2018, I’m encouraged by the large acceptance of MetamorphoseAfrica by its target audience. Younger generations must continue to have faith in the continent of Africa as an environment where their destinies can be fulfilled. The knowledge that they can thrive wherever they are planted should be the fillip to ensure they attain their full potential.
We can collectively rewrite the narrative about Africa in a positive light through hard work and resilience. To any young African reading this message, I leave you with these words from a valedictory speech I attended many years ago – Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value, Albert Einstein. May your dreams, come to your rescue.
About the Author
Ayo Awoyele is a Project Manager at the department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, United Kingdom. Ayo is passionate about giving back to society, especially young people and helping them to fulfill their full potential. Ayo is one of the trustees of MetamorphoseAfrica, he is a Christian who lives and works in the UK.
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