Focus on Africa

SIETAR Europa has just launched a new special interest group (SIG) on Africa. Initiated by Joe Kearns, who has worked with Cynthia Tilden-Machleidt and me to lead SIETAR’s SIG on Migration, this is a timely effort to put the spotlight on this fascinating continent.

For too long, cross-cultural research has shown most of Africa in grey, symbolizing lack of data but often simply a lack of even attempting to take Africa into consideration. Multinational companies used the geographic division EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Africa), treating a continent of 1.3 billion people – expected to double in population by 2050 – as an add-on to a dominant Europe. Is this continent just not important enough economically to warrant attention? What is our perception of Africa and what do we really know about today’s situation? Is it really a “lost continent” or a giant waiting to unleash its potential?

I look forward to more insights into the complexity of African cultures, see and participate in more research and events that focus on the continent, but above all I look forward to the African perspective from African voices. It’s time to listen.

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