Tuesday, 24 August 2010
Why West Africa? Why now? Why you?
Earlier in June the World was watching Africa with expectation and excitement. Africa’s World Cup captured the commercial imagination of the World. Everybody remembers ‘that’ epic Nike advert that most of its stars ‘Rooney, Ronaldo, Ronaldhino, Drogba’ will want to forget. The music and atmosphere at the World Cup declared that ’Africa is open for business’. However, with the World Cup Circus having packed up and on the road the aftermath of failure does not not belong to Rooney, Ronaldo, Messi or the English press it belongs to all of us.
Development is failing: We are failing.
In 2000 the development of Africa was at the top of the international agenda. The UN Global Compact launched in 2000 and the Millennium goals were statements of intent. Since the campaign for international development launched in 2000 there has been mixed results. Despite unprecedented growth in some regions and increased investment in both portfolio equity and foreign direct investment the big development push has still not utilised Africa’s potential and has correllated with increased inequality and poverty particularly in West Africa. The poor are getting poorer. Development is failing. We are failing.
The nature of development means that it cannot be solely discussed in the present. Development is future business. This is why students have an important place within the debate. The problems and constraints on development require a need for cross cultural dialogue, an exchange of experience and ideas, and the commitment of tomorrow’s decision makers. The vision of Beyond Borders is for tomorrow’s writers, academics, businessman, and policy makers in the UK to understand the issues and lives at local level to break down the barriers that prevent us from learning and maintaining sustainable development. We also need to stand in support and solidarity with grass roots African political activists that are fighting for growth to be filtered through to the poorest and are resisting the exploitation of Africa’s resources against the interests of African’s.
The World Cup failed but Football can still be a vehicle for change
Through education and extra-curricular mediums of literature, sport, and art, development can be returned to the peak of international agenda. We will use football not as a vehicle of exploitation but as a vehicle for change. During the past 100 years the provision, access, and control of football space became a crucial site of struggle between Africans and the local political authorities. It has become a political instrument, and to this day provides a contrast to the usual pictures of a pitiful and lost continent.
A new story for West Africa
We want to be a part of the writing of a new West African story through meeting and learning with the regions students, activists, grass roots communities, and volunteering with projects in building infrastructure, supporting families, and making physical and financial investments.
There is a need to create a network of, archives, historians, academics, and students to unearth new and untold stories. The tour will be championing a new story for the region and a part of creating this network, which has a five year goal to expand beyond West Africa to the entire region. The dialogue between students in West Africa’s leading universities with students from London’s leading universities is uniting academic metro poles to challenge the single story of Africa and write a new future into existence.
We need you
Beyond Borders is maintained solely upon those who believe in our mission.
We still have a significant financial deficit to honour the African families and communities that we have planned to join.
We need those who support our vision to turn this support into a minimum donation of £5.00.
Please donate at the side.