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Dispelling the Five Myths About Africa

After five years of reporting across the African continent, journalist Scott Baldauf signs off by dispelling some of the dangerous myths he says are perpetuated by the Western press. 

What’s the Latest Development?

After five years reporting across Africa, Journalist Scott Baldauf signs off by dispelling some of the myths he believes are dangerously perpetuated by the Western press. Myth One: Africa is poor. In South Africa, while 65 percent of the population lives on $2.60 a day, the per capita income is $10,700. Myth Two: Africa is violent. Inner city crime in Africa pales in comparison to South American hubs like Mexico City and Rio. Myth Three: Africa needs our help. When the West offers aid money, it comes with too many (hypocritical) strings attached. 

What’s the Big Idea?

Baldauf sees in different African nations people capable of making real political and economic reform. That those people are typically not currently in power is not a testament against their abilities—history is replete with political and economic advancement achieved from within, says Baldauf. Myth Four: Africa is ‘backward’. New cellphone banking technologies are modernizing African economies in ways that Western countries have yet to obtain. Myth Five: Africa is a country. While anticolonial thinkers have opposed a ‘divide and conquer’ mentality by speaking of a pan-African identity, it simply doesn’t exist. 


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