Grandmothers and soap operas: Why Bill Gates is optimistic about Africa

By AT editor - 11 January 2017 at 7:27 am
Grandmothers and soap operas: Why Bill Gates is optimistic about Africa

Microsoft founder and global philanthropist Bill Gates decided to start off his 2017 “Gates Notes” blog with five reasons he’s optimistic about the coming year – and those five reasons, he says, are in Africa.

This week’s blog post has been getting a little buzz because Gates, it turns out, is a fan of “Rhythm City,” a popular South African soap opera that revolves around the music industry.

“You take a step into the lives of everyday South Africans who are dealing with the relationship and business issues you’d see anywhere in the world,” Gates wrote. “As the continent continues to develop and thrive, I predict we’ll see many other shows like this in other countries.”

Yet the Gates confession to being a fan boy isn’t the only reason on his list, or even the only cultural offering. The world’s richest man (at least right now) said he likes the Everyday Africa Instagram account for its rich offerings that go “beyond the lazy stereotypes” in compelling and creative storytelling.

He’s also hopeful because of grandmothers, he says, who are powerful agents for change on health and community issues, including newborn vaccination, prenatal care access and female genital mutilation (FGM) prevention.

Gates is a technology guy, though, so his Top Five list includes praise for affordable solar power kits that allow communities to access clean energy, and innovations in agriculture that are improving cassava yields.

Although 2016 was a tough year for many African economies, almost every trend on the continent has been moving in the right direction over the last decade,” Gates said.

“If you want to get a better picture of what African countries look like today and why I see the glass as more than half full, here are five things that make me more optimistic than ever about the continent.”

Image: Everyday Africa

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