After having worked as a logistics manager in Ethiopia in the 1970s, writing about a European NGO in Ethiopia for years, travelling the mostAfter having worked as a logistics manager in Ethiopia in the 1970s, writing about a European NGO in Ethiopia for years, travelling the most remote rural areas of this vast sub-Saharan country, visiting agricultural projects and conducting discussions with beneficiaries, I then published a book about how their lives have changed – mostly for the better*. My portraits were researched eight years ago. What has happened since then?
Alem, a rather quiet teenager in 2005, became one of the best marathon runners in her country. Tesfaye, a metal worker with a tiny business, became an important investor in small scale industries. Tefera, a wise farmer in his eighties living with his huge clan in the far northwest of Ethiopia, recently told me full of pride, that one of his great-granddaughters has just finished her PhD in political science (photo). Dhabo, eight years of age at the time and taking care of her younger siblings whilst her mother worked in the field, is now living in a students’ home in a nearby market place. In 2005 her dream was to become a teacher, actually the only profession she had ever heard of. Having had access to the internet for three years, she speaks perfect English. She is now determined to become a politician with the UN.
These are only few of the many success stories that encouraged me to found a start-up which I am naming THE NEW//AFRICA. It will be an online platform, a conference scheme and a yearbook connecting young professionals all over Africa with partners, mentors, and investors. We will go online in June 2013. TNA is about the chances, challenges and changes faced by the aspiring young generation of African women and men – all this so that they can bring their countries forward by using their own talent, know-how and skills.
Learn more here: www.facebook.com/TheNewAfrica
*Beate Wedekind: Nagaya. 25 reports from the rural areas of Ethiopia. Photos by Marcus Zumbansen, 2006, 300 pages. Ruetten & Loening (in German)