“The Africa we want”

“Ngos are losing their legitimacy. If it was the funeral of the ngo, Africans would attend without flowers and without speeches. They’d just attend to make sure it really died,” says Moses Isooba to a room full of ngo-workers at Partos Innovation Festival today.

“We, Africans, want to determine the Africa we want! For our future. For our children. We want institutions that are working, protection and above all social justice.”

And traditional ngos don’t provide that. People are unhappy with their governments, and don’t see the difference between government and ngos anymore. Local ngo-workers and young people start questioning the aid-narrative of patronage: aid workers from the North coming to help people from the South.

So, ngos “revisit your relevancy for the South. It must be radically different.” A short summary of Isooba’s speech:

Don’ts according to Isooba:
  • Africans conforming to those in power, telling them what to do.
  • A narrative that talks about a divide between the North and the South, currently embedded in ngo-language.
  • Sending one person for a few days to Africa and then back home.
  • A majority (currently 60%!) of the ngo-staff from the North.
  • An appetite for managing or governing.


Do’s according to Isooba:
  • Interrogating power and inequalities.
  • Supporting decentralised movements, like Isooba’s Africans Rising.
  • Looking for something you can bring to strengthen local struggles.
  • Working with people (not the entire continent). “In them there is a huge power.”
  • Tapping into the potential of young people. “Hand over to young people – who are around in 50 or 60 years’ time – to shape their own destiny.”
  • An appetite for risk: go to rural places, stay longer than a few days, think without the box.
  • Changing the narrative. “Turn the story around: Africa is a rich continent and every year 50 billion USD leaves the continent” (e.g. coltan from DRC to Europe).
  • Thinking about the positive gains of human mobility, instead of criminalising human migration.



Read more stories at All about Africa

Category: Blog · Tags: , ,


3 Responses to ““The Africa we want””
  1. Moses Isooba schreef:

    Great Story! Africans Rising continues to fight for strong governments. Africa’s biggest problem remains to be our weak governments – governments which cannot provide public goods, cannot cage or control their elites and do effective wealth distribution. Africa needs strong governments and NOT strong men! We need strong institutions.
    Rule of law and fidelity to the Constitution is what we wish for the African people. Adherence to the Constitution ensures there is equality of justice and independence of the judiciary. These two are the forest to which all the poor and marginalized will always run for refuge, protection &redress. Even those in government should strive to preserve this forest because if they destroy it, they will have no where to run when the devil chases them one day!

  2. Anne-Marie schreef:

    Well done, Inemarie!

Leave A Comment