Africa in Disruption by Candace Nkoth Bisseck

Jury, mentor, coach, guide, advisor to African entrepreneurs, aspiring African entrepreneurs in various programs in several countries on the continent, Candace Nkoth Bisseck has, beyond his cardinal love for Africa, a taste for sharing, especially when it comes to “practical ideas for actors and leaders investing in the creation of more diversified and inclusive organizations” . Recently invited by the Swiss organization Garret Motion Rolle Office, she expressed her joy in “sharing (her) knowledge acquired through (her) global experience, in (her) work by leveraging (her) leadership training and innovation as tools for inclusion and development as well as support for professionals from diverse backgrounds”.

A law graduate from the University of Yaoundé 2, Candace Nkoth Bisseck completed her studies with an MBA from ESSEC, a prestigious French business school that needs no introduction. What to open the doors of several opportunities: the management in Cameroon of the e-commerce startup which later became Jumia, collaboration with institutions related to United Nationsat the WTO and at different governments within the scope of digital as a lever for development, support for single women or women who are already professionals in large organizations or initiatives (eTrade for Women, l’oreal and Caterpillar) through his company Black Roses Mentors. This class journey, which is only in its infancy, earned him the 2017 prize McKinsey Next Generation Women Leaders and to be even more internationally recognized to the point of being selected by Stanford University to support, through the program Stanford Seedleaders of African SMEs from different sectors and help them develop their business through innovation.

A trajectory that makes this “African citizen of the world”, placing herself “at the intersection of digital entrepreneurship, professional support (consulting missions, coaching, and training) and international development, with a particular interest in the development of women”, an extremely sought-after speaker. Invited to the recent conference of the Moroccan Capital Market Authority on the sidelines of the 47e annual meeting of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), she spoke, alongside other speakers, on “the new African disruption”. On this theme, she confided in Point Afrique.

The Africa Point: In view of your observations, what internal disruption must Africa achieve in order to reconcile with itself politically, economically and socially?

Candace Nkoth Bisseck: In view of the observations, whether in my previous capacity as a business leader or in my consulting activities, I make several observations: Africans are educated, hardworking and creative. What I observe in particular in this phase of 4e industrial revolution is that it is not necessarily a focus on technology, skills, funding or even degrees that will move Africa forward. But, it’s really going to touch the subject that we never really touch, namely the state of mind and the militant beliefs of young Africans.

In view of my experience, it appeared to me that what most of the time prevents us from expressing the full potential of African talent on a global scale, it is precisely these militant beliefs, beliefs about what we have the right to do or not to do, but also in connection with the state of mind linked to the culture of origin, to the limitations created by the political situation in the different countries, to what we have said in their family and which sometimes goes back very far, and even to colonization. I feel that if we focus on solving mindset issues, digging into mental health and open-mindedness issues and having the courage to break some historical dynamics that don’t serve more, we can take a big leap.

So there is this question of state of mind that really matters, but also that of compassion. Let me explain. We are so distracted by the fact that we have been penalized by colonization and slavery that we even forget that, internally, we tend to lack compassion for each other. On the continent, racial dynamics, caste dynamics and social dynamics contribute to this. And it’s very difficult to go and revolutionize the world when you’re not united, when you don’t instinctively love each other with our possible differences. How much can we weigh in the face of humanity when, among ourselves, we grant ourselves a variable geometry importance according to our social condition, our caste or our skin color.

Finally, there is one last point which seems important to me and on which we do not insist enough. That’s all there is to representation and transmission. This involves the importance of having “role models” who are authentic in their work and who sincerely express what they want to do with their ideals. They will be able to inspire other Africans of the same generation, but also of a younger generation and lead them to change their state of mind.

So, in summary, you need to work on mindset, compassion, representation, and transmission to initiate meaningful internal disruption.

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Can we say that it almost takes a generational revolt to succeed in this disruption?

We need a soft generational revolt. This revolution will not go through arms but by touching hearts, touching minds and transforming them from within. It’s going to have to be a mass revolution, but a mass revolution in the sense of the wind that silently sweeps the yard, but still stirs the dust. Because it is necessary to dust off the limiting beliefs of trauma. Today, civil society and many private individuals must be engaged in this fight. I know this because I contribute to big initiatives, but also to small ones in this direction.

In my opinion, the real trigger will happen when leaders, governments and politicians have the courage and decide, in turn, to invest in the transformation of mindsets. It will take courage because it will potentially face the rejection of more enlightened people, old ways of leadership and work. It will also require making that sacrifice of investing in a better mindset for the next generation not for self-interest, but for more sustainable development and for the well-being of the community.

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Could this go through programs in schools?

It would be extraordinary for this to go through educational programs. Today, much of this is done at the margins by associations, foundations and private individuals. If the Ministry of Education, for example, decides, it could be at the heart of the programs. If in African programs we teach a lot about the Second World War, we see that we do not teach all aspects of history, including at the national level, because it is still a bit fresh, because we are not proud of the role of such a political leader, etc. Everything would change if governments had the courage to make changes in education. For example, to go beyond just learning to memorize or to do math and to receive an education that tells and tells the truth of history, an education that is mentally liberating. We have enormous potential in addition to our raw materials. It is around our strength, our creativity and our intellect. The only thing we lack is the transformation of our mindset.

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What disruptions do you think need to be made in Africa’s relationship with the rest of the world?

I have the feeling that from the moment when Africa will know and love each other better, from the moment when Africans will know each other better, they will have the courage to free themselves and will be more and better united. the ones with the others. And to love each other better is to love our poor people better, it is to love our rich people better, our blacks, our Arabs, etc. From then on, very naturally, we will have a different attitude towards the world. In fact, it happens like in the family context. When you come from a family where you feel loved by your father, by your mother, by your brothers, by your sisters, when you go to school, when you go to the neighborhood, you don’t have the same attitude than the child who is beaten, who is mistreated within his family. I feel that once Africa puts the well-being of the African first, not just on the surface by putting sustainable development goals on the cover, but by going deep and asking the question “What can I do so that the most vulnerable African citizen can still live with dignity and well-being”, the view of others will change and our view of others will also change, because we will have found dignity with us. We will no longer feel like second-class citizens on a global scale.

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You obviously have Africa in your heart and at heart. What Africa are you fighting for?

I fight for an Africa that lives its full potential. The African man is an extraordinary being, whether he lives in Africa or evolves in a diaspora environment, including that of African-Americans. It must indeed be remembered that in the United States, African Americans did not have access to swimming pools for many years. This did not prevent them from winning gold medals in international competitions. This shows how much the African man has the capacity to revolutionize the world despite the fact of having lived in the past under conditions of extreme oppression.

Personally, what I would like is for the African to really regain the central place he deserves on the world stage. We see sporadically how enormous its potential is, especially among those in the diaspora who are not subject to the same constraints as those on the continent. It would be good to see it on the continent itself, where we also want security, development and prosperity for all and not abundance for the richest and precariousness for the others. In short, I dream of an Africa that shines with its full potential, not only artistic and sporting, but also in terms of innovation and transformation of the outside world.

Can we say that you are fighting for an economically powerful and socially resilient Africa?

You could say that I am fighting for an Africa that is economically powerful and satisfactory for its most vulnerable citizens.

READ ALSO“We must let Africans make up their own minds”

Africa in Disruption by Candace Nkoth Bisseck