Time is a free important universal resource available to everybody regardless of age, location and status. It is an important resource because it’s prudent use amount to productivity. In the same wise, its poor use can make you less productive, inefficient and wasteful. Time is simply defined as the period in which all things happen, or the exact moment that something happens.

Time is measurable and as such can be used to assess activities and progress as well. The basic unit of time is the second, and each second count progresses into minutes, hours, days and ultimately our lifetime. In a previous article captioned time-bound, it was stated that life is a complex process of time (Lifetime) broken down into simpler phases of time.

Wise use of time is crucial to fulfilling our purpose and consciousness of this fact can make you intentionally plan and prioritize your use of time. Each second rightly used amount to the wise use of our life as the bible admonishes us to use our time discretely. 

“Take care then how you are living, not as unwise, but as wise; Making good use of the time, because the days are evil” (Eph 5:15-16-BBE).


Africa-time is a concept that depicts poor use of time and time management in many Africa settings. I don’t mean the various time zones in Africa such as West Africa Time, Central Africa time etc. It is an anti-punctuality concept and implies tardiness and a relaxed mindset with regards to the use of time. It is a certain kind of time culture that is practiced by  some Africans and  in other parts of the world due to conditioning or adjustment to set precedence. For instance, if a clinic is scheduled to open by 8am and close by 4pm, it implies the work hours is between 8am and 4pm. You decide to visit the clinic by 8am but may wait for an additional hour because one or more members of staff have not resumed work for the day. The same phenomenon ensues for most of the various organizations especially in the public and unorganized private sectors. You need to get a service done, the staff has not resumed, sometimes, the doors are yet to be opened though it’s past resumption time. Another instance of the African time concept can be observed in the startup time of events. For example, if the event is slated for 8am, those who observe the African-time concept will not commence the event by 8am and participants/guests will arrive much later than 8am because in their thoughts, the event will not kick off by 8am. In some social functions like a wedding for example, 12noon prompt is slated as the time to commence the event on the invitation card, though the celebrants and organizers know they aim to start at 2pm. The guests in turn will also aim at 2-3pm for attendance though they saw 12 noon on the invitation card. This is so because the African-time phenomenon has conditioned most people to consciously and unconsciously adjust to a pattern of tardiness. You may find yourself embracing this poor time culture because many a time, I have asked myself if a scheduled program will commence by the time stated. This kind of mindset can make you delay in your preparation and ultimately the time you show up for the event. More often than not, you will not be wrong in your judgment because the organizers will truly not commence as scheduled. The funny aspect of this African time culture is that it has become normal and doesn’t look like a wrong tradition.

Lateness is a symptom that reveals African culture as a non-precision based value management behavioural system. It is more inclined towards consumption than productivity and innovation, more wasteful than preserving. Of a surety, African-time affects us adversely and a readjustment to this trend is of utmost importance.


  • Economically: Tardiness affects productivity adversely unknown to us because it encourages sloppiness. Time well utilized produces value and its poor use translate to less value or achieving set goals in a longer time than you should ordinarily do. It also translates to the loss of finances and contributes to poverty due to time wastage. Time is a necessity for all economic activities and their resultant value. Superficially, it may not seem to you that you are wasting resource (time) and losing value when you practice African-time. It’s the seemingly seconds wasted that translate into minutes, hours and ultimately days wasted. 
  • Psychologically: Long waiting time can be emotionally disturbing for those who keep to time and it also affects their other plans for the day
  • Delayed performance
  • Waste and retardation
  • Lack of zeal and enthusiasm
  • A poor mindset to time management
  • Late closures of events

If you become conditioned to the concept of Africa-time, you will likely be late to

  • The office
  • An interview/Examination
  • To your worship centres
  • Conference or business meeting
  • Your business centres or for economic activities
  • Miss out some vital details of a conference or program that is beneficial to you
  • Keep others waiting
  • Achieving your set goals 
  • Fulfilling your life purpose


  1. The culture of lateness itself programs your mind to adjust to the practice, you don’t want to arrive at an event and be waiting a long time before they commence.
  2.  An attitude of laxity: Use of time spurs from the predisposing attitude of the individual. For instance, an attitude of sloppiness will make a woman give more time than necessary to look gorgeous for an event that will be resourceful to her development without recourse to the event itself or scheduled time. It’s okay to look gorgeous, but do so utilizing time wisely. 
  3. Interest: If the mindset is just to mark your presence, you may not be interested in being punctual, but attend at your pace. 
  4. Socioeconomic factors such as Inefficient transport facilities, accessibility and poor roads network could contribute indirectly.
  5.  Procrastination.
  6. Indiscipline.
  7. Poor time management skills


To manage this African-time concept, a few organizations put up sanctions for late coming such as a fine, to check members from defaulting punctuality rules. Others state explicitly on their adverts “no African- time”. If need be, remuneration should be based on the time or hours put to work, it will likely discourage laxity and enforce discipline.

Leaders at corporate levels and individuals must embrace self-discipline to use of time

There is a need for a paradigm shift, value rebirth and time culture redefinition. Mindsets and attitude must be towards punctuality, resourcefulness and productivity without being forced.


  • Wake up early and plan your day
  • Set goals, both long term and short term and deliberately work to actualize the goals.
  • Prioritize your use of time for more productive activities or events
  • Allot time to your daily plans or responsibilities as well as your set goals. Deliberately have a to-do list and don’t let the day amount to waste without achieving meaningful goals
  • Don’t get used to the Africa-time concept, deliberately detach yourself from its practice.


There is no doubt that some Africans are good time managers, but the phenomenon of African-time has been ingrained into her culture that it also affects the disposition of those who can manage time wisely. Tardiness does not apply solely to Africans but spans across the globe. The concept is lateness generally and not the fate of all Africans, but applies to all individuals that practice it. A reorientation is important and it begins with you and those you can influence to be good users of time.


Thank you for reading!



We especially appreciate the contributors to this article

Rev G.E Ikekhuah

Mrs M.E Ojo

Barr C.F Ikechukwu

Mrs O. Omorogiuwa