Take a look at the tag on any clothing item, or technology. Certain names dominant; made in China, made in the USA, made in India, made in Korea. Where is “made in Africa”? Where “Africa” means owned and controlled by native Africans, and “made” means the cultural expression of those people?
A new Africa, means a new economic model which redressing one of the most critical dilemmas facing contemporary Africa—poverty. While the roots of poverty in Africa are well studied and debated over, one thing is clear; Trade is better than aid for a sustainable future of any country. The development of private business enterprise at every economic level. Africa must be competitive not only in pricing but also in innovation and quality.
When it comes to Africa’s own cultural expression in the globalized world there is no shortage. What is causing a problem is Africa’s failure to capitalize on its own cultural innovations to create tangible finished products for a global market. As Africa has to end the cycle of being only a source of the World’s raw materials, buying back what it exported at a premium. (As well as having, others creating what they believe to be African)
Why should African people purchase designer brands from Europe and America? Like Hugo Boss and Calvin Klien? Is there not enough artistic cultural expression to innovate, as Europe has done, an African designer brand? The problem here is one of the failure to capitalize on culture and the lack of capital to invest in such projects to produce viable alternatives to the fashion houses of Europe. So what actually happens in this this failure to develop the cultural capital means others, from Europe and Asia, with capital can and will come and exploit Africa’s cultural innovation for their own economic development. So today, most of the “African flavored” fabrics, apparels, etc might bear the name “Africa” but 90% of them are not made in Africa, or owned by Africans.
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