AFKI Corporate: Balancing #Bringbackourgirls and Africa’s Progressive Story

By Claudine Moore AFKI Original Published: May 8, 2014, 4:06 am
Michelle Obama tweets her support for the kidnapped Nigerian girls (Photo: theguardian.com)

Over the next few weeks and months, the ‘AFKI Corporate’ column will bring readers a range of business insights, trends, news and tips exclusively for corporations and people conducting business in the African Market. Each week this column will provide readers with international business strategies, tips, tools and insights customized for the continent.

‘AFKI Corporate’ will also feature exclusive Q&A’s with influencers, business leaders and entrepreneurs from across Africa, and the African diaspora sharing their business tips, vision and ideas for continued accelerated growth on the continent.

The appalling kidnapping of nearly 300 girls in the Northern Nigerian state of Borno, Nigeria at the hands of the terrorist group Boko Haram, which literally translates as ‘Western Education is Sinful’, is one of the most shocking and boldest moves of a terror organization since 9/11.

These innocent young girls were stolen from their families in the middle of the night and are currently being subjected to untold horrors purely for the simple fact that they went to school.

In terms of global perception, this incident has set Nigeria back, and some may argue Africa as a whole, 50 years, and has sadly over shadowed the World Economic Forum on Africa, which for the first time was taking place in Abuja the capital city of Nigeria.

On the dawn of Nigeria announcing they were Africa’s biggest economy a moment of motivation and a chance to position the country and by default the continent as a place of progress, Boko Haram committed their first terror attack on the capital just 8 days later. This was the first terror attack on the capital city in two years.

On the same day they committed another disgusting act, by kidnapping nearly 300 children, the most despicable of crimes. In recent days, there have been more bombings and the kidnapping of more children.

In a recently global media briefing hosted by the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR) with its senior fellow and former ambassador to Nigeria John Campbell and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson, discussed the violence and kidnappings in northern Nigeria, and preparations for the World Economic Forum starting in Abuja this week.

A single story

The briefing was heavily attended by some of the most influential media outlets in the world including New York Times, Washington Post, Bloomberg, USAToday, DailyBeast, ABC News and CNN. Their questions focused entirely on the violence in Nigeria, with not one question posed  about the current WEF Africa.

Popular Nigerian author Chimamanda Adichie discussed the danger of a single story in her now famous TedX talk and we must be careful to avoid this happening now.

The global conversation pertaining to Nigeria is squarely on the news surrounding these bombings and kidnappings and rightly so for nothing is more important than the killing and brutalization of innocent men, women and children.

Nevertheless, it must be noted, this is ‘mission accomplished’ on behalf of the terrorists for their remit is to halt progress not promote it. Their remit is to halt progress by intimidating and bullying the masses, ultimately distracting and thwarting steps towards progress.

It is exasperating the way some quarters are discussing the lack of importance of the WEF Africa considering the campaign #Bringbackourgirls and the security issues in the Nigeria.

This is so dreadfully and dangerously simplistic, and overwhelmingly shortsighted playing directly into the hands of the terrorist organizations. In the world we live in progressive and forward thinking African’s and African’s in the Diaspora, influencers, executives, business people, entrepreneurs and government officials have to be multifaceted, sophisticated, smart and savvy by focusing on more than one thing as we pursue goals.

Eyes on the Ball

Specifically, we must all raise awareness, campaign and lend our voice, influence and resources to the plight of the Chibok girls, while we simultaneously raise awareness and work on all the progressive opportunities that abound across the continent in a variety of industries.

Opportunities equates to growth, and growth is what ultimately fuels progress leading to improved lives for all. This includes equal access to education, increased security and poverty reduction, which former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson sited during Wednesday’s media briefing was a key driver needed to thwart terrorism.

During the WEF Africa the dialogue will focus on security Africa wide, and what the regional African and global community should and will do to assist in finding the missing children. The lion share of the conference should be focused on this, but we should still portion focus on the discussion of the investment opportunities, sustainable growth opportunities across multiple industries, and job creation.

To not do so is playing directly into the hands of terror organization by allowing their activities to manipulate all facets of African governance, politics and business.

To not also continue to emphasize the important and significance of WEF, and the findings from the forum plays directly into the hands of terror groups. There remit is to halt progress with violence, thus creating stagnated growth which serves their cause.

African’s on the continent and across the Diaspora should actively and passionately campaign to #Bringbackourgirls but we have to also keep our eyes on the prize of Africa’s progress.

This dual process is needed to assist with immediate issues, and focus on long-term sustained progress on the continent, which is the ultimate destination for all African’s committed to growth and prosperity across the continent, which is a key tool in the global battle against terror.

 

Claudine Moore (@ClaudineMoore) is the founder of C Moore Media (@CMooreMedia) headquartered in New York City with a growing African division. Claudine is also a columnist with top media outlets including CNN and specializes in Africa topics and news. Claudine spends a significant amount of her time traveling across Africa for both business and pleasure.

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