Infrastructure Made in Africa : Ozwald Boateng A Designer’s Mission

With Italian luxury designers like Fendi rehabilitating the Trevi Fountain in Rome & creating a new era of cultural philanthropy  with other design houses like Deisel also leading the charge, can Oswald Boateng pioneer this same brand of CSR through cultural philanthropic projects in Ghana and the rest of Africa? Only time and the commitment of the haves of Africa to give back toward the collective good will tell.

I was 18 and not yet started on my quest to be a fashion designer when I, along with millions across the globe, watched Sir Bob Geldof
passionately implore a Live Aid crowd to “Give us your fooking money”… Since then I’ve watched with admiration as people like Bono have gone beyond the call of duty in a bid to fight poverty and raise awareness of the issues faced across Africa… So the tactics of the Live Aid generation have not been lost on me. But I believe the time has come to push things further. Now, as the African Union celebrates its 50th anniversary, it’s time for Africa and Africans to put away the begging bowl and start doing things for themselves… I am a proud man of Ghanaian descent and truly believe it is time for Africa to take its own lead, with support from the rest of the globe. We can’t go on relying on hand-outs, especially in times of austerity. Neither can we rely on millions of posters, however well meaning, showing our babies starving with flies in their eyes…READ MORE

Ozwald Boateng made a name for himself among elite designers in London’s Saville Row while pretty much hiding his African identity in his global branding, but now he’s looking beyond just fashion in claiming his African identity in branding the future of Africa globally. Boateng declares that it is time for Africa to believe in itself again because building a road so one can get to the next town to trade and make a living toward self sufficiency instead of aid dependency is not rocket science, but for far to long our vision has been impaired by the dusty roads of impoverishment, complacenecy and waiting for everything to be done for us through foreign investment . It is time for Africa to clean itself up and to show the world an even greater shine than it once knew during the era of independence when the wind of change came blowing through Africa!  #NewAfrica #FashionInfluenceInAffluence #FashionMakesChange

I am very proud of what Ozwald and so many others of our generation are doing to build Africa, not just in small talk, but in big works and bigger dreams of what will be! The Right Timing is Everything and the time is Surely Now! It takes a Village to Raise A Continent and its Nations…Forward Ever, Backward Never!

The infrastructure in Africa is really what’s holding Africa back,” fashion designer Ozwald Boateng told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. Boateng added: “The reality of it is that Africa’s not being able to take full advantage of its resources.” “We need to get Africa right for the rest of the world,” he warned.” READ MORE

Wake up, everybody, no more sleeping in bed!” The soulful acoustics of Grammy-award-winning R&B singer John Legend may be unfamiliar to the large group of African bankers watching him sing, but the message is loud and clear: “No more time for thinking; time for thinking ahead.”…. Legend and fellow African American music stars Akon, Mos Def and actor Isaiah Washington, alongside Senegalese singer and actor Youssou N’dour, are in Marrakech this week to back Ozwald Boateng’s project to attract investors to reform Africa’s crumbling infrastructure…Boateng, who made his name on Savile Row with his tailored men’s suits costing up to £20,000 apiece, says he aims to unite Africans in a common vision of transforming the continent’s roads, railways, ports and power supply…”This is the start of fully understanding what Africa can do for itself,” said Boateng, who assembled the wealthy to encourage philanthropic donations that could kick-start spending on new infrastructure projects…“The Chinese managed to build a railway across China; the Japanese have the bullet train – we need to get past thinking about why its difficult to create the roads and railways that Africa needs and just get on with it…This is the start of fully understanding what Africa can do for itself,” said Boateng, who assembled the wealthy to encourage philanthropic donations that could kick-start spending on new infrastructure projects.The Chinese managed to build a railway across China; the Japanese have the bullet train – we need to get past thinking about why its difficult to create the roads and railways that Africa needs and just get on with it… In 2009, there was $150bn available to spend, but no bankable infrastructure projects in Africa,” said George Brennan from the foundation. “These figures should make us angry – the problem is not the availability of funding but the fact that projects are not in a condition to be funded…”African Americans spend $1tn every year in their economy, but what do they spend on Africa? About 0.01%,” said Chris Cleverly, director of the Made in Africa foundation. “They have the wherewithal to make profound differences – personally, and by lobbying their pension funds, investment advisers and government to invest in Africa on the basis that it provides good returns…”It was China and India’s diasporas that developed them – it is the same with Africa’s now… But with so much focus on how private sector investors can make healthy returns by investing in Africa’s development, Mos Def, who recently changed his name to Yasiin Bey, said he hoped the involvement of celebrities in the projects would bring the soul back into meeting Africa’s needs….”There has never been a moment like this in the world before,” he said. “Africa is a place of tremendous history and energy, and there is a great opportunity for people – especially African Americans to transform its future. We just have to remove the pathology, and I am going to do what I can to get African Americans to invest in Africa…”But the idea that this is just a gold-rush on Africa is a major concern. Everyone wants to make money, but there is so much more at play. This is the cumulative effect of years of political activity, years of activism and grassroots work that have brought Africa to the position its in today.”… Bey added that the projects provided an opportunity to create a legacy “for the younger generations to leave things in some better shape than the way we found them… READ MORE