By Landry Signé and Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
This year’s Black History Month is being celebrated with a higher sense of African pride, given the unprecedented enthusiasm generated by Marvel’s “Black Panther” last year and increased conversations about a better representation of minority groups.
“Wakanda”—a fictitious, prosperous, “futuristic, powerful, and proud African nation”—salutes black culture by “shedding light on black excellence.” After the movie’s release, many in black America—and across ethnicities—and around the world are wondering how to turn this fiction into reality.
During the hype of “Black Panther,” we both were giving talks on how to unlock Africa’s potential to African-American professionals, community, and business leaders. Many of them asked us how they could help make Africa as successful as the imaginary Wakanda. In other words, where are the opportunities to develop mutually beneficial relations between Africa, African Americans, and the United States?
We propose strategies focused on three themes: tourism in Africa; trade and investment in and with Africa; and knowledge, innovation, and technology sharing to improve U.S.-Africa relations.