Last year at TedxDumbo in October, I spoke about Africa as the next Fashion Capital. I believe this notion fully and it has some roots in the timing of what is going on the continent. This decade, most African countries will hit 50 years of independence. This is a historic milestone and I feel it will determine if Africans can redefine what their role and future will be in the world as nations. Will African countries escape the label and perception of Africa as the world’s poorest continent? I believe that they will and there needs to be a focus on building and improving cities and not rural areas.
According to a report by the UN Habitat, “The State of African Cities 2010: Governance, Inequalities and Urban Land Markets,” African city populations will more than triple over the next 40 years and this is vital as it determines where socioeconomic activity will occur: “For the first time, in 2009, Africa’s total population exceeded one billion, of which 395 million, almost 40 per cent, lived in urban areas. This urban population will grow to one billion in 2040, and to 1.23 billion in 2050, by which time 60 per cent of all Africans will be living in cities.”
African cities are both colonial and modern. They have evolve from traditional cultural histories and patterns overlaid with colonial and modern re-mapping. Cities like Lagos, Accra and Johannesburg have outgrown their original boundaries and expanded beyond the population capacities. In these cities, as an Afropolitan — an African who has always lived in a metropolitan city — I see African cities as a mix of Africa and the West, hybrids.
My TedxDumbo Talk: http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/Africa-the-Next-Fashion-Capital