maandag 28 februari 2011

The African innovation germ

Last sunday, I had the pleasure to attend a concert of Norwegian Tapas. The concert gave roam to 3 Norwegian performers (groups) in the field of Norwegian folk music and world music. One of them was the winner of the Norwegian folk contest 2009. His name is Kouame Sereba, born and grown up in Ivory Coast and now living for about 20 years in Norway. Apart from the true passion of this multi-instrumentalist (guitar, djembe, mouth harp (dodo) and singing), his story is a nice example of the innovation germ that is, although still underground, without doubt omni present in the African continent. Kouame left Ivory Coast as he was 19 and lived in different countries as Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Cameron, Central African Republic, Sudan, Egypt and Israel. In Israel, he got the feeling that the next step had to be a major change, so he left for Norway. Almost 20 years later, he plays an important role in the Norwegian Music scene.

Concerning entrepreneurship, this may count.

By collaboration with musicians , he mixes his Africanmusical roots with jazz, folk and other styles, resulting in a quite unique sound.

Concerning innovation potential, this may count too.

Now, what leads me to generalise his story and to say that there is an important innovation germ beneath the African soil? The mental flexibility of young African people will become their strength. It's just a matter of time until their mental strengths will be used for creation instead of only surviving. It asks "just" some visionary leaders to activate this potential. Now, it's sure that this mental switch will not happen tomorrow, nor next year (although recent evolutions in de the Mid-East were unpredictable last year as well). But, I'm pretty sure that Africa will be an economical growth hub within 10 to 20 years. Or do you really think that China is only present in Africa for raw materials? In the short term for sure, but I'm convinced that also a longer term vision is triggering China towards Africa.

Is Europe missing the boat?

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