Have you ever met a woman who makes you think “Oh, they mad? Let them stay mad! We are about to take over!”? These are the feelings Lucy Quist evoked at the last TEDxEustonSalon 2016 when she took to the stage for a powerful TED Talk.
I’ll admit I wasn’t sure what to expect and I’m ashamed to confess that I wanted to leave before her talk. The bio was misleading, you see. I had read a lot about her being the CEO of AirTel Ghana. An admirable achievement in and of itself, but I wasn’t in the market for mobile phone credit. What could this woman say that would inspire me, I wondered?
The second she took to the stage and asked us to remember the figure 3.1%, I was captured at rapt attention for the entirety of her talk. Lucy Quist spoke of a new Africa; an Africa that harnessed her own assets in the form of young minds and innovators; an Africa that cloaked herself in ambition and progression. And this New Dawn was to be driven by us: we who march tirelessly towards making a change, a difference.
“If You Want To Change Anything With People; You Need To Get Into The Gutter With Them”
The emphasis is the message that we cannot bring about this change from boardrooms and beautiful buildings.We need to change our language, our psyche, our feelings about the African continent. Africans will speak about the great things that others speak about. We will go to the farms, the villages, the mechanic sheds, and the shanty towns. There are young brains dying for an opportunity to engage and be engaged, and by God, we will engage them before we lose them to the Brain Drain.
This figure is as disastrous as it is tragic. 3.1% is the GDP expected for Sub-Saharan Africa. 3.1% GDP for what amounts to 14% of the world’s population.
But even as we hang our heads in shame, we must let this figure drive us, push us to want more and be better. It should make us defiant and bolder; more determined to develop a stronger Africa.
I am seldom moved at talk events. I have been to too many of them where the drive starts and ends on the podium. Nothing happens afterwards.
But Lucy Quist at this year’s TEDxEuston? A game-changer. A life-changer. Awesome stuff.
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