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To Travel Africa is To See Africa Whole

A lot of our governments think the answer is foreign direct investment. It is not. Within the past few years, Black Travel has flourished globally due to the present generation of tech-savvy millennials, a rise in

Visiter l'Afrique - Namibia - © SpiritedPursuit.com

A lot of our governments think the answer is foreign direct investment. It is not.

Within the past few years, Black Travel has flourished globally due to the present generation of tech-savvy millennials, a rise in the level of income and education, and the power of social media. More than ever before, members of the young African Diaspora can be seen colorfully experiencing different cultures from Istanbul to London to Havana, and even Marrakesh.

According to the 2015 Africa Tourism Monitor report, a total of 65.3 million international tourists visited the Continent in 2014 compared to 17.4 million international tourists in 1990. The recent surge in Black Travel has significantly impacted the African Continent. More and more individuals are pushing the conventional boundary of tourism and experiencing Africa like never before. Moving beyond the pervasive media images of Africa as a place of violence and poverty, African Diaspora travelers are not only seeing Africa differently but are also rewriting the narrative through social media.

Twenty-four year old Cameroonian entrepreneur, Diane Audrey Ngako is one of the individuals at the forefront of creatively changing the face of African tourism. She is the founder of Visiter l’Afrique (visiterlafrique.com), an interactive and collaborative digital platform dedicated to tourism and culture throughout the African continent. With stunning and compelling visual images, the platform empowers travelers and citizens to beautifully tell the stories of their different experiences in a particular village, city or country.

Inspired by Diane and what she had accomplished, we caught up with her to gain more insight into her personal story.

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AA: What empowered you at such a young age to confidently pursue entrepreneurship?

Diane: Traveling around the world. Travel has changed me. I am not the same person I was when I graduated high school in 2009. Being on my own for months at a time has given me plenty of time to contemplate my life. It made me realize that life can be about doing things you love, and not just about the things you think you’re supposed to love. That’s my life today. I’m doing what I love. As an entrepreneur, I believe traveling makes me more successful. Traveling teaches me how to be more flexible, how to effectively manage my time, how to interact with foreign cultures, and of course, how to work with what I have.

AA: What are the advantages and disadvantages of starting your journey so early?

Diane: I started my life as an entrepreneur at the age of 20. And I would have to say that there were many advantages. The first advantage is the ability to be able to make your dream a success. This means a lot of hard work and dedication. Second, when we are young, we are able to take on more risks although with time you gain more wisdom on whether you have to take the risk or not.

The only disadvantage is my age. For me, age is just number. I know it’s cliché, but it’s so true. Although now more people are giving me credit, they are impressed by my hard work as journalist for Le Monde and my business.

Passion….vision…morals

AA: What 3 pieces of advice would you give aspiring young African female entrepreneurs?

Diane: First, you need to have passion, meaning loving and enjoying what you do. Second, you need to have vision. You don’t have to run before you walk. You can think big and start small like I’m doing with Visiter l’Afrique. Lastly, I believe in morals. I think that a good entrepreneur or leader has to be very ethical and transparent. As long you have these three things, you don’t have to worry.

AA: What is next for you at this point in your career?

Diane: Since 2012, I have traveled around Africa, and I have to say that I’m proud of how the continent has evolved in terms of leadership—the mindset of our leaders. This inspired me to move back to Cameroon this past July after living in France for over 10 years. As you may know, we have a huge issue in many African countries with unemployment. Unfortunately, a lot of our governments think the answer is direct foreign investment. It is not. I am developing a local advertising agency, Omenkart. With this company, I plan to hire smart and creative Africans and inspire them to be a part of the African dream.

Meeting Diane at Harvard was a wonderful experience and gave me tremendous hope for Africa’s future. She was fabulous, full of life, and extremely passionate about Africa. Diane’s work is powerfully representing the African continent that we all know and love. The Africa that we never see on TV. The Africa that we proudly call Home. For more information on Visiter l’Afrique, visit en.visiterlafrique.com.

<<Feature Image courtesy of SpiritedPursuit.com>>

Visiter en Photo

 

Zanzibar w/ @nazyxo | #visiterlafrique #Zanzibar #travel #Africa #voyage

A photo posted by @visiterlafrique on

Kenya w/ @amungathegreat | #visiterlafrique #Kenya #Travel #Voyage #Afrique

A photo posted by @visiterlafrique on

Burkina Faso w/ @lanitamargarita | #Visiterlafrique #BurkinaFaso #Africa #Travel #Voyage #Afrique

A photo posted by @visiterlafrique on

Marrakech w/ @camillespitz | #Morocco #visiterlafrique #voyage #afrique #travel #africa

A photo posted by @visiterlafrique on

Kanyinsola Obayan
Ithaca, New York – Kányinsọ́lá Ọbáyàn is a PhD Student in Africana Studies at Cornell University, where she is investigating questions of nationalism and postcoloniality; transnationalism, diaspora, and globalization in contemporary Nigeria. She is currently Deputy Editor of Applause Africa.
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