A world in motion, and Africa is setting the pace

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I talk a lot about how the world is re-making itself. As I study the changes that are occurring, I’m constantly reminded that the world outside the U.S. is vast. There are significant pockets of activity going on that don’t necessarily receive a lot of attention in the U.S., yet they are starting to define what civilization is going to look like in the very near future. 

This thought has crossed my mind a lot during the current World Cup tournament. It’s watched globally by billions, so clearly holds great cultural significance to many people around the world, yet only a third of Americans tune in. It’s an odd sort of disconnect, and I was reminded of it during several recent interviews I did with global Millennials, in which I encountered more signs of significant (and positive) change taking place around the world that might not be very apparent to some in North America.

This spring, a new web series called “An African City” made its debut. Created by Nicole Amarteifio, a Ghanian writer, film-maker and international development expert, the series is set in Ghana and follows the lives of five intelligent, sophisticated young women who return to their hometown of Accra after living abroad. 

I recently connected with Esosa E, one of the lead actresses, and we chatted about her involvement in the series and other topics. In addition to being an actress, Esosa is a writer, director, artist, fashion designer and vegan blogger (she’s also pursuing a master’s degree!). Her community of friends and collaborators spans the globe, so I asked for her perspective on what it means to be a global citizen – specifically, a global millennial. 

“Traveling and having the experience of being  ‘other’ [non-local] is so important, because you realize that wherever you are, I am that. I have a very clear understanding that anything that happens anywhere in the world can affect me, or is related to me. The Internet and the communication that happens nowadays also breaks down the idea that I can pretend I’m in my own little bubble. You become aware of the welfare of worldwide citizens.” 

Esosa also emphasized the importance of storytelling as a tool to create empathy and galvanize global communities around issues and goals.

“Storytelling is so powerful. It can change the way you see everything. For example, I was studying fashion design and had an epiphany: I was concerned with how different people, especially black people, were portrayed in the media. Globally and being part of the African Diaspora, there are so many stories that haven’t yet been told. I want to blow the roof off things and show different aspects of Africa and not continue to be stereotyped. I want to show humans. All sides.”

Esosa’s already-impressive body of work, combined with her future goal of founding a film studio that produces films that accurately depict all aspects of African culture make it obvious that she will have an impact on the world. 

So, I started this post by mentioning large-scale changes that might not be on the radar of some Americans. As a result of my conversation with Esosa, I came across one:

Nigeria is now the world’s 2nd largest film industry! Known as ‘Nollywood’, the film community in Nigeria recently surpassed Hollywood to land in the #2 spot behind India (Bollywood)! 

It’s yet another sign of the exciting growth that’s happening in Africa, which is home to 7 of the 10 fastest-growing economies in the world. Many African nations are also experiencing incredible population growth, which means that over one-third of the world’s population will be African by the year 2100!

There is a lot of activity in the world right now, and if we pay attention to the stories being told by new voices – like Esosa E and Nicole Amarteifio – we’ll become more aware of a new human narrative that is being crafted. It’s a good one. 

Coming up next: Interviews with two more global millennials, one of whom recently launched a project that could positively impact 200 million people. Seriously. 

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