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General, Polictics, Technology

Leadership – rebranding Africa


“Helping Africa develop, and support itself in my view is extremely easy, extremely easy… and its such a surprise that there is nobody smart enough to do it yet, bothered enough to address it, yet. They claim to have degrees from Harvard, Yale, Oxford, CambridgeMIT, Insead..etc ..the list goes on, but look at their leadership initiatives,  just look at their schemes. I know we can argue this point till our hairs turn grey, but none of their projects have so far amounted to anything substantial/ sustainable? ”

It was the master, talking to Lellouche at lunch break about last nights Newsnight TV program. I went into work with them today. It doesn’t always happen, but when it does, its like a breath of fresh air.

“Yes, it was interesting the question, er,  how do you say his name, er, Paxman? ” replied Lellouche with a question, as the master shook his head approvingly.

“Yes, Jeremy Paxman, he shot down Andrew Mitchell, the minister with a single question:  How can you use tax payers money to pay 80 million to a guy who recently used 30 million to buy a private jet? Its insane!” He exclaimed, this time shaking his head disapprovingly. He then went on a rant, one that displayed his frustrations with both sides.

” Leadership is the first key, there are 5 or 6 important drivers, but leadership is the main key.  As institutions like Manchester University and The University of Nottingham have been doing, going boldly into China and Malaysia, let the goverment wake up, and instead of giving £150 million to some undiscipled leader, let them open Universities, which must be subsidized ( I mean, this is an effort to help develop a country on a massive scale, so why tax it). So go on to Tanzania, Kenya and Mozambique and the like, and employ UK qualified teachers / lecturers (paying local rents, taxes, etc) . They can be on 2 year fixed contracts in case they change their minds about living in Africa. Such academics can then begin training the next generation of leaders, manufacturers, industrialists, business men, bio-technologists, doctors and nurses, surgeons, physicists, etc. That way they are transferring useful and practical skills, creating employment, but also beginning a strategic creation of  sustainable initiatives, I mean every top tier university will sooner or later create spin-off companies that drive innovations/ develop technology, and before you know it there will be high density innovation zones developing and serving local business and the like…it has to start somewhere, and if local governments are incapable of starting it, then western governments have to take the higher moral ground here, and initiate the process. Its not going to be easy, its never been, look at the biggest economies and look at the price they had to pay. Its going to be hard and there will be situations where there are 30 or so spin-off companies with 28 bringing in less than £20,000 a year, but only 2 bringing in £5 million each..and that’s how it starts, not just micro-projects, thats what they should be looking for”

“Imagine if Yale opened a campus in Dar es Salaam or INSEAD in Mobasa” added Lellouche.

“It would be incredible, and definitely, without a doubt spark huge economic development, Oxford or Cambridge in Beira or Tete,  it may be bumpy at the start but before you know it it would catch on. In any case, there are excellent communication links, fantastic weather… cheap labour, low cost of living, a people crying out to be part of the global economy, what more does one in need in terms of pull factors.

Big Business can then begin supplying / donating equipment and expertise to these institutions, sponsoring research into for example developments of crops that are resistant to diseases, and parasites, etc, and using patent pools and other technology transfer initiatives green houses, game reserves, etc to preserve and re-invigorate the eco-system …yes GSK got that right, they can then train more people to administer the vaccines and the like. They can also try and work with organisations such as the Mo Ibrahim foundation to see how their projects can be replicated in other areas”

He paused, and seemed to be contemplating what he had just said. Lellouche finished his drink, a Stella, for lunch, quite a hard sell to his boss if it wasn’t for the Salad, but hey the weather was not always this good around these parts of the British isles.

“But there has to be good leadership first on the ground, which is what Bill Gates and all of them missed.  I disagree with Paxman that all governments are accountable to their people. Its not always like that out there, if he knows anything about African governments, he will know that many slowly stop giving a damn about their electors once in office, which is why foreign governments, private organizations/ institutions should take over.

Their commitment is not to the corrupt government, but to the forsaken population that is helpless. Its so called elected government is busy rooting itself concretely so as to make it impossible or at least extremely difficult to remove. Its people are poor and don’t have the financial resources to develop despite the corrupt government, and foreign donors keep throwing money at the corrupt government’s lip service department”

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