If you are like me, and are challenged by the African dilemma, you would probably have noticed that Africans are not inherently different from others and many indeed have excelled in their different pursuits in life. Yet, as a group, we remain virtually at the bottom of the ladder, any ladder, on the world stage. Edwards Deming, the father of the Quality Movement gives us an insight:
‘Any time the majority of people behave a particular way the majority of the time, the problem is not the people, the problem is in the system’.
Our race has not changed much because we have not identified the system at fault. God calls the system problem, ‘wrong belief’.
Africans and peoples of African descent have been so battered in the psyche that we have internalized the ‘wrong belief’ of being ‘less than’. Invariably, we have sought to break the ‘less than’ yoke by all means, including trampling over one another and plundering our collective wealth for self gain. Black lives may matter little to some but sadly even less to some of us too! Black on Black violence is higher than White on Black violence; at least the physical kind. It would seem that we have not cared so much about the collective as we have about self. But there is something bigger than self; community!
Community is the next challenge.
It the necessary next step to achieving the dream Dr. King very eloquently painted in our hearts and minds. To be sure, a lot has been gained since Dr. King’s day. A lot still remains to be done; the war on widespread poverty and the shame of our root. Perhaps the greater of the two is the healing of our psyche from the humiliating shame of our history till date and the stigma of our colored skin. There remains a disconnect between our hearts and our existential realities. Some may consider the gap between us and the other races as too wide to bridge in our lifetime or at any time for that matter, but that is nothing but unbelief. We have more than we need to pull us all out of reproach. We only need to harness our vast potential for synergy in the marketplace to create amazing wealth and heal our battered psyche. God says it is so, it must be so!!
Make the money work for you…
The process must be deliberate and it must begin NOW! It will start with the correct belief that every life matters, Black lives no less. It is about seeing value in people generally but beginning from our primary constituency; charity must begin at home.
There is a widely held perception that African people do not like themselves and hardly trade within their communities? According to an undocumented study, the Jews’ money circulates within their community about 17 times before it goes out. For whites, it is about 11-12 times; Asians, about 20 times and for Blacks it is only once, if at all. The dollars stays with the African for only 6 hours!!
This myth just shows perceptions about how notorious African consumers are but even worse, how our money never circulates long enough within our community to truly enrich us! Although a subjective premise, it is true that we do more business with others than we do with ourselves. That is very clear to us on the continent! Perhaps a rub off from our conflicted personalities! It is difficult to like your kind when you do not like yourself!! Poverty is dehumanizing and large scale poverty amongst any group will scar the collective psyche. To heal the wounds of shame and want, we must:
Make the money work for us all.
Europe, post Second World War, recovered quicker than expected because of the intentional engagement by the US through the Marshall Plan. It was an incisive and focused infusion of capital over a definite period of time, sustained thereafter by favorable trade terms. Unfortunately, Africa has been left to grapple with dubious ‘aid’, as the article below clearly shows:
Over the past 60 years at least $1 trillion of development-related aid has been transferred from rich countries to Africa. Yet real per-capita income today is lower than it was in the 1970s, and more than 50% of the population — over 350 million people — live on less than a dollar a day, a figure that has nearly doubled in two decades… Money from rich countries has trapped many African nations in a cycle of corruption, slower economic growth and poverty. Dambisa Mayo, Why Foreign Aid Is Hurting Africa, 2009.
Sadly, the situation in the African public space hasn’t changed much, since. The best solution to poverty has never been aid but investments. Intentional engagement by the African Diaspora can and will change the game!
Fifty one years ago, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King said as much to the African American community in his last public speech, ‘I’ve been to the Mountaintop’:
The American Negro collectively is richer than most nations of the world. We have an annual income of more than thirty billion dollars a year, which is more than all of the exports of the United States, and more than the national budget of Canada. Did you know that? That’s power right there, if we know how to pool it. We don’t have to argue with anybody. We don’t have to curse and go around acting bad with our words.
His words were re echoed recently by the Rev. Jasper Williams in his eulogy at Aretha Franklin’s funeral. Although he got a lot of flak for it, the truth is, now is the proper time, not only to do the needful within the African American community but indeed the African world. The economic power available to the African is enormous but the challenge remains ‘how to pool it’. Far too many of us are toiling to stay alive, working for money but God says to ‘make the money work for you’!
As at 2017, African Americans alone had an annual income of over $1.2 trillion!! Yes, you read it right; $1.2 tr.!!! Add to that the immigrant African Diaspora income, and you begin to get a clearer picture of what God means that we do not need to beg but simply make the money work for us! A fraction of that huge pool, as investments in the golden continent, would yield unbelievable returns for all, and pull Africans out of shame and want, in short time.
There are many foreign nationals working in Africa, some genuinely and others fraudulently, but most reaping huge and sometimes unbelievable profits. They are in Africa because the returns are good, not because they care; really. Some of these foreign investors’ practices, especially the multinationals, would make you weep; whether it is in the oil industry in Nigeria, Gold in Mali or Copper in Zambia, the stories are the same. Acts of omission or commission by local officials, for personal gain or from plain ignorance and apathy, resulting in unbelievable losses and misery to the locals! Our ‘benefactors’ exploit us then turn around to ‘patronize’ us! Now, it is China’s turn: same game, different players.
But where are the brothers and sisters with the trillion dollar income? With over 2.5 million African American businesses in the US alone, where are the African Diaspora owned businesses in Africa? That must be the change. There is money to be made in Africa but there is healing to be gained too! It is time to change the game!
Come and make the money work for you…in Africa!
There are pressing challenges for immediate attention, where we can make the money work for us all.
- Create a platform for online financial services that will allow Africans to access the trillions of dollars flowing in the ether.
- Sustainable power supply remains a huge challenge for most of Africa. In these days of renewable energy, that is a huge potential right there waiting to be exploited.
- Roads and transportation; land, sea and air are very lucrative sectors for investments too.
- Mechanized agriculture and agribusiness. This is a much talked about need now left increasingly to the Chinese.
- Basic manufacturing of everyday consumables remains nonexistent and a matter of quick gain for importers; most of them foreigners.
- Come help us set up universal health care insurance systems too.
(It is amazing that most African countries have not successfully adopted this very simple wealth building health care financing strategy. Universal health care insurance systems will rid Africa of the ugliness of preventable diseases and the unbelievable shame of stealing even the aid given to assist us out of the mess of perennial disease outbreaks. It is the way to create a pool of resources from all to meet the needs of the weakest and most vulnerable in the society. The UK NHS was initiated soon after the Second World War when many thought it was not only untenable but ill timed. Yet, the NHS is the largest employer in the UK today! It is POSSIBLE to replicate this noble initiative, given the right mind set; when we place proper value on our people.)
- Where it is not available, come help us set up ASAP, a stock exchange in every country.
It is one of the greatest secrets of wealth building. It permits individuals and corporate entities to passively ‘grow’ their monies while enabling businesses to expand and create more jobs, and wealth for all; drawing people out of poverty. It’s a win-win. It is a wonder that many African countries have not seen it fit to start one, no matter how small! Yet, Stock markets have been growing economies since their 12th century beginnings in Holland!
We must start now, dear Africans; and invest in your stock exchanges to address these identified needs and more!
Technical experts would have us believe that these are complex things to do; and that we are not ready for them. Usually they cite capacity gaps etc. We think the problem is more a lack of political will coupled with corruption. We have Africans at home and in the Diaspora, competent ones at that, who can help set up and finance these basic wealth building infrastructure. That is the call of the Aliyah.
It is a call to Africans and peoples of African descent to ‘go up’; to repair the breach in Alkebu-lan, ‘the mother of mankind’. The Jewish Aliyah was a call to Jews to ‘go up’, back to ‘Eretz Israel’; it is the ongoing return of Jewish human capital to rebuild the ‘promised land’. The driver was the persecutions suffered by Jews in different parts of the world and more importantly, the promise of God to restore His people to their land.
The African Aliyah, on the other hand, is the return of financial capital from the African Diaspora to rebuild a plundered and impoverished Africa. It is driven by the shame of a continent so blessed, yet so poor, and a people so energetic, yet so disorganized; so much so we are ridiculed almost as sub human! More importantly, it is our response to God’s call for African peoples, all over the world, to ‘make the money work’ for us all and heal the shame of our Root. Africa–Alkebu-lan in the oldest known local African language, is for all Africans, our Root, no matter our current location.
If the root is (un)holy, the fruit will be (un)holy.
It is a spiritual principle. No matter how well off you are, people will yet see you as ‘less than’ if yours are behind. And they will gladly remind you of where you came from, ala Trump; or judge you still by the color of your skin. It is 2018, and we have had to remind ourselves and others, over and again, that Black lives matter! We won’t need to if only we would heed God’s call to, make the money work for one and all, in thriving African communities all over the world. It is possible. Join us.
Caveat: No problem-mongering shall be entertained. There is no time to waste on the blame game, for these are the days of Nehemiah and we are “doing a great work, so that (we) cannot come down …” to the blame game.
- Register with us as a partner at: theAfricanAliyah.org
- Invest in Africa, the region with the highest rate of return on investments worldwide. Corruption may be a problem but corruption can be overwhelmed by massive investment funds that impact the peoples’ lives directly!
- Proclaim the prosperity of Africa and all peoples of color henceforth: We believe, and therefore speak’. We must do away with negatives.
- Share and implement practical ideas that will turn our continent around in the right direction within five years.
To all our leaders, old and young, in every sphere of influence, we offer the immortal insight of King David:
The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue…
If you are African or of African descent, or even a lover at heart, of God’s special people of color, let God speak by you, words of life and hope into the hearts of our people henceforth.
The Curse is broken indeed!!
Welcome to a new You, welcome to the African day