The Choices Made by a Young African Farmer
After my recent participation as a Top 12 finalist in the Anzisha Prize, many people have asked why you are so interested in entrepreneurship despite your chosen career in medicine. I’m going to try to answer that question in a series of reflections.
Understanding my purpose has always been something that I struggled with growing up but I knew that I had to fulfil it. I have always wanted to give back to society and I have always strongly felt that agriculture was somehow strongly connected to my purpose.
I read on this topic of purpose, extensively, hoping for clarification, particularly Martin Luther’s book on modern reformation which explains how God hides himself in human works. The content of this book is well summarised in the words of John Calvin “For as God bestows any ability or gift upon any of us, he binds us to such as have need of us and as we are able to help.” and that changed my view point forever . Around this very period, I had the conviction that Agriculture was what was going to deliver our aspirations of transforming the African Economy and would have a key part in the struggle for economic freedom. If I wanted to create as much change and impact on the African content, I would have to be a part of it.
The bible states, “Go where you are needed most “. This conviction grew when I chanced on the Tedx Talk by the famous Ghanaian economist, George Ayittey and that of Kodwo Oppong Nkrumah. Despite these speeches being 14 years apart, there was one message, Africa was growing and would look to its very own to make that happen. I caught the vision and I ran with it.
Has that vision for Africa been achieved yet? Have I achieved the impact I want to make yet? Nope! In George Ayittey’s terms, I still regard myself as a baby Cheetah, and I will surely grow to become a Cheetah, a Cheetah to wrestle power out of the hands of governments into the hands of its people, driving change, impacting lives and spreading a new sense of hope and optimism for Africa.
These are new times and new seasons with new challenges set before us by our fore bearers. Analysing the facts and thinking critically I have come to understand that there was a point where Africa, through leaders like Nkrumah, Jomo Kenyatta, Mandela and many more had sought political freedom at the neglect of our economic freedom but how much have we had to show for this freedom. By also pursuing our economic freedom, we can we truly enjoy what our forbearers sought to achieve; however this has been left as a responsibility of the government.
Let’s realise that we are are not going to have another Kwame Nkrumah, Nelson Mandela. We must make the change, the young and ambitious who wished for a better Africa. It is Geoffrey Mullei, Farai Munjoma, Sesi Isaac or Yaya Souadou who will make the change. So rather than sit on the fence and bag our anger, frustrations and despair, hoping for the government to act, let’s recognise what gifts, abilities and resources we have. Think beyond the borders of your surroundings, look to advance your gifts to a whole village, then a whole city and then one day that will become a whole country and before you know it, you are impacting a whole continent.
So step out there and make things happen because you have so much virtue within you and you are what Africa has been waiting for.
Author: Benedict Kusi Ampofo
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