Creating a Better Africa (CBA) is a platform at the Pitcher Festival of Creativity that was launched in 2019, with the goal of mobilizing the private sector towards greater participation in development projects in Africa. It is founded on the core belief that although governments must continually be held accountable, only a massive intervention from the private sector can produce the kind of rapid developmental change that we all want to see in the African region.
During Creating a Better Africa programmes, salient issues pertaining to Africa are discussed with a view to delineating the collective role of the industry in providing sustainable solutions to those problems.
The Creating a Better Africa programme is designed for mid to senior level professionals with at least five years industry experience. Ideal participants are brands, agencies, digital companies, production companies, not-for-profit organizations, etc.
The CBA programme for this year took place online on the 24th of June 2020. It involved a panel discussion, titled Creativity to the Rescue: Raising Consciousness for Social and Environmental Problems. The panelists were Mr. Desmond Majekodunmi, Chairman of Lagos State Urban Forest & Animal Shelter Initiative (LUFASI), and Alero Balogun, Head of Corporate Communications, Oando Plc. The session was moderated by Rufai Oseni.
The discussion centered on climate change as it affects Africa. Mr. Desmond Majekodunmi strongly emphasized the need for increased consciousness of environmental problems, and the dramatically increased rate of animal extinction.
“Scientists are panicking,” he said. “They now realize that they were conservative about the tipping point. The road we’re on is not a sustainable road at all. We have to realize that this is a real, serious problem and not just science fiction.”
Meanwhile, Alero Balogun was of the opinion that Africa should be given a chance to industrialize, because to diversify the economy and produce clean energy, we would have to depend on revenues generated from oil and fossil fuels which are currently Africa’s biggest source of income. Only countries who have gotten to a certain level of industrialization can effectively carry out climate-friendly activities.
Alero however agreed that increased awareness for climate issues in Africa would go a long way in ending them, and that the best way of achieving increased awareness would be through mass education.
She said: “People need to be educated on what they should and should not be doing. But the government cannot do everything on its own. The private sector should also step in to teach individuals that we have an important role to play in ending climate change.”
In the same vein, Mr Desmond Majekodunmi recommended that since an overwhelming majority of Africans are religious, churches and mosques should be involved in raising consciousness on issues affecting our climate. He also acknowledged the importance of popular music in creating awareness on these issues, and motivating people to act.
The competition briefs for the Young Lions Competition and the second FCLA competition were also a part of the Creating a Better Africa initiative.
The Young Lions brief required participants to come up with a creative campaign that would galvanize individuals and private organizations to take action and contribute their quota in reviving Africa's failing healthcare systems.
The challenge for the brief read: "The International Finance Corporation, a part of the World Bank group on their website described healthcare in sub-Saharan Africa as the worst in the world...This situation is compounded by the behavior of the African elite who erroneously feel protected by their capacity to seek medical care in other parts of the world...What we want to do is to nudge the target audience and let them know they are not as safe as they think. Secondly, that what hurts one person can hurt all. And, thirdly they can do something with their voice or their money to change the situation. Please note that Creating a Better Africa is not against foreign medical treatment, but simply calling on individuals and the private sector to play a role in the development of Africa's healthcare services."
Meanwhile, the FCLA competition brief directed attention to educational marginalization in Africa.
It read: "According to UNICEF, one in every five of the world’s out-of-school children is in Nigeria and though primary education is officially free and compulsory, about 10.5 million of Nigerian children aged 5-14 years are not in school. The major reasons for education deprivation in Nigeria are poverty and cultural practices that discourage girls from acquiring formal education in Nigeria. In the most affected parts of northern Nigeria, up to 53.3% of girls are out of school."
The students were then required to create a powerful intervention idea that addresses the issues responsible for educational marginalization in Nigeria, and that will enable more children go to school.
See the responses to the brief here.