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From Kerosene-Replacing Lamps to Female-Owned Design Studios

 - Oct 19, 2011
Many of the images, symbols and narratives that circulate in and around Africa (well, mostly around) don't pay respect to the positivity and humanity that belie the media construction of the continent. For one, Africa is so frequently dismissed as a country in prosaic conversations and political debates (Michele Bachmann, I'm talking to you). For the last time: Africa is not a country!

This top list of African social enterprises explores a different story -- a story not simply rooted in aid and dependence, but rather, a look at how community and fair trade can help to sustain livelihoods in Africa.

These African social enterprises conduct business in Ghana, Rwanda, Kenya and beyond, but they all have one thing in common: the good of Africa. From medicinal transport pods to fair trade coffee and cow-print cushions, these African social enterprises shed light on an emerging sector -- in the Western mainstream at least -- that relies on pre-existing values of community.