Re-visioning Africa, 2022-32: A talk by Clifton Jones

On June 1, 2022, UNA Cardiff and District hosted Clifton Jones, who gave a fascinating talk on reshaping the future of the African continent over the next decade.

Amongst the key issues mentioned were the importance of getting past preconceptions of Africa, and the role of allocating resources in a manner conducive to stimulating political and economic development. In particular, Mr Jones was keen to dispel the notion that trying to encourage development in Africa is like “patching a broken bucket”.

Mr Jones then introduced the audience to some new terminology – “thermometers” and “thermostats”. A “thermometer” is someone who simply looks at the barriers to development in Africa and declares that the situation is bad. A “thermostat” is someone who looks at the barriers to development in Africa and tries to find effective solutions that will enable development to take place.

Mr Jones declared that his goal was to inspire people to think more like “thermostats” as opposed to “thermometers” with regard to issues facing the African continent in future.

Mr Jones spoke on the subject of NGOs in Africa, specifically about the fact that it seems as though little progress has been made in terms of fostering development over the decades, despite billions of dollars invested in well-intentioned projects. Addressing this issue, Mr Jones spoke knowledgeably and measuredly on the marked difference between “westernising” and “modernising” – a difference which, he claimed, was a large barrier to success.

Finally, Mr Jones talked extensively about the need to invest in African communities from the ground upwards, in order to foster and bolster organic development. He impressed upon the audience that communities need to be educated and trained to be able to hold themselves accountable for the ups and downs of the next economic cycle.

(Clifton Jones has a background of 20 years’ work in community support within the NGO sector, and several years as a business entrepreneur. He is passionate about collaboration, leadership development, and sustainability within communities. He is completing a postgraduate degree in Leadership Development at Trinity Western University, Canada. Clifton is a South African and spends his time networking with NGOs for social, mental health, and educational support, specifically for orphaned and vulnerable youth.)

Present were members of UNA Cardiff and District, WCIA, and the general public.

Are you a “thermostat”, bursting with new ideas, or even a “thermostat” in a “thermometer” outer shell waiting to emerge? If you would be interested in attending future events with WCIA and our partner organisations, take a look at our events calendar on our home page.