Ted Talent Search
Olopade’s talk summarizes the first chapter of The Bright Continent.
A review for Foreign Affairs by Nicolas van de Walle.
But in her enthusiasm for the alternative, she often lets the state off the hook altogether seeing, for example, the explosion in private schools as a positive development.
1. In an age where data collection and analysis are increasingly relied on, how can these informal entrepreneurial systems be measured? Do they need to be?
2. Why aren’t these stories told more often? How can we get access to them?
3. Though this book is about Africa, “kanju” is a common occurrence worldwide. What examples of hustling for survival are common where you live?
4. How do the informal networks Olopade describes complement the focus on government or aid intervention in books like Dead Aid and The End of Poverty?
Add your thoughts and questions below!
The Bright Continent challenges the typical helpless depiction of Africans seen in the mainstream media and poverty campaigns. There is growing conversation about the need for a new approach to communications in international development and this illuminating account of day-to-day narratives is a great place to start.
Olopade visited 18 countries to document the ways Africans are taking control of their development through entrepreneurial and innovative means by making use of the resources around them. It is an account of the power of grassroots initiatives outside the sphere of Western aid and international intervention, which many other books focus on. In particular she highlights technology, commercialism, nature (natural resources), and youth.
When you’re thinking of Africa in the context of the wars you’ve seen, the poverty you assume, or the government you’ve given up on, you’re likewise missing the point. In the age of breakthrough technologies and instant access to information, blindness is no excuse. The stories in this book provide a new compass – not just for the continent, but for every sector of the global economy.
-Dayo Olopade, The Bright Continent