Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Fixing Africa - Aid People Never Governments


What is the cause of the consternation that exists in helping Africa find prosperity, the people are intelligent, the land rich, the climate excellent. It would seem that a constellation of resources and circumstances has emerged to produce the wealthiest continent earth, and yet Africa remains the poorest. Contrast most of Africa with Canada, my home, Canada is sparsely populated cold with a limited growing season. Canada is sending food to Africa’s people, when any objective assessment of bioclimatic realities would indicate it should be the other way round. Everybody knows the answer, Canada has been blessed with governance that in the main responds to the people and is relatively free of corruption. Often people bemoan the influence of the European colonization and its exploitation of Africa as the cause of Africa’s ills, if you witness the flow of Canada’s resources you might say Canada is exploited as well; once again making the point that governance influenced by the people generates good results for people over time. Once again everyone knows the answer to helping Africa find prosperity, we need to empower and envalue the people and circumvent inept and corrupt governance. The assertion that it will take time for governance to evolve in Africa is true, but having traveled that evolutions path, the west can accelerate the process.
There are many people screaming for FUNDS as though money poured into Africa is the solution. The present mode of aiding with money has had as many ill effects as it has had good. It is apparent that as more and more money flows through corrupt channels, those channels gain strength with the perverse effect of enriching the corrupt in a greater proportion than empowering the people requiring a hand up; exacerbating the negative situation. Additionally, as people in need are provided aid in the form of goods and services, often local channels for goods and services are disrupted or made permanently unviable by the requirement to compete with free goods and services; effecting dependence on the population. What’s required is that the population is put in situation where, by possessing resources, the African people attract goods and services to them. We have Viagra because there is a population able to pay for it; we are absent a drug for Malaria largely because the people who get Malaria have no money. If every citizen of Africa was a millionaire, we would be over there cutting their grass for $125 / hour.

MY PROFESSIONAL WEBSITE

In business we refer to a business reaching critical mass, the point at which a business has sufficient resources to fully capitalise on the opportunities a given environment provides. Poverty is a state of critical masslessness or depletion, where there are insufficient resources to respond to the opportunities a given environment provides. Often a company, when provided with a proportionally small amount of capital leavers that capital to generate exceptional results. Capital and knowledge combine to generate results, assuming there isn’t a corrupt official stealing the proceeds. As western economies evolved, the populace has become envalued, they have garnered the ability to accumulate sufficient wealth to attract goods and services. As the populace has become increasingly more prosperous creating goods and services they’ve attracted provide more goods and services; a virtuous cycle has emerged. There is strong support, as one views the various information sources related to the Africa situation, for priming the pump of human endeavour. For support to the population to be successful three things must be satisfied, resources must be isolated from corruption, the funds must be supported by information and funds must envalue people directly.

MY PROFESSIONAL WEBSITE

As is often the case, one lives so close to the solution it is difficult to see. Wireless technologies offer the opportunity to direct information and resources directly to people and circumvent government all together. Electronic currency is ubiquitous in our world now, as are the electronic means of exchange. Cell-phones can purchase food from a vending machine, and via the internet I can transfer funds from my to my daughters account. We take these developments for granted, but these developments dispersed to Africans, in a manner that tailors technology to the Africa circumstance, gives us the means to prime the pump of human endeavour in Africa by empowering the people’s action.

MY PROFESSIONAL WEBSITE

Imagine and electronic device, provided to people cast to the riggers of the environment, war and corruption, that would provide a means to receive a daily stipend directly circumventing corrupt officials, that would provide them with pertinent information on whereabouts of food, that would provide them with a secure means of exchange, that would provide them with means to safely accumulate money, that would provide them with reputation systems that put societal bullies at the people’s whim as opposed to the other way round, that would provide information peculiar to their given endeavour. This device exists now in so many forms, is it only a matter of consolidating technologies, developing a functional organizational model to build and deliver them, and garnering the appropriate support for the venture.

MY PROFESSIONAL WEBSITE

To appreciate the value of a device of this nature it is useful to imagine how it could be utilized by people in their daily lives. Consider an African mother going to a market in which the devices were utilized, she would interface with the various vendors by purchasing goods and transferring funds to their “device” electronically; she has no worry about her money being stolen as it is electronically “held”; her device is biometrically protected so it is useless in the hands of another person; if a corrupt office requests a bribe on her way home and compels her to transfer funds to his device, she can anonymously activate a reputation system that flags this transaction as a bribe, identifying the official and providing the contributing organization the ability to track the number of bribes a given official has taken and or reversing the transactions or engaging is some other corrective action; given that she is geo located regionally sensitive information can be directed to her perhaps on the best time and types of crop to plant; now that she has been envalued by having a secure source of funds services will travel to her, perhaps a vender with a $.99 aids test or some other medical service; now with a secure means to accumulate money she can accumulate the money her actions generate; now that she has a track record of having funds flowing in she can request a loan. This device then facilitates her life by; empowering and envaluing her; isolating her resources to her hence protecting them from others; helping to secure her ongoing existence as the only way others can access her daily resources is by her being there to distribute them; gives her the means to police her government by providing the means to record the actions of its officials. This is a device of empowerment, as it puts the entire panoply of modern technologies in accessible form, right in the hands of the world’s most vulnerable.   

MY PROFESSIONAL WEBSITE

Many people yearn to bring change to populations of Africa who are disadvantaged by circumstances largely created by dysfunctional institutions. Yet the solutions they turn to involve either creating more institutions who are hampered by the existing dysfunctional institutions or somehow trying to access the people through dysfunctional institutions. Clearly, a better course of action is to make institutions responsive to the people who need help. By creating a channel for information and resources to flow to people, regardless of the condition of the state, people become empowered. Rather than the government being given lump sums of money from international institutions, moneys are disbursed to their populations who can choose to support the government or not. Inherent in this approach is the strengthening of democratising forces and the ability for populations to pull services and governmental responsiveness to them.

MY PROFESSIONAL WEBSITE

This proposal of creatively utilising new technologies needs to be done on a massive enough scale to ensure that no individual state can influence its function. I envisage these devices functioning under a continent wide satellite umbrella. The devices themselves being broadly distributed for free to the populations. Once designed the manufacture of millions of them will drive their unit cost to very low levels. The free provision of this devices and the information and resources they will provide, will ensure immediate penetration of this technology. Now having considered the benefit and opportunity to democratise that the broad distribution of these devices would provide, one needs to consider an organisational model to deliver both the device and the supporting services.

MY PROFESSIONAL WEBSITE

Presently one of the challenges of the African aid landscape is the fractured response to societal challenges. Consider for a moment the millions of religious, NGO, corporate and government organizations, in good spirit, working to help the impoverished inhabitants of Africa. They are doing some good but, the duplication of service and effort costs valuable resources. The device based continent wide system being proposed here would provide a single unifying platform on which all organizations could facilitate their efforts on a common logistical substrate.

MY PROFESSIONAL WEBSITE

Jeffery Sacks suggests that the number for bringing the African continent on toward the rich worlds living standards is $125 Billion US annually. The challenge presently is there is an absence of an effective channel for those funds to be distributed. The device system proposed here provides such a channel. Given the proper development of the appropriate organization, the rich world would gain confidence enough to provide its support as the entire project has the focus of shifting all benefit away from governments and directly to the people.

The ability to circumvent state barriers has such great value, consider this proposal in the context of Zimbabwe. The world wants to help the people but the present government is corrupt and antagonistic to the aid process. Any aid the does arrive is either expropriated by the state or in some way shores up a corrupt state. Direct distribution of funds to the populace via an international organization or special purpose corporation managing this device based system provides the ability to access the population directly.

There is a broad requirement or aid in Africa, additionally this is thriving industry across the continent. The device system itself and the supporting satellite network offers opportunity for a revenue stream very likely sufficient is size to support the charitable components of the system. Charitable components of the system being the functional equipment and servicing of the that equipment. The description of all the possibilities for revenue for a system such of this is outside the scope to this letter, but when you consider a continent wide telecom linked to the world, opportunities for revenue are endless. We know that this model is viable as there are thousands of profitable services of this nature functioning the world over.

Technology really does hold the answers for liberating the impoverished of Africa, this simple service in collaboration NGOs, corporations and governments gives a direct and unencumbered channel to the people in need. In providing a direct flow of funds in conjunction with information, corruption is largely circumvented and people of little worth now will at least be valued at their stipend. Even the spending value of a modest stipend will cause the emergence of services from local and regional sources by inciting local entrepreneurs to respond to a new market, existing market systems will be enhanced rather than diminished. Perhaps most importantly, this system provides means (monetary, informational and communications) to people who are in extremely exploitable circumstances, turning the tables on oppressive or inept and corrupt governments, by truly making them accountable to people. When you look at the African situation from thirty thousand feet the present incoherence of the total aid effort is disheartening, as duplication and uncoordinated action steal valuable resources; the provision of a widespread device based distribution system provides a vital substrate for collective action on the part of the aid providers.                    
Post a Comment