In an exclusive interview with Today News Africa, former U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles Ray offered a hopeful take on the future of Africa and detailed what needs to be done to ensure that Africa grows to become a productive force in the world.
“There is a lot of potential in Africa,” said Ambassador Ray in his interview with correspondents Kristi Pelzel and Lindsey O’Neal.
The ambassador went on to explain the proper role of those outside of Africa, saying, “It is a continent with a global impact and the more we recognize that, the more it will embolden and empower people on the continent to recognize that so that they start to step up and do the things necessary to be a productive force in the world.”
Ambassador Ray explained that the sheer size and demographics of Africa makes it inevitable that the continent will be a force in the world, but we must take the rights steps to ensure that its impact is positive rather than deconstructive.
“We need to start taking the necessary actions to see that the demographic impact that Africa has on the world is positive,” said the ambassador.
He also spoke on Africa’s food crisis and particularly the sustainability and infrastructure issues facing Nigeria and said, “I’m an optimist. I think there’s always hope for better.”
Ambassador Ray explained that the incredibly diverse nature of Nigeria creates logistical challenges in creating a “policy framework that encourages people to invest.”
Nigeria, which has a population of 201 million, is home to 250 different ethnic groups, 574 federally recognized tribes, and over 520 languages.
The ambassador asserted that African countries are different from one another and each has its own respective reasons for why infrastructure development has been an ongoing issue.
He explained that “the pervasive corruption in many of these countries and poor political management… or the lack of political will to do something about it dissuades investors.”
Despite these challenges and obstacles, Former U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles Ray remains optimistic and dedicated to working toward maximizing Africa’s immense potential to grow as a productive force in the world.