Today, I have been honoured by Her Majesty The Queen with an MBE, and the irony of this won’t be lost on many of you who are aware of what I do.
I don’t vigorously promote Africa and build ties between the continent, her diaspora, and the UK to receive awards, honours, or recognition. I prefer to give out awards to those who are pioneering change across the African continent.
What I do I do for the love of my countries and my continents. I am particularly driven by a vision of an African continent that’s delivering for its people, and a people who are positively impacting on their communities.
I am just one of many whose work is focused on contributing to an Africa that we can all be proud of. In my case, this work began years ago and has been all consuming since. But I know where we could be heading as a continent and that’s what drives me to work tirelessly to create a better future for myself, my children, and those yet to be born. By 2026 – in just ten years’ time – Africa can be heralded globally as an economic, cultural, and technological superpower.
This is my work.
This is my passion.
This is #myafrica2026
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‘How times have changed!’ he thought as he felt the cold cuffs clasp around his wrists on a humid equatorial night in June 2026.
He knew he was in the wrong. And then he knew he was doubly wrong for trying to rectify his wrong with another wrong. ‘How times have changed!’ he thought to himself again as he sat in the police car now headed to the station.
Speeding. He’d just bought a new eco-friendly SUV, African made, beautiful crafted, packed with modern features. Having just won a multi-million dollar contract for his firm, it was a hard-earned gift to himself. The salesman at the showroom had rattled off acceleration speeds and top speeds and other impressive stats. It was his duty as a consumer to test his new car, right? The government had also recently completed a brand new highway. It was his duty to test this new road that his taxes had helped build, right? So with his speedometer climbing towards the heavens, his engine thundering, and his tyres spinning hypnotically, he was absorbed in a world of his own. Until he saw and then heard it – the flashing lights and wailing siren cocktail of inconvenience.
Luckily for him, he knew how the dance went. Ten years earlier, in 2016, when he was in his late teens, he remembered seeing his uncle hand an officer a wad of cash following a driving offence.
He knew the dance. What he had failed to notice was that the song had changed.
Successive governments had, from the top down, shown willpower and leadership in the fight against corruption to the point where bribing a police officer in 2026 was as smart as putting petrol into a diesel car. Now even the wealthy and powerful had to operate within the law. Political commitment, CCTV cameras, the rise in investigative journalism, and embarrassing court cases were just some of the factors that meant that judges, civil servants, the police, everyone thought twice before offering or accepting a bribe.
As he sat in the back of the police car, his initial disbelief gave way to an ironic smirk. Offering money used to get you out of trouble, but now offering money was a sure-fire way to get you into trouble. That humid June’s night in 2026, the patriot deep inside him nodded in approval. ‘How times have changed’.
Corruption denormalised. Law and order respected. Citizens with an embedded moral compass protected. That’s My Africa 2026.
Transparent processes meaning that the most able companies win the lucrative contracts, and the most qualified candidates land the jobs. What you know mattering more than who you know. That’s My Africa 2026.
Knowledge that is generated from within Africa, shared throughout the world, and used to improve local conditions. That’s My Africa 2026.
An enthusiastic medical student arrives at a village hospital to continue her training. On arrival at the maternity ward she is briefed and receives all the files she needs via App-ointment, a mobile app which securely stores all the medical records of patients, making them easily accessible and accurate at the point of need. It syncs with a scannable wristband patients are issued with on admission. She doesn’t know it, but the app, which had been rolled out to all hospitals and clinics across the region, was conceived and coded by two kids still in their teens.
She goes for a walk around the maternity ward, aided by a senior midwife who has worked at the same hospital for over twenty-five years. Whilst the ward has been renovated and refitted relatively recently, due to stories she’s been told about the state of the ward at the time that the senior midwife joined at the turn of the century, she could still sense the ghosts of yesteryear. She could still hear the cries of agony of hundreds of women whose nine months of anticipation only gave birth to a lifetime of unspeakable pain, were they themselves lucky enough to have survived.
As she walked around, she saw women grateful for their nation’s commitment to meeting its Sustainable Development Goals and reducing infant mortality; grateful to a succession of governments who invested in the future of their nation by investing in the facilities and institutions that would enable them to survive and thrive. The ghosts of past years could still be heard rattling within the walls of the ward, but so could the healthy cries of live babies.
The senior midwife discretely points to a young mother and child in the far corner of the ward. ‘That lady over there with the large afro who’s just given birth… I delivered her twenty-five years ago. She was one of my first. It was one of the hardest days of my life, because her mother didn’t make it. Now I’ve just delivered her own baby. When I handed her baby back to her, she couldn’t take her eyes off of her daughter. Tears were falling.’ It could only be because she had been able to look into the eyes of her healthy little princess and her daughter look back into hers, which was the most basic of bonds that she herself never got the chance to share with her own mother.’
In My Africa 2026, women are recognised as equal to men and have risen to positions of influence in all areas of life. Hillary Clinton has just finished her second term as president of the USA and, in her final visit to Africa as president, she had noted that Africa had a higher percentage of female heads of state than any other continent.
A continent that demonstrates strength in its diversity. A continent where whether you pray to the east or to your ancestors, whether you are beech or mahogany, whether you cook jollof with white, brown, or basmati rice, differences are respected and fuel education, collaboration, and innovation rather than conflict, distrust, and animosity.
Let the journalists who come to cover our elections, hoping to write their columns with the spilt blood of the wounded and deceased return back to their HQs with an empty page because yet another smooth election in Africa is frustratingly un-newsworthy.
Let the university students in London looking to get in a takeaway decide to ‘order in a Ghanaian’, because it was a better option than ordering in an Indian, Chinese, Italian, or Thai that night.
Let the continent be the first to balance socio-economic development without sacrificing the sense of community that has pulled the continent through countless moons of adversity.
Let us master prosperity, but without the pollution.
Let holidaymakers, trade partners, honeymooners, and school kids from all corners of the globe (including from other African countries, as visa-free intracontinental travel for Africans is now a thing!) replace NGO workers, employees of exploitative extractive companies, and aimless gap year students in My Africa 2026.
In order to achieve this vision of Africa within a decade, let us support those impassioned individuals and groups who are doing their bit to create the pieces to the jigsaw that will eventually depict the mighty, productive, and prosperous continent of Africa.
The projects initiated by young, dynamic, progressive, and positive-minded Africans both on the continent and in the diaspora may seem insignificant compared to the issues that our continent contends with today. These initiatives may seem sporadic. The people behind them may seem naïve, their ideas uncoordinated, or even spurious. But these are exactly the kind of minds that will catalyse change across all sectors of society.
As with many things in life, people only see the effects of change long after the work that brought about that change began.
Today, I have been honoured. But, the truth is, whilst I am deeply honoured, I was already honoured by virtue of being born to a continent that is an embarrassment of riches. When, by 2026, we are all able to proudly call Africa home and know that we ourselves have contributed to it being the powerhouse that we always knew it could be, the honour will truly be all ours.