5 Most Inspirational TED Talks on the State of Africa

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Most people are aware of some of the many public health problems in Africa. For example, there are more than 300 million people in Africa who are defined as hungry or malnourished, according to a 2010 survey.

However, the truth in Africa is more complex than what we often learn in the Western media. If you are interested in learning the truth about the latest issues in Africa and possible solutions, an effective way to be informed is to watch TED talks. There are many highly informative talks on TED.com about Africa that will update date you on the social, economic and public health issues that involve the continent, and new ways we should approach the challenges there.

Five of the most inspirational TED talks on the state of Africa are listed below.

#1 Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: Want to Help Africa? Do Business Here

Many people are familiar with the negative stereotypes of Africa: famine, disease, public health problems, and corruption. However, according to the first finance minister in Nigeria, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, there also is a good deal of reform, economic growth and growing business opportunity happening in many parts of Africa. When she as finance minister in Nigeria in the early 2000s, she fought hard against corruption and made the finances of the country more transparent. She also worked hard to make reforms so that the economy of Nigeria was more receptive to foreign investment.

#2 Jacqueline Novograta: Invest in Africa’s Solutions

Many people are interested in helping to provide aid to Africa to fight public health problems, but the leader of Acumen Fund, a nonprofit that takes a business approach to improving public health issues, believes that a new approach is needed. Jacqueline Novogratz draws on her experience in banking, finance and philanthropy to provide new ways for entrepreneurs and various enterprises can help to solve water, housing and healthcare problems in Africa. With her market-oriented approaches, people interested in aiding Africa do not have to rely on traditional aid models anymore.

#3 David Damberger: What Happens When an NGO Admits Failure

Many international aid groups make the same mistakes every time. According to David Damberger, who has done a great deal of work with Engineers Without Borders, the development sector in Africa and other developing areas needs to publicly admit its mistakes, analyze them, and learn from their errors. Damberger had his own failure in a major engineering project on a public health problem in India. He used that failure to improve his future efforts in public health issues in local communities.

#4 Leslie Dodson: Don’t Misrepresent Africa

Reporter and researcher Leslie Dodson urges journalists, researchers and public health workers to stop talking about Africa as if it is one big disaster area. She points out that real narratives are much more complicated. The speaker has done a great deal of investigative reporting for CNN, Reuters and NBC. She also has worked in South Africa, Asia and Africa covering many economic and social issues.

#5 Andrew Mwenda: Taking a New Look at Africa

Journalist Andrew Mwenda enlightens listeners in this talk about how we need to reframe the African question. He encourages us to look beyond the endless stories of poverty, war and public health disasters to see the many opportunities that exist for creating wealth, happiness and good health on the continent. Mwenda is a famous journalist in print, radio and television, who is a very strong critic of many of the traditional forms of Western aid in Africa.

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