Boris Kodjoe On Why We Should Go ‘Full Circle’ Back To Africa
The inaugural Full Circle Africa Economic Conference (FCAEC) took place in Accra, Ghana, Dec. 28 and Dec. 29.
The importance of recognizing the culture and heritage of the country while bringing economic advancement is just one purpose of the conference, which is part of The Kodjoe Family Foundation, which Kodjoe started in 2019.
Through his organization, Kodjoe gathered international dignitaries, business leaders, activists, academics, and entertainment icons to join in this first Full Circle Africa Economic Conference to bring the people back home, so to speak, and allow the world to realize the opportunities available in Ghana and Africa.
Discussions addressed opportunities across the African continent, ranging from educational infrastructure to housing to sustainability and STEM.
“This year is the inaugural Full Circle Africa Economic Conference as we undertake a mind shift from charity and aid dependencies toward economic development opportunities and investing,” Kodjoe says. “Which is sort of the next frontier: entertainment industry, real estate infrastructure, tech. Africa represents 54 countries and a vast spectrum of potential opportunities. Now that the African Continental Free Trade area has been established, all countries can trade with each other without crazy tariffs or having to go through through European countries.”
Dignitaries like the CEO of African Leadership Group and Sand Technology, Fred Swaniker, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Nikole Hannah Jones, were among he conference’s speakers.
One of the most important things for Full Circle is to change the narrative that Africa doesn’t have a rich story or must rely on anyone else to function and/or grow and manufacture its resources.
“So taking control of our narrative means we need to be in control of telling our own stories,” Kodjoe says. “We need to be in control of developing, producing, and distributing our content to the world. And not letting somebody else tell our stories. That’s the first step to changing the narrative and changing our own stories; that’s very, very important. And I don’t care which sector you’re talking about. Manufacturing is another example where we have to take a bigger part of the value chain instead of letting our raw materials.
“Doing our own processing, our own manufacturing, and then, you know, exporting goods and services. Keeping, protecting, and powering, and keeping our talent on the continent and exporting goods and services is the goal. Rather than exporting our talent.”
Kodjoe feels there is a disconnect (with Black people) between the United States and our ancestry because our language and customs were taken from us. We need to reestablish a connection with our ancestry. Knowing where we came from while investing in Africa will help get the reconnection.
The Brown Sugar actor made it known that his calling is to empower people and to create an impact in the lives of as many people as he can.
“I think it’s my calling and my purpose,” he says. “To use my platform in order to create impact in order to touch as many people as I can in a positive way. So what you call giving back, I call stepping into my purpose and empowering those who haven’t been able to empower themselves.”