African can never be said to have truly risen, until rural communities are elevated to the position of urban areas with access to the utilities and resources that go hand in hand with twenty first century living. With that in mind, one of the perennial discussion points has always been, how people living in subsistence conditions can ever be able to create wealth.
Most members of the African diaspora, have limited direct knowledge of macro and micro economics and their impact on the business environment in Africa. What they do know and have direct or second hand experience of is how governments have made it harder or easier for people to create enterprises that flourish.
So how does the process of creating wealth from a single plot of land in sub-saharan Africa work, particularly rural communities? Here’s a slideshow by Zimbabwean illustrator Kudzai Max visualising the steps:
It is deliberately simplistic. It ignores the impact of the neccesity for soil knowledge, seed quality, access to water, good weather tools, markets, fertilizers in a world free of conflicts, all of which are very important to focus on the simple process.
Simplistic when you consider the Darwinian universe of the free market based on excess, greed and gratuitous consumption. African societies are hugely unequal, but no more so than anywhere else in the world. The difference in the West is that more people have a share in the wealth through access to employment, electricity, water, transportation, communications, food and leisure. The basics. Real wealth is still concentrated in a minority of people.
Africa seems to be one of the last places in the world where it is possible to get in on the bottom floor when it comes to wealth creation. There is so much need. So much to do, so much to build and create. So much opportunity for enterprise and investment. The competitive barriers are low, as is the cost of entry. But as always, the rules to wealth creation still apply. Avoid debt. Avoid excessive spending, borrow, beg, get things done for free and save. As ever, deferred gratification. Hard when there is so much pressure to be seen to have status!