There are plenty African good-news stories to find inspiration amidst the Armageddon features trending in paid news and social media.
Of course, if you’re looking for bad news, there’s plenty to find. But while bad news could close a few urgent deals, building your business on good news is far more likely to build both long-term wealth, but also sustainable social benefits.
Let’s tell more inspiring stories.
The context is probably best viewed taking a giant step back. Thankfully, the popular world view of Africa as a helpless backwater in need of Western aid is diminishing, despite a few out-of-touch imbeciles clinging to their “shithole” mantras. Since ancient times, Africa has been a thriving hotbed of innovation, from the ancient Egyptians to Ghanaian gold and Great Zimbabwe.
More recently, many world firsts have emerged from Africa, such as:
- the CAT scan,
- the heart transplant,
- Kenya’s M-Pesa mobile money,
- Q20, a water-repellent solvent and household lubricant,
- Kreepy Krauly pool cleaner,
- iCow, providing mobile advice to over 50,000 East African rural farmers,
- dolosse (singular: dolos), the wave breaking, irregularly-shaped concrete blocks,
and many others. (Technologist, SA The Good News)
Perhaps because of Africa’s challenges, where chaos is more normal than the orderly environments of, say, Zurich or Singapore, we are well-positioned to tackle the challenges of a pandemic and its accompanying restrictions.
Here are just 4 of many uplifting anecdotes that can galvanise an optimistic outlook.
1. Kobo360 is like Uber for clients wanting to truck cargo. Started in the mid-2010s in Nigeria, the company overcame several challenges, not only the typical market and start-up risks, but everything from inefficient port logistics to terrorism and corruption in Boko Haram-controlled territories.
Since lockdown, the company has grown 230% based on literally delivering on their brand promise in the preceding 2 years. (How we made it in Africa, 28 Jul 2020)
2. In responding directly to the medical challenges of COVID-19, “South African expertise in outbreak control…along with public health expertise in HIV, have allowed for rapid in-depth analysis in a way that rivals many European countries and certainly the US.”
Having developed strong capabilities to cope with infectious diseases and vaccine research during the last 20 years, SA is enjoying increasing success in curing people with severe disease. While most statistics focus on the macro level, like the total number of cases and deaths, too little attention goes to recoveries. (News24, 5 Jul 2020)
3. Well-known funny-man Marc Lottering took his stand-up shows online during lockdown and reached his biggest audience ever, with over 8,500 attending his first digital show. (The Citizen, 15 Jun 2020)
4. Malani Padayachee & Associates, a 100% black women-owned engineering firm, along with investment company Motseng Women Investments, has acquired 100% equity of Mott MacDonald Africa, the South African arm of global engineering company Mott MacDonald headquartered in the United Kingdom. (Engineering News, 3 Aug 2020)
Although the overall economy is in dire straits, the deal exemplifies how the disruptive effect of lockdown restrictions can’t be applied to all businesses or sectors. While some sectors obviously benefit, like ICT networking services and suppliers of medical safety equipment, there are niche opportunities for not only survival, but growth in several sub-sectors. With the need to strengthen infrastructure in response to the pandemic, there are opportunities to exploit for both economic gain as well as social benefit.
Whether you’re looking for sensational bad news or inspiring good news, you’ll find it. What good-news stories can you add to this collection?