It’s easy to be an optimist in Africa: just take a walk and talk to ordinary people. Speak to a vendor on the street or an ordinary worker. Despite extraordinary odds, you will find people who still believe in the future and its possibilities. Even in the toughest economic and political times — such as what we are going through now with the double whammy of the Covid-19 pandemic and a collapsing economy — people still believe that we are at the bottom of the trough and will recover and thrive in the near future.

Don’t speak to Africa’s leaders, though. You will fall into a major depression and instantly become a pessimist. It’s not just what these "leaders" say but what they do daily that will get to you. After a period of great leadership and hope in the late 1990s to the early 2010s, the quality of African leadership has hit the skids again. In general, our leaders induce a sense of despair about the future. It’s not that they lie or anything like that. No. They are very hon...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now