wealth creation strategies for the poor: an african perspective

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Wealth Creation Strategies for the Poor: An African Perspective Mandivamba Rukuni Director, Wisdom Afrika Leadership Academy Keynote address at the Round Table Conference on “Post-Crisis Zimbabwe: Towards Poverty Focused Reconstruction and Development” Organized by the Brooks World Poverty Institute Manchester University & University of Zimbabwe Held at the Wild Geese Lodge. 25-26 August 2009. Harare. Zimbabwe

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Mandivamba Rukuni provides a range of strategies to create and increase wealth in Africa with special focus on Zimbabwe. Presented at 'Moving Forward with Pro-poor Reconstruction in Zimbabwe' International Conference, Harare, Zimbabwe, (25 and 26 August 2009) where it was a keynote address.


  • 1. Wealth Creation Strategies for the Poor: An African Perspective Mandivamba Rukuni Director, Wisdom Afrika Leadership Academy Keynote address at the Round Table Conference on Post-Crisis Zimbabwe: Towards Poverty Focused Reconstruction and Development Organized by the Brooks World Poverty Institute Manchester University & University of Zimbabwe Held at the Wild Geese Lodge. 25-26 August 2009. Harare. Zimbabwe
  • 2. THE GENERAL THEORY ON AN AFRIKAN RENAISSANCE Defining the Problem Afrikan society declining in all major areas: Culture and Social life; Economics and Business; and Politics and Governance What is the highest order causal problem? No CULTURAL FOUNDATION to Modernization Strategies Foundation was STRONG FAMILIES and STRONG COMMUNITIES LACK OF CONFIDENCE!! The 3 major corrosive agents on Afrikan Culture & Confidence are: Organized Politics; Formal Education; Organized Religions
  • 3. THE GENERAL THEORY ON AN AFRIKAN RENAISSANCE Defining the Solution BE AFRIKAN -- Cultural renaissance for advancement of Afrikan Society Rebuild Strong Families and Strong Communities MODERNIZE not WESTERNIZE Propel Afrikans, and Afrikan culture into global impact Apply Afrikan Philosophies and Values locally globally in the 21st Century
  • 4. The Zimbabwe I want Culture Belief in education (quality and relevance) Hard work Saving and investment Collective responsibility Peace loving Society Strong families (looking after own orphans and elderly) Strong communities (capable of addressing most local issues)
  • 5. The Zimbabwe I want Business/Economics Small/medium family farms and businesses Small firms aggregating into large industries Heritage products Politics/Governance Highly decentralised Constitution clear on party values code of conduct Role to strengthen families and communities
  • 6. What is poverty? Physical poverty rely on things you do not produce produce things you do not rely on You are eroding your asset base Intellectual poverty You do not value nor leverage your own knowledge Spiritual poverty reduced sense of identity, belonging and self-worth
  • 7. Poverty is a lack of access to power Sources of Power Violence Organised ideology- politics, religion Money Knowledge Love
  • 8. Post-Conflict Zimbabwe Global Political Agreement (GPA) Western paradigm- dysfunctional relationship Afrikan paradigm- crafting a robust relationship Government of National Unity (GNU) Short Term Emergency Recovery Program (STERP) Government Clusters (Economic, Infrastructure, Social, Rights & Interests; Security) From STERP to Medium Term Planning
  • 9. Post Conflict Zimbabwe the burning issues National healing Framework Forgiveness versus truth Constitution Process content Land Audit, Tenure, compensation
  • 10. Food Security Poverty is the major cause of food insecurity; hunger; and malnutrition. major contributor to escalating land conflicts in Africa as well as environmental degradation. Economic development- long term solution to poverty But food insecurity in the short term, governments have to provide safety nets for the vulnerable groups. Zimbabwe needs to be food secure at three levels: household level; national level; and regional level. Food security defined as a balance between food availability on one hand and access to food on the other.
  • 11. Zimbabwe needs a comprehensive food security policy and strategy Food Availability Strategies: production; storage; Imports; and appropriate food aid Food access strategies should include: Livelihood strategies -capacity of poor to grow or purchase own food; income generating activities; food transfer programmes to vulnerable groups (e.g. supplemental feeding of school children and pregnant women at clinics); public works programmes such as food for work programmes.
  • 12. Agricultural Renaissance Economic growth- preceded/accompanied by solid agricultural growth. Paves way for broad-based economic development Zimbabwe cannot jump this stage of development As economy develops role of agriculture evolves But continues to be important and backbone at every stage Quality of life depends on forms of agriculture healthy nutrition, clean air and water, protection of nature.
  • 13. Role of agriculture in Economic Development Adequate & affordable food for increasing populations. Supply raw materials to growing and diversifying domestic industrial sectors. Releasing labor for the growing industrial sector. Enlarging the size of an effective market for the products Providing employment and livelihoods Domestic savings for investment and capital formation.
  • 14. Sustainable Rural development Premature Rural to Urban migration Most have no Jobs; housing; life and economic skills to be gainfully employed in urban areas. Urban poverty and decay increases: as the over-stretched infrastructure breeds ill health, crime and breakdown of family structures. Young adults migrate, draining rural areas of energy and creative force Majority rural but political power urban This rural-urban crisis decays both rural and urban areas Rural development in Africa requires investing in people where they are so that rural families and communities are part of the mainstream economy and enlightened society.
  • 15. Strategies for Sustainable Poverty Reduction Re-build SOCIAL CAPITAL Rebuild ECONOMIC CAPITAL
  • 16. Social Capital Invest directly into people Rural institutions and structures leadership and governance; active and responsive citizens Invest in people directly holistic and integrated education and public health. social and cultural investments building self-confidence & life skills The Poor have to believe- once again that they are the architects of their own history. as their ancestors before them, that they need not wait for Governments and Donors to save them from poverty, but that change will start with them. Any Poverty-reduction strategy has to be built on this belief. All poverty programs have to answer one over-arching question: How does this project build on the capacity and confidence of these poor people?
  • 17. CHARACTERISTICS OF SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE AND SOCIETIES High levels of CONFIDENCE Strong cultural and family background Self-belief and self-reliance Stamina BOLDNESS They can take calculated risks They do not hesitate High levels of SAVINGS and INVESTMENT AMBITION Set themselves high targets Think big, Think positive LEARN fast!! Challenge themselves Have fun A degree of CALLOUSNESS and/or RUTHLESSNESS
  • 18. How do you create wealth? Add value to what you have or what you produce Get your assets to work for you
  • 19. Wealth creating strategies at community level Build physical and biological assets (ABCD) Improved quality of trees, herbs, animals etc., roads, wells, grain bins, improved houses Circulate local products and services Family businesses Use extended family as business model local exchange of goods and services
  • 20. Wealth creation strategies at community level-- cont Refuse to be a dog Start own business, projects Do not work for someone else after a certain age Bequeath life and survival skills to your children Food production and preservation Home improvement Project management Transmute problems and challenges to business opportunities Cultural industries and cottage industries most lucrative business in future
  • 21. Wealth creation strategies at community level-- cont Family and community food security Availability of food determines ability to create new wealth Develop practical and holistic strategies Harvest and/or sell some product at each period in the year (as opposed to feast to famine syndrome)
  • 22. Modernize and secure traditional land tenure rights: Basket of Rights Use Transfer Exclude/include enforce
  • 23. Self-drive mindset- The sustainable answer to poverty Model tested in Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe In Zimbabwe tested in two sites: Mhakwe Ward in Chimanimani Masendu Ward in Bulilima
  • 24. Self-drive mindset: enables both individuals and communities to Find answers that lie from within Generate own plans and visions that articulate an attractive future. Self-organize to accomplish these plans and vision. Demonstrate the confidence to hold their own in interactions with peers and the powerful.
  • 25. Self-drive mindset: enables both individuals and communities to Ability to recognize and use opportunity and manage conflict and change. Change in self-understanding. Ability to initiate changes in deep-rooted traditional practices and beliefs. Ability to question and interrogate
  • 26. Self drive mindset Individuals and communities develop their capacity for self drive and civic participation taking initiative and engaging with outsiders. believe in themselves & their ability to shape the future driven by their own aspirations. They learn to think and act In integrative manner at local level in different, shared, aligned and comprehensive ways. These behaviors become reinforced as their actions create positive results.
  • 27. 3 levels of applying knowledge for transformation Level 1 - Improvement Change Level 2 - Intelligent Copying and Borrowing Change Level 3 - Self-Drive Mindset Change
  • 28. Level 1 - Improvement Change development of African rural communities by: Upgrading what they have indigenous and local systems Introducing grassroots community projects designed to achieve high impact and diffusion. Moving them to recognise and learn from their known achievements.
  • 29. Level 2 Change through Intelligent Copying and Borrowing Copying and borrowing from elsewhere what is useful to their communities Benchmarking to ensure intelligent borrowing from global systems, e.g. benchmarking best practices
  • 30. Level 3 - Self-Drive Mindset Change This level entails a paradigm shift for rural communities Courage to leap from the known into the discomfort of the unknown future The ability to see the world anew, so as to develop creative and innovative solutions
  • 31. Level 3 - Self-Drive Mindset CONT The self-confidence and reflection to accelerate the development of African communities The ability to develop revolutionary break through ideas on development challenges The ability to improvise and experiment with new development ideas to re-write the rules of human progress, thereby creating a new self-drive mindset/worldview
  • 32. THE KNOWLEDGE GAP IN AFRICA Africans no longer value own knowledge Knowledge substantial, but not explicit nor propagated widely. Therefore African knowledge not sufficiently recognized and valued at home or globally. Conspiracy of Silence indigenous and local people require a certain level of trust before sharing their knowledge Power relationships which are part of the struggle for development, can be changed by individuals and communities valuing their own knowledge and that of others.
  • 33. Knowledge gap Development knowledge remains oral remains informal, and insufficiently disseminated. As a consequence the voice and perspective of rural communities is insufficiently included in policymaking and planning. African communities need to be more strategic in making use of other systematic knowledge in order to compare, combine, and advance ideas.
  • 34. Feminine leadership is the highest form of leadership Women have more Wisdom, Spirit, Courage Women are the original educators & spiritual leaders Women rely on deeper forms of power Knowledge Love The humblest are ultimately the strongest
  • 35. How can Afrikan universities reinvent self? - some insights to keep in mind.. Small Family businesses is the way forward We need a rural middle class majority not urban working class majority We have to re-invent rural family education: culture, language, religion, business, politics and governance, etc We have to re-build self-drive and self-confidence back into the rural Afrikans
  • 36. Need for alternative education Formal education systems not relevant to society challenges and needs Irrelevant to ordinary peoples day to day lives. Holistic education is basically family and community education To develop the whole human being throughout their life.
  • 37. Barefoot holistic education Builds a person who is consciously and proudly Afrikan yet worldly. Focus on current societys realities, and engage with the desirable Afrikan society. Priority on individual, family, community. Learning becomes, once more, a way of life. learners lead a purposeful life all the time.
  • 38. Holistic barefoot education Learning to be human Learning to belong Learning to know and learning how to learn Learning to do Learning to live together Learning to create, recreate and to transform Learning to connect, interconnect Leads to: peace; prosperity; freedom; happiness; and love
  • 39. Barefoot holistic education The Model aims at modernizing Afrika, not Westernizing Afrika. The primary ingredient for successful learning is rebuilding self-confidence of Afrikans Confidence in their culture, historical heritage, as well as valuing their traditional knowledge.
  • 40. Barefoot education need for alternative education given the limitations of formal education Education for self discovery and self employment. Great employees because they are educated to; keep a positive attitude in life, and to be higher achievers, problem solvers, and generally self-motivated.
  • 41. Transforming Afrikan society from roots up Foundation curriculum: Learn how to: self-organize; mobilize self and others; create social capital; create wealth; Self-start, self-assess, self-correct; articulate; communicate, dialogue; negotiate; resolve conflicts; interrogate issues; challenge convention when necessary;
  • 42. Transforming Afrikan society from roots up Foundation curriculum: Learn how to: engage others; borrow knowledge and ideas intelligently; run and organize own affairs; manage family affairs; manage community affairs; be an effective community, national and global citizen; and work with and appreciate other cultures.
  • 43. Barefoot education is about CULTURAL REVIVAL FOR AFRICAS RENEWAL Culture is way of life with its beliefs, customs, and accepted ways of relating and working with others. So development is really about re-crafting culture to meet evolving needs and challenges. That is why there is need for cultural revival before we can achieve Afrikas renewal in a sustainable way.
  • 44. Barefoot education is a radical and revolutionary Restoring learning as a cultural process, learning as a way of life. Restore learning in mother tongue. No formal entry qualifications
  • 45. Barefoot education is about commitment Learners play major role in their learning processes. Learners expected to give back to their families and communities. They undertake several family and community projects. They also offer free time to help others in the family and community
  • 46. African Dilemma Does democracy lead to development? Or does development lead to democracy? What is the relationship between the two? Sacredness of property rights and free enterprise wont automatically function for democracy where majority do not have any property to defend So the question for Africa has always been: After attaining political freedom how do you convert this to economic freedom for our people?
  • 47. The African Legacy Africa will rebuild its society on the basis of its historical strength and reliance on family and community structures. Rural economic development will ultimately depend on strong and effective rural institutions and empowered communities. Issues of agriculture and natural resource management, therefore, are to be more firmly integrated into issues of politics, democracy, and good governance. Agricultural growth and the efficient management of natural resources depend on the political, legal and administrative capabilities of rural communities to determine their own future. Restoration of this power (participatory democracy) is translated into secure land rights, efficiently managed common property and resources, empowered rural people, particularly women, and strengthened rural economic institutions.
  • 48. The African Dream All Africans deserve to live in a country where there is abundant and affordable food, and that each African family has a home. These two components of the African Dream are a critical part of any African countrys comprehensive land reform policy. The practical implications of this is first that the policy has to be clear about how to attain food security and economic security by giving priority land access to the appropriate percentage of landholders who will deliver the economic part of the dream. Second is for the policy to have clear guidelines as to how the rest of citizens will access much smaller pieces of land for homes, both in urban and rural areas. This policy element should account for rural and urban landless and homeless; or potential landless and homeless.
  • 49. Going back in order to move forward Our ancestors were smarter than us We are here to make new history
  • 50. Modernize NOT Westernize You are all you have Answers lie from within The only truth is one you discover for yourself These are the highest values that create wealth
  • 51. Thank you to BWPI & Participants