The African continent is ripe with potential. Hosting 54 countries and 1.3 billion lives, it’s deliciously diverse and bursting with talent that the world needs to get ready for. 

Despite this, the continent cannot shake its status as a place of poverty; a status (and reality) that the continent did not ask for. Africa deserves to shine, and her most urgent issues  — that include experiencing the worst of the climate crisis, lack of empowerment of her women and girls, and food insecurity — need to be solved immediately in order for poverty to slide out of her DMs once and for all.

How do we block poverty from Africa’s inbox? The answer is: together, as a movement. Movement is not only a word that describes a collective of people working towards a similar goal, it also describes action — and at Global Citizen, we know a thing or two about action. 

We are a movement of action-takers dedicated to creating lasting change, and what brings us together is the urge within us to call for a shift from where we are currently as a society, to a place where poverty no longer exists. 

Africa calls for a movement of her own people, but also of people beyond her borders with the capacity to defend and uplift her, to band together and urge world leaders to do what’s needed to end poverty NOW. 

That is why we’re hosting Global Citizen Festival: Accra, which builds upon Global Citizen's continued expansion of our pan-African movement. At the festival world leaders, activists, artists, and Global Citizens will come together to take action and make commitments to advance policies for girls, for the planet, and to create change on the African continent. 

These are the actions you can take with us ahead of Global Citizen Festival (i.e. right now!) to help call for the empowerment of Africa NOW. 

Climate Action

Africa’s contribution to the climate crisis is minuscule compared to western countries, the continent is responsible for the least carbon emissions in the world (just 3-4%), and yet it is faced with some of the biggest blows that the crisis has to give. 

Not only that, but the continent is still being exploited by major oil companies for the natural resources it has to give — this includes Total’s plan to plant an oil pipeline across East Africa,  Canadian company ReconAfrica planning major oil explorations in The Okavango River Basin, as well as Shell’s plan (which was thankfully foiled) to exploit South Africa’s west coast for its natural resources. 

Climate action needs to be taken now to protect the African continent from being exploited, and to also help Africa’s countries adapt to climate change. Here are four actions you can take right now to help. 

Women & Girls

It should be frightening to everyone, everywhere that we live in a world where gender equality has yet to be achieved — in fact, we’re still about 300 years away

Not one country in the world can claim that they have conquered gender equality, and Africa’s women and girls are often left behind. The COVID-19 pandemic took them out of school and knocked their employment opportunities; conflict across the continent has exposed them to atrocities that include human rights abuses and gender-based violence; and even in parliament where they are to be recognised as leaders, Africa’s women face abuse. 

As such, we are calling for the empowerment of Africa’s women and girls, to provide them with the resources they need to overcome the adversities they face due to gender inequality. Here’s how you can take action for Africa’s girls and women. 

Civic Advocacy

It takes deep bravery to stand up for your own rights, but an even more powerful courage to defend the rights of others. Activists and advocates around the world do it every day, and Africa’s rights defenders, as many are around the world, are exposed to real threats against their lives and livelihoods for standing up for what they believe in. 

Zimbabwe’s Hopewell Chin’Ono was sent to jail for exposing corruption in his country that was deepening inequalities and extending the state of poverty. South African climate activist Fikile Ntshangase was killed after raising concerns about a coal plant in her community. Tanzanian human rights activist, Tito Magoti has been in jail for over two years, with no direct reason for  his arrest in 2019. Activists like these need to be protected, and here’s how you can act right now to help support activists and advocates in Africa:

Food & Hunger

The burdens of conflict, climate change, and the COVID-19 pandemic have meant that hunger rates on the African continent have increased — resulting in the worst food crisis on the continent since 2017, with 346 million people facing severe food insecurity

Not to mention the cost of staple foods like wheat and cereals, which are used by entities like the World Food Programme to alleviate hunger and were previously imported from Ukraine, have significantly increased due to Russia’s war in Ukraine. 

Take these actions to help avert a continental food crisis:

Global Citizen Festival is calling on world leaders, corporations, and philanthropists to do more than they’ve ever done before to End Extreme Poverty NOW. Through our global campaign and with stages in two iconic locations — NYC’s Central Park and Accra’s Black Star Square — we will unite leaders, artists, activists, and Global Citizens around the world on Sept. 24 to achieve an ambitious policy agenda focused on empowering girls and women, taking climate action, breaking systemic barriers, and lifting up activists and advocates. Wherever you are in the world, you can join the campaign and take action right now by downloading the Global Citizen app.


Demand Equity

8 Actions Global Citizens Across Africa Can Take Right Now

By Khanyi Mlaba