Shifting the Spotlight: Why Africa’s Homegrown Talent Deserves More Praise


The echo of Africa’s talents resounds globally, manifesting in awe-inspiring stories of individuals who redefine success across oceans. Consider Adewale Adeyemo, a Nigerian-born luminary in President Biden’s economic team, or the legions of African nurses who are indispensable in Europe’s healthcare systems. Their achievements are celebrated in international headlines, accolades streaming in from afar. Yet, there’s a poignant contrast when it comes to the recognition of such talents within their own African soils. Why is it that these stories of profound achievement often find louder applause internationally than at home?

Global Acclaim for African Pioneers

African professionals are making significant impacts worldwide, carving out niches in highly competitive arenas like technology, finance, and healthcare. They are heralded abroad for their contributions, embodying the potential and prowess of the continent’s human capital. This international acclaim is crucial—it highlights African professionals on global platforms, showcasing their skills and innovation. But it also underscores a deeper narrative about opportunity, mobility, and the pursuit of recognition.

The Local Disparity

Conversely, back on African soil, many such success stories remain undercelebrated. Local media often underreports the achievements of revolutionary educators, healthcare innovators, or tech entrepreneurs unless they gain recognition abroad first. This lack of local celebration stems partly from traditional media paradigms that prioritize international success stories, which are perceived as more newsworthy or prestigious. Additionally, the cultural tapestry of many African communities, which emphasizes seniority and loyalty over merit, often overshadows raw talent and innovation.

Cultural and Systemic Challenges

The cultural ethos in some parts of Africa, where one is advised not to ‘outshine the master,’ creates an environment where ambition is often muted, and conformity is rewarded. In both the public and private sectors, this mentality can stifle creativity and discourage the kind of risk-taking essential for innovation. Such dynamics are detrimental not just to individuals but to the broader entrepreneurial and creative ecosystems. As a mentor to burgeoning startups across the continent, I have observed many young entrepreneurs temper their ambitions to align with these unspoken rules, often to the detriment of their potential.

The Rise of New Media Champions

Despite these challenges, the narrative is gradually shifting, thanks to the efforts of new media and independent content creators. These platforms are championing the cause of local talents, highlighting stories of innovation and success within the continent. One of my favorites is  Wode Maya from Ghana (check him out). From social media influencers spotlighting local fashion designers to tech bloggers featuring home-grown startups, these channels are slowly but surely changing perceptions and showing that success is abundant and varied within Africa itself.

Institutional Support and the Path Forward

For a transformative impact, however, institutional support is paramount. A few forward-thinking governments and policy-makers are beginning to implement supportive measures—be it through funding, policy reforms, or creating innovation hubs—that encourage and nurture local talent. Educational systems are also pivoting, incorporating curricula that foster entrepreneurial thinking and innovation, preparing a generation that is both ambitious and well-equipped.


Africa is a continent bursting with potential, where every community, every city has local heroes whose innovations and achievements could inspire the next generation. It’s time these individuals received the same ovation at home that they get abroad. By refocusing our attention and resources, we can cultivate an environment that not only recognizes but also robustly supports and celebrates its brightest minds. Let us commit to nurturing this brilliance at home, empowering a future where African talent is recognized universally—cherished not only as exports but as local treasures shaping the continent’s destiny.

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