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On the temporary relocation of Twitter CEO to Africa

Fascination with Africa is as old as the world itself; being mindful, of course, of the fact that Africa is the birthplace of the human race, independent of the current reality that the continent is relatively technologically underdeveloped. The motives for the fascination with Africa are as varied as your imagination: the beautiful culture and the truly beautiful people, the spectrum and diversity of beautiful human skin colors, the innocence and purity of Africa – of course before the current wave of influence from outside. There is also the wild life and the beautiful, mild weather that God has bestowed on the continent. (It is a well-known fact that God has blessed Africa with excellent weather, which to a large extent explains the relative underdevelopment of the continent. I mean the lack of real life challenges.)

Furthermore, Africa is love. In fact I am not aware of any people in the world that love other people as do (traditional) Africans.  You visit them and they would vacate their “beds” for you to use, while they sleep on the floor. Contrast that with the hate that consumes many parts of the world. White people, and, more recently, Asians, have abused African’s innocence, though it seems that a few African countries are reacting in a way that should educate foreigners (to Africa) on the need to treat people well.

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Obviously, not all white people hate Africans, and not all Africans are saints! The lyrics of the 1982 song by the (white) musical group Toto entitled “Africa,” and written by David Paich and Jeff Porcaro, with the infectious refrain “I bless the rains down in Africa,” show that people do genuinely care about Africa.

In recent years, interest of Westerners in Africa has been motivated mostly by the potential business opportunities in that continent, and, in a few cases, the intersection with social-responsibility-driven initiatives.  Mark Zuckerberg reportedly jogged in Lagos, Nigeria within the past two years; the American-based techcrunch.com has consistently shown immense interest in tech developments in Africa, with palpable investment of resources to help African startups succeed. It also carries more tech news from Africa than any other Western media. Sacha Poignonnec, one of the founders, and a Co-CEO of Jumia – formerly known as Africa Internet Group – “found his way” to Yaba, Lagos – to start Jumia, Nigeria. (Jumia is reportedly Africa’s leading Internet platform, a group that operates online and mobile e-commerce retail, marketplaces, classifieds and services companies and facilitatory services such as booking agencies.) These are undoubtedly good developments for Africa. There are many more examples of foreigners heading to Africa for possible business opportunities.

Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO said last week that he plans to move to Africa in 2020 for at least three months. This occurred after Dorsey completed a month-long trip visiting entrepreneurs in Africa. “Sad to be leaving the continent … for now. Africa will define the future (especially the bitcoin one!),” Dorsey reportedly tweeted from Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) last week Wednesday. “Not sure where yet, but I’ll be living here for 3-6 months mid-2020. Grateful I was able to experience a small part (of Africa).”

Dorsey started his travel to Africa on 8 November 2019. He reportedly visited Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa. In Ethiopia, he listened to aspiring high tech startups. In Nigeria, he met with entrepreneurs and also with Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who is said to be a board member of Twitter. Onkonjo-Iweala was the Minister of Finance under President Goodluck Jonathan, during which time Nigeria experienced one of its worst episodes of financial corruption. Diezani K. Alison-Madueke, who is notorious for one of the largest embezzlements, in history, of Nigerian government oil money, was the Minister of Petroleum while Okonjo-Iweala was Finance Minister. (According to a United States PBS NewsHour segment, Diezani Alison-Madueke might personally have organized a diversion of $6 billion (N1.2 trillion) from the Nigerian treasury. Moreover, she has been charged with responsibility for $20 billion missing from the Petroleum agency.)

Dorsey believes that Africa will “define the future” of global economy. According to Victoria Bekiempis, in the UK Guardian Newspaper issue of 29 November 2019, “Africa’s tech industry is presently experiencing rapid growth. GSMA, a mobile services industry group, said there were 618 “active tech hubs” on the continent this year, up 40% from 2018. According to GSMA, Nigeria and South Africa have the most, with 85 and 80, respectively.” Caleb Ecarma of mediate.com on 29 November 2019 supports this optimism: “Entrepreneurship and the middle class have also enjoyed a notable upward trend in Africa, where – by 2020 – an estimated 56 million middle-class families will live with collective disposable incomes of $680 billion, per data gathered from the African Development Bank that was cited in a Brookings Institute study last year.”

As for where Dorsey is going to reside in Africa, this is currently the subject of a guessing game.

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