Recent trends in fashion, economics and social interaction have lead me to an interesting question, are African emigrants the evolved version of Russian sleeper agents? Through recent history we have seen a surge in African emigrants looking to make a better life for themselves in first world countries. The causation for emigrating from ones country of origin varies but the results are usually the same. Namely a large exportation of African culture, skill set & work force. This has inherently left the continent on its knees living of foreign aid and bread crumb profits from the sale of our raw materials. But could the exodus of African work force have been just what Africa needed catapulted it into a first world continent?

Africa is infamous for bad governance, corruption and its boot leg version of democracy. But no one has ever acknowledged that democracy is a very new concept to the continent. If we date back to pre-colonial times, African clans were monarchies and patriarchies. Then colonial powers came with colonialism masquerading as democracy. When independence came, African leaders had knowledge of how to run monarchies, patriarchies and colonies but no knowledge of how to run democratic countries; the corruption and looting were just a butterfly effect of previous practices.  As a disclaimer there are obviously other factors to deterioration of Africa like neo-colonialism, a mismatch between religions & culture, debt, environmental issues etc.

But where do the Sleeper agents come in?

Well, while Africans have been living abroad, they have been a sort of flag for the African continent, not only exporting their culture fashion and esoteric knowledge, but also learning about other cultures, practices, way of life and governmental processes. Their presence in the foreign world has been demystifying the image of the “Dark Continent” and for the first time in history it is fashionable to be African!  Anyone living abroad will tell you that. This being fashionable to be African has lead to a surge in investments in Africa and in the African people, the small but notable increase in infrastructure and an increase in industries that make finished goods with their very own raw materials.

We have also seen a rise in the number of foreign educated Africans returning to share their knowledge in business, politics and leisure. On a side note Africans that do not leave the continent have also been advancing in their respective fields and find new way to tackle problems, the combination of their knowledge and the migrants is sure to be a fire cracker to say the least.

So are Africans the new sleeper agents, quietly collecting foreign information in foreign in countries and sharing it with their own countries to gain a competitive edge? Like I said, it’s an interesting question.

Your thoughts?

Tanya Matanda is a Zimbabwean blogger, currently studying Communications in Canada

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