Friday, 10 June 2016

Another Zambian-less List

Another list recently came out, and once again it is a Zambian-less one. Yaba. The list I am talking about is the Forbes Africa 30 under 30; this list reveals the most promising entrepreneurs from around the continent, across various sectors. Since no Zambian has made the list what does it mean? Does it mean that we have no potential in Zambia? Or are the people who came up with this list not aware that there are entrepreneurs here too? Or could it be, our entrepreneurs are not breaking as much ground that their peers in other countries are doing. Perhaps it is that Zambians do not like showing off that is why they are missing from the list? Whatever the reason it might be time we called an indaba and addressed this issue.

The Forbes Africa 30 under 30 had entrepreneurs from countries like Kenya, Nigeria, Madagascar, Tanzania, Benin, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and others. South Africa had five entrepreneurs on the list. FIVE. And we could not even have one Zambian on the list? This is serious bane. Perhaps you may help me understand what it is we are doing wrong, so that we can correct this abnormality. What is it that the other entrepreneurs are doing that we here in Zambia are not doing? We are all on the African continent, and we have challenges that are unique and some that are universal. What is the excuse for not even one person representing? Out of 30 entrepreneurs not even one made it.

This list is already out; there is not much I can do about it. So all I am left with is to come up with plausible explanations that will somewhat soothe my soul. I will start with the one that I deliberately choose to believe. Our entrepreneurs were too busy making money to make it on the list. There is so much to do and little time to do it. Too much money to be made and finding time to appear on a list is just not available.

The other explanation is that we are humble people. We do not like showing off what we do and in the same vein, we do not celebrate others who are shining. Why should we celebrate others, lest they become big headed? You know we hate proud people we Zambians. As a result, there is not much publicity for the local entrepreneurs. Perhaps it is time we should reconsider our humbleness and start shouting our successes from the mountain top.

I do not think the next reason if why we did not make the list, but I will put it anyway. I know it might be brutal to think about but there is nothing really WOW! about most entrepreneurs in Zambia. On the list, there is a gentleman from Sierra Leone called Kevin Doe who taught himself engineering and built a radio station from scrap. By the way, Kevin spoke at the TEDxLusaka event a few weeks ago. Now how many of our entrepreneurs are doing something fascinating, groundbreaking, trend setting or earth shattering. If you know of some individuals kindly bring them to my attention so that I can email the list to Forbes Africa.

There are a lot more reasons that I can think about, but my psychiatrist told me not to agitate myself too much so I must stop here. I hope Forbes Africa have a plan to search the length and breadth of Zambia next year to put someone on the list at least even one. Just in case they cannot find one, I know a gentleman who writes a blog, I think it starts with Diary of something.