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Changing Africa’s extractive story

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Changing Africa’s extractive story
The extractive industry in Africa has not been telling a good story. Image credit: Leon Louw for WhyAfrica.

Changing Africa’s extractive story

Extractive sectors do not rank high on the most popular list amongst Millennials and Zoomers (Gen Z’s).

By Leon Louw owner of WhyAfrica and editor of the WhyAfrica magazine.

Natural resources have the potential to drive growth, development, and poverty reduction.

According to the World Bank the extractive industries sector plays a strong economic role in 63 countries. Many of these face challenges such as resource dependency and weak governance

In most contemporary narratives about climate change and societal ills, mining companies, large-scale farmers, mega infrastructure developers and fossil fuel projects are inevitably portrayed as the bad guys.

Changing Africa’s extractive story
To be part of the 2024 WhyAfrica Road Trip story send me an e-mail on leon@whyafrica.co.za

Changing Africa’s extractive story

And honestly speaking, extractive industries have not covered themselves in glory. Not only have they failed to monitor and evaluate their impacts and progress over the last 100 years. They’ve also not effectively communicated why they are indispensable in a world undergoing an immense transformation at all levels.

Furthermore, many companies have not been transparent. Worst still, they are hesitant to admit it, or to acknowledge that they have made mistakes like we all do. It’s human nature after all.

Admitting your mistakes is very important for Gen Z’s. They will forgive you only if you repent. Then they will expect you to fix the mess. If you do, they won’t hold it against you.

Most Gen Z’s want to make the world a better place and they will associate with people and companies doing the same. Before Millennial’s and Gen Z’s accepts a job, for example, they will do research and read up on a company’s ethics and values. Ethical considerations include human rights, the climate and environment, and an inclusive culture.

Most extractives have been ethical  

The irony is that 99% of companies have been ethical all along. However, somewhere along the line they’ve forsaken the art of communications and telling a story about their contribution to society, whether positive or negative.

The secret is credibility and trust, and you build that through being sincere and showing the world how honest you are. And then you can start telling your good news story.

The world’s mining companies, for example, are helping to feed communities across the world, they’re showing us how to embrace a low-carbon future and they’re providing raw materials for the energy transition, infrastructure development and consumer demand.

They have a good story to tell as long as they continue measuring their impact, good or bad.

Storytelling is the lifeblood of building bridges

In all this, storytelling remains central to bring about change. At WhyAfrica we realise that through telling real, honest stories, we can build bridges, bridge gaps, inspire action and let the world know what is really happening on-the-ground across Africa.

There’s not a better time to change the narrative, to alter preconceptions, and to tell the real African story than right now.

At WhyAfrica we realise that storytelling is not only a tool, but the lifeblood of our endeavours to reimagine Africa and to tell the world a new story, based on authenticity, trust and credibility.

So, as we get ready to depart on our third 45-day WhyAfrica Road Trip through South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi and Tanzania, continue following us and become part of the authentic African story.

Changing Africa’s extractive story
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Sectors

AgricultureEnvironmental Management & Climate ChangeEnergyESGInfrastructureMiningPolitical EconomyTourism and ConservationWater Management