The Future of Economic Transformation in Africa

The Dream for Agility in Africa
Aanu Gopald

The Dream for Agility in Africa

Today, I imagine a world where Scrum and other agile methods can propel Africa from an emerging continent to a world leader in business and agility; a giant that is fully roused. Her people will be first-class citizens. Imagine that girls in Africa could enjoy equal opportunities as boys: education, training, employment. Imagine that our governments were better equipped for strategic leadership and proper utilization of our vast resources. We would be on the highway of development, leading the nations in a blaze of glory. This is the Africa of my dream.

Decades ago, Africa was of little importance to the world, but this has recently changed. Today, Africa has become increasingly important to the global economy, holding an estimated 15 percent of the world’s energy resources and 60 percent of the world’s unused arable land.

In the last five years, the continent is growing in innovation and technology, birthing partnerships with huge fortune 500 organizations and global tech giants. These partnerships have given rise to the creation of the next generation of start-up companies, an emergence of tech hubs, resulting in new products, services, employment, and business advancement.

How Today’s Africa Differs from a Decade Ago

African companies now play an important role in bringing new thinking and new solutions that address many of the Africans’ endemic challenges, critical challenges for businesses, government and the citizens, and importantly, stimulating economic growth. Some of these companies, Access Bank PLC, Be Agile South Africa, Sterling Bank, and The Flying Doctors or Nigeria, participated and won prestigious awards at the World Agility Forum in Lisbon.

The Impact of Agility in Africa

As the first Black female African to become a Scrum Alliance Certified Agile Coach® (CTCSM/CECSM), my primary path is to inspire a movement that will transform the future of Africa through building a smarter generation of leaders who are focused on taking Africa toward the superhighway of progress.

And it’s much more than a dream; we are already making this happen.

In 2018, Agile Africa Alliance was launched, a community of agile professionals’ platforms aimed at connecting Africans with the global agile community, its resources, and mastery, and to facilitate the needed transformation that would sustain Africa’s economic growth. More than 1,000 Africans, and counting, have benefited from our programs.

In 2019, we founded Africa Agility, a nonprofit organization using agile methods for social good. Our staff, volunteers, and collaborators have expanded science, technology, engineering, and math programs in rural communities such as future city competition, hours of code using iterative and incremental development. In October 2020, amidst COVID pandemic and ENDSARs police brutality protest in Nigeria that took the lives of many youths, we launched the “girls in tech Africa — it is bigger than coding” Lagos edition. Our goal is to equip 1,000 unemployed female graduates with agile digital skills yearly in partnership with the state’s governments, Scrum Alliance, Agile Alliance, and other partners. One hundred girls were awarded the Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®) designatory after the two-day training. Some of the graduates are now techpreneurs, some are working in tech companies implementing Scrum/agile framework, and we are still seeking internship/job opportunities for others. We have partnered with Boston University Agile Innovation Lab, L.E.A.F. org, and regional provinces across Africa to disrupt the continent's education system, for example, by embedding Scrum in school curriculums. Together with our partners, we are unlocking the incredible potential of the people that will shape the future of Africa (Youth).

We are also the force behind the 2021 Regional Scrum Gathering Nigeria, the first-ever in West Africa. I believe the agile mindset, and Scrum, in particular, can accelerate African innovation and professional opportunities. I believe that the same mindset can solve the wicked problems my fellow Africans struggle with, including hunger, inaccessible education, women’s disempowerment, and inequity.

Meanwhile, we are seeing historic interest in social and professional equity for black professionals across the western world. At the same time Black Lives Matter is a call to economic and social equality in the USA, Latin America, and Europe, so too are African citizens embracing their own opportunity, on a global scale. 

Related Article: Interview with the first Black Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST®), Devon Morris

The Future of Agility in Africa

Right now, Africa is still trailing behind not just in the adoption but embracing the agile mindset compared to other continents in the world. The result of the 14th State of Agile Report shows that only 2 percent of the respondents came from Africa. But here is the good news: In the next two decades, the world is expected to see more changes, digital transformation, and innovation in Africa than any other continent in the world.

Disruptive Change for Africa and the World 

The continent is open for disruptive change. Africa is a fertile nesting ground for the global market. This is the time for our generation to bring positive disruptions to this continent. I believe this vision will position Africa as one of the emerging agile continents in the world in the future.

About the Author

Aanu Gopald CEC, ORSCC

Aanu’s professional career has been dedicated to positively impacting and transforming lives and organizations through her work as a transformation coach, trainer, speaker, philanthropist, entrepreneurship, and investment in building next-gen leaders. 


Related Article: Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion


Stay Connected

Get the latest resources from Scrum Alliance delivered straight to your inbox