“Ask An African” is a new Mettle Consult (Mettle) initiative that seeks to gauge the perceptions of what Africans think about Africa. As a continent, Africa underperforms relative to other regions with regards to economic, social, and political development. At Mettle, one of our endeavors relates to understanding problems facing the African continent and finding solutions to them. In this quest, we realized how important changing the negative perception of Africa is to driving growth in and investments to the continent. Changing these negative perceptions is an uphill climb and will require strategic changes in our mentality as it relates to priority areas that include (but is not limited to) leadership, governance, accountability, security, education and responsible citizenship. As Africans, we need to take active roles in solving our problems. History shows that no one else will and waiting around for “someone” to do it produces zero results.
So in order to further understand the African continent, we sought and continue to seek African voices, as we have to tell our own stories. For far too long, others have told our stories. To this end, we created this segment because we belief it is time we saw and read about Africa, through the eyes and voices of Africans.
Today, we read from Joe Aloka K’Odingo.
1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself ?
My name is Joe Aloka K’Odingo. I am 49 years old. I was born in Nairobi, Kenya where I spent most of my childhood and studied until the second year of Business School. I was awarded a scholarship to study in Norway in 1990. During that time, IT was the buzzword. I opted to switch from business to pursue a degree in IT. I have over 20 years of experience in the IT-industry. I currently work as an IT-Project Manager at KPMG, Norway.
2. What is your super power?
I am a good listener.
3. What is your impression about Africa?
It is a continent on the move. It is diverse and has great potential.
4. What do you think Africans think about Africa?
Depends who one asks. Some see the light at the end of the tunnel and to others; it is one full of hopelessness.
5. What do you think non-Africans think about Africa?
Already answered in #4.
6. What frustrates you about the African continent? And your country?
Corruption and impunity. This is the largest plague crippling the continent.
7. What gives you hope about the African continent, and your country?
That there are many in the diaspora who are now returning to the continent to take part in nation building. In Kenya, the democratic process is one to be applauded. It is not perfect, but it offers its citizens the power to question their leaders and to make them accountable for their actions.
8. If you could make a change/difference in your country what would you do?
I would strengthen institutions to ensure proper governance.
Interviewed by Chisom Udeze