[Posted Earlier on FaceBook]
The last day and half has been gloomy. Nothing to do with the weather or the sessions but I just cannot find the connection. My mind has been on a lot of issues and on nothing! One moment I am on a high about an idea and the next there is nothing I am thinking about and everything holds my attention while I take in nothing. I could stare with the most of interest and yet see nothing. I listen to everyone and yet heard nothing.
I hear beautiful music and yet heard no rhythm or lyrics and I have been wondering what is “wrong” with me? There are great people, greater ideas and even more noble causes here – those have been displayed, shared, and jubilated. However, I could not but feel my helplessness – lost in the fountain of innovation and networks.
I lost connection with the event as it turned out to be a big business competition for “social innovators” – ideas that target people and will help correct issues of unemployment, environment, and land-use among others. It was not about “empowering people and the do good. It was about how “business philanthropies” can contribute to social causes and still make money with an interest.
Then I learned that, the decision to support poor people by rich people is not about doing good but about profits. It was something I have known but being hit with the reality at that level was an awakening call and the fact that “there is no free lunch”.
My point, if any African government thinks it can get free money anywhere, it must re-think that philosophy. Civil society actors shouting about aid or no aid and the effectiveness of aid may as well just take a rest.
I have a plan to raise billions of dollars in months – charge an AU or ECOWAS or other regional levies on every in and out borne train, bus or air ticket to and from Africa. Multiply by the number of flights that come to the continent. However, before this, a stringent water-tight plan must be put in place on how the money will be distributed, for what and above all how to keep out kleptomaniac leader’s hands away from stealing from that fund.
Specifically, we could use proceeds from such fund to support youth employment initiatives, HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Education. Indeed, if we can do this, we will be able to a large extent extract ourselves from Western economic reliance. Maybe the continent will further save money on our globetrotting leaders going to beg and thus cut back on their carbon emissions among others.
The gross effect can be amazing.