VOICE OF LIBERTY: African Development should be built on Trade and Entrepreneurship Not Philanthropy ~ Alex Ndungu Njeru


Here is a post I did, as an antithesis to a post I came about "Where thou Oh African Philanthropists?" By a blogger who I most genuinely respect and with whom I went to school with. In his article my learned friend bemoaned the fact that African Business moguls were way over the top with an unfathomable pernicious greed. In his article he bemoaned the fact that African Entrepreneurs were philanthropically nascent and did not give as much as they ought to in his opinion.

Below is a transcript of the comments threadon his original article.

I will go with 'anonymous April 15 2012' let’s face it Africa needs more and more rich men and just a wee bit of philanthropy. Whereas we might allude to the fact that Bill Gates through his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation makes handsome donations to the African causes, does he really give back to the African continent and its people. Let’s do a little fact checker.


#1 Africa provides a very small percentage of Microsoft's global profits. #2 Microsoft is primarily a Software business, so no African Earth or African Village could, nor a single stone turned in the creation of a single Microsoft product.


Question? Does Microsoft or Bill Gates owe Africa, a dime or a thing?

In my humble opinion he does not. His is just a generous man who constantly chooses to identify with causes that are further apart from his world like heaven and earth.


The fact of the matter is that men and women in Africa's rich list have created empires in murky and feeble micro-economic and political environments.


What we need in Africa is not philanthropy but rather an evening out of the economic opportunities to all. The rule and equity of law is much more paramount than a few billionaires sharing some paltry fortunes with the poor.


Let us face Africa's men in the rich list create Value; Merali creates value in the Manufacturing business, he turns raw materials (none of which could have been useful to the African people) into things like Iron sheets, he employs a sizable number of employees, he contributes massively to the tax pool, Mike Adenuga creates value in the telecommunications business, his Glo provides competition to foreign telecommunication companies in Africa.


Let’s not chide our big men for giving more. Let’s chide ourselves for allowing our governments to continually enfeeble our capacities. Let us pinch ourselves for not being vigilant enough, for allowing corruption to incapacitate the ease of doing business in Africa. 

While I acquiesce that opinions and comments on random blogs does not in any sense make me an authority on matters of business in Africa, I for once believe it is time Africa’s dependency syndrome was cured, dependency on; the billionaire philanthropist, on the celebrity activist, on the foreign donor organization or on our own governments.


Kenya’s Alex Ndungu Njeru is an associate of African Liberty and a part of the Voice of Liberty Project

Africans must look away from saviours, argues Alex