Why are some people opposed to black empowerment policies?

AfricanGirl

When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they said to His disciples, “Why is He eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners?” 17And hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

– Mark 2 : 16 – 17

I’ve often been perplexed by the vehement opposition with which some people have against black empowerment policies. It’s quite strange since those policies are infact an attempt to remedy the clearly unacceptable situation where in countries like South Africa, the majority of the wealth is owned and controlled by a tiny white minority, while millions of black South Africans go by with too little.

And it’s not only in South Africa where this problem exists. Instead in most parts of Africa, we have a situation whether a tiny elite of individuals, businesses and corporations owns disproportionately huge amounts of resources, whereas the native population has very little in comparison. In the United States policies that embody what some call ‘positive discrimination’, for example Affirmative action,  have for decades attracted widespread and unfair criticsm. Having spent some time studying the views and opinions of people who are against Black Economic Empowerment (BEE),  I think I now understand their position more clearly, including the deep flaws in their arguments.

Racist

Over the last couple of years I’ve read opinions for and against BEE.  I’ve been both entertained and shocked, but in boths instances marvelled at the passion or lack of nuance in some of the attitudes in this space. Among the most common accusations against BEE is the cheap and totally lazy accusation that BEE policies are racist.

But hang on a moment….when you have millions of people in South Africa, and hundreds of millions of people across the African continent, who as a result of racist ideas such as Colonialism, Slavery (over hundreds of years), discriminatory and in some cases highly questionable if not altogether racist policies of western institutions, live with poverty and struggle to get by each day, failing to improve their lives, how can you be taken seriously when you attack such countries / leaders for trying to reverse the consequences of European racist Ideology?? How dishonest is that? If you agree that colonialism and slavery were wrong, then surely you should by implication also agree that those who have been affected by the long-term effects of these toxic ideologies deserve a helping hand to enable them to be financially independent. It’s only equitable.

But often these critics don’t suggest anything better that will have real tangible effects (provide affordable housing to people on incomes that are so low they cannot afford house prices unaided at the current levels;  create well-paying jobs to people who were previously unemployed, and unable to get a job; enable loans to be extended to people with bad credit histories – who would otherwise be unable to get loans elsewhere, etc), but are very good at ignoring the history that has created the deprivation in the first place.

Further, if after decades the disparities we see in society today continue to linger (and in some cases they have increased), are you saying the situation that is failing to rectify itself, and indeed can’t rectify itself without intervention- should be left just as it is?

If thats what they propose, then in whose interest and benefit will such be? If you ask me certainly not in the interest of black Africans who are the people who need help here.

And so you really have to wonder why these critics are making those accusations  when they have got no workable alternative idea to offer?

Wasteful

Another flimsy but entirely predictable accusation that is often levelled against the state in regards to BEE policies is that they are inefficient; that they suck up too many resources, for very little return. In essence these critics are applying well known business principles of investment and return to a social cause that is not readily measured in numbers. If a family is happy that they now have a new home, which is safe, and does not leak like their old house in the ghetto, how can you translate that into a mathematical or financial equation? It’s not possible, yet that happiness and safety is a legitimate measure of success of the initiative.

The rationale behind the accusation of wastefulness is rather questionable if not outright elitist. Think about it; when colonial governments across Africa acted in the interests of European countries alone, to extract huge amounts of resources from colonised lands for the benefit of Kingdoms and the Aristocracy in Europe, to build their cities and sustain their economies, forsaking even basic investment in healthcare, job creation, infrastructure, education, social services, the general well-being and economic advancement of the indigenous populations across the African or Carribean colonies, is it really that big a transgression for African countries to begin spending money on their people (who historically were maligned for hundreds of years)? What is so bad with aiding people who are unable to afford decent housing get good homes? Or helping low income workers get well-paying jobs- which their forefathers were prohibited from holding?

It will cause them to be lazy is the often the insensitive response you get from critics of BEE policies. But that’s not entirely accurate because by improving their lives you are also helping them be  in a position where they can take advantage of certain opportunities which they couldn’t previously be able to take advantage of. For example, if I now have a safe house to live in, with a refrigerator, I may want to start a business selling cold soft drinks in my neighbourhood – something which I wouldn’t be able to readily do in my old shack in the slums. I have electricity, so my children will be able to stay up late and use the lights at night to read books, and hopefully get better grades in school (books which they borrow from the newly built Library down the road – when previously they had to walk over 3 miles to get to a Library). They will be better protected from the elements – reducing the likelihood of disease, especially since that now I have better sanitation… Overall, there will be a great and immeasurable improvement to our lives.

What all this is, is spending money that the predecessors of these African governments (colonial and apartheid governments) should have spent on the indigenous populations decades ago, but which they didn’t spend for all sorts of reasons….

I mean, is it really such a bad thing for African countries to decide to achieve genuine economic equality? … when you have so much poverty and want across the continent…

OpenSewer-Nairobi
A boy sits near an open sewer in Kibera slum, Nairobi // Source: Wikipedia

The way I see it, if there had been fairness, and if throughout history black populations were treated humanely, and in the same way as white populations, with no systematic bias or ideological repression of one kind or another, there would be no need for BEE policies today, because the income disparities would not exist. The only reason we have BEE policies is because there is an unacceptable problem that was created throughout history, that in many countries still remains, and that urgently needs to be rectified.

Like the first accusation, those who attack BEE policies with the wasteful accusation fail to understand the real benefits these policies have on poor people. They too won’t suggest anything better that would achieve real results.

Here, please allow me to digress: I seem to see this pattern operating in the world today; that any leader of a non western country, who stands up to the global financial oligarchy, and who bravely begins ambitious Social  Policies to improve the lives of the poor people in  his or her country, almost always becomes the victim of vilification and attacks from the western media and the Bretton Woods institutions, who ignore all the good he or she has done. Two years asgo, soon after Hugo Chavez died, I overheard one member of my family saying to someone over the phone that Chavez was a bad man. After the phone conversation ended, I asked her how  she arrived at such a conclusion, and she recited back pretty much all the drivel that was written about him on the pages of newspapers such as the Times and the Guardian. Biased and one-sided tosh. When I explained to her  in detail what Hugo Chavez had actually achieved for the millions of people in his country, from the perspective of some of the people who had benefitted – the stories of which I had read, she could only muster a very feeble I didn’t know that…

Corrupt

This one is the loudest accusation, but like the other two, it also is not entirely accurate. Critics of BEE policies claim that the adminstration of BEE funds often becomes mirred in corruption. That institutions mandated to administer BEE funds become channels through which party officials and other corrupt types siphon state funds, and that there is widespread corruption involved in the process.

The question which those who throw this accusation fail to answer is why is the corruption happening in the first place?  Is it that there are too many Africans who are so deprived that when suddenly exposed to money, many embezzle funds? How much of that corruption is down to foreign companies paying bribes to gain business?

I’m not giving excuses for the corruption, but I think it’s important to ask the question what is at the root of such corruption?

In the UK for example, throughout the years there have been many corruption scandals (most recently the MP’s expenses scandal) which have thus far disappeared into the archives of history – it’s as if they never happened in the first place. It’s the same scenario in the US, Canada, Australia, Israel, Brazil, India…in all these countries with established democracies, politicians and people with close ties to politicians have been prosecuted, fined or even jailed for corrupt conduct of one type or another. Yet we don’t hear of it often partly because in some of these countries corruption (which still happens) was more widespread many  years ago than it is now, and the scandals occur further and further apart. Therefore,  on this basis alone, and considering that many African countries have been independent for little over 60 years, it is not crazy to surmise that the corruption  we see in Africa today, not only that said to be happening within BEE initiatives but across the board, must be understood as glitches in the developmental phases happening on the continent, just like the developed countries of today also had their dark days (when corruption was rife), during the early days of their representative democracy.

Opponents of BEE would thus be better advised to use their energies and precious time not in the vain and pointless exercise of shooting down policies that will help millions of black people, but to find ways of curbing the corruption most decent people are against- so that those policies are strengthened, and achieve better outcomes….

After all, we all want equality, don’t we ….? 🙂

In the next article on this topic, I will attempt to address the accusation of incompetence (whereby some critics claim that black Africans are unable to run or be in control of successful and profitable businesses rendering certain aspects of BEE policies harmful to business). I’ll also conclude by stating what I think to be the real reasons behind these accusations.

Addressing the roots of Economic Disparities

afr

 I choose to write about these things because the plight of my people is tied to historical events which most of them do not know about. We are poor today, but how did we become poor. Have we always been poor? Were we created poor? Did evolution design that we would be poor? What happened before the here and now? Every one of them needs to know the unadulterated truth. Unbiased. Pure. I pray to the creator of the heavens and the earth that one day they will know such a truth…and I’ve made it my mission to make sure that as many as are interested, do get to know the truth.

“Sometimes history needs a push.”  — Vladimir Lenin

For the powerful, crimes are those that others commit.” ― Noam Chomsky, Imperial Ambitions: Conversations on the Post-9/11 World

“The best way to predict your future is to create it” ― Abraham Lincoln

I began writing this article over a year ago, and I’m so glad I dithered. Because between then and now, a number of events took place which prompted people who are probably better placed than myself to delve into the debate on inequality, armed with better evidence and statistics.

Firstly we have Suzanne Moore writing for the guardian in an article titled Inequality isn’t inevitable, it’s engineered. That’s how the 1% have taken over in which she says:

 ‘Most wealth, though, is not earned: huge assets, often inherited, simply get bigger not because the individuals who own them are super talented, but because structures are in place to ensure this happens.’

This view is echoed by  Laura Sullivan, Tatjana Meschede, Lars Dietrich, & Thomas Shapiro of the Institute on Assets and Social Policy at Brandeis University, who co-authored a report with Amy Traub, Catherine Ruetschlin & Tamara Draut of Demos, a public policy organization. The report titled The Racial Wealth Gap (neatly summarised by this article on Forbes here) which looks at the racial wealth gap in the United States says:

“The racial wealth gap is reinforced by federal policies that largely operate to increase wealth for those who already possess significant assets,” wrote the authors, noting that more than half of the $400 billion in annual federal asset-building subsidies, such to promote homeownership retirement savings, economic investment and access to college, flow to the wealthiest 5% of taxpaying households. The bottom 60% of taxpayers receive only 4% of these benefits.

It’s main findings include:

‘..in 2011 the median white household had $111,146 in wealth holdings, compared to just $7,113 for the median Black household and $8,348 for the median Latino household…’
‘…While 73 percent of white households owned their own homes in 2011, only 47 percent of Latinos and 45 percent of Blacks were homeowners…’

‘…in 2011, the median white household had an income of $50,400 a year compared to just $32,028 for Blacks and $36,840 for Latinos. Black and Latino households also see less of a return than white households on the income they earn: for every $1 in wealth that accrues to median Black households associated with a higher income, median white households accrue $4.06 …’

If the world’s largest economy can have such debilitating inequality, it wouldn’t be surprising at all if data emerged that showed that the problem is far worse elsewhere?

Allow me please to get satirical by introducing a new character from an old YouTube clip by Stan (Warning: Very strong language):

Ignoring Stan’s annoying robotic accent – which reminds me of the adobe acrobat text-to-voice reader – I was struck by just how blatantly forthright his assertions (or allegations if you like) are. But what’s my point with all this:-

1. Inequality and Poverty is engineered.
mndlaNelson Mandela said so, when he said

“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.”

And it doesn’t matter if you live in Tanzania, Togo, Brooklyn or in a refugee camp in South Sudan. If political leaders across the world wanted to, they could act to combat inequality. Unfortunately they don’t because:-
–Selfish Interests
— Ignorance. There are leaders of countries, and of black communities who were raised to believe they have to be subservient to white supremacy.
— Some of these leaders are afraid of upsetting big business, which funds their political parties
— Among those who genuinely want to orchestrate change for the masses, for the poor, such as Elizabeth Warren in the US, and say Julius Malema in South Africa, you will find that most of these leaders do not have the resources to create an alternative on their own.

2. Religion has been a debilitating cancer upon people of African origin.

If you have been following commentary on African troubles, the chances are you couldn’t have missed this one. Not only have many of the wars that have divided communities which previously lived harmoniously alongside each other been religious in nature (Muslim vs Christian), religion has driven adherents into poverty, allowed systematic and unchecked exploitation of resources by nonreligious often white minorities while the religious majority suffered, praying and believing for salvation or help from some messiah or deity.
I think this picture is much more pronounced in Africa than anywhere else on the globe. It has caused genocides, created poverty that has led to the death of millions of people. It has impeded scientific and personal development, entrenched ignorance and encouraged misinformation.
Religion has created pockets of powerful and extremely wealthy but irresponsible elites living in proximity to extremely poor and vulnerable populations that are tossed about by every wind of ideology, by one heist after another, but which are incapable of successfully challenging the elites;
Religion has created extremism (the likes of Joseph Kony) extremist groups (Boko Haram, Al Shabab) claiming to be fronting some religious line, but who are in all manner and form terrorists bent on terrorism using brutal tactics that instill fear in those who disagree with them.
Religion has also created a dependency culture, where you don’t work hard enough, ‘because God will provide‘, where people say ‘its not by my own strength but by the Lord
And I do agree that whether you believe in a god or not, the paintings of the white Christ (which interestingly have been shown to be historically inaccurate – see here and here) are not exactly confidence-instilling stuff to the undiscerning African youth.
But I’m not saying that there have been no positives to having a faith, no that’s not what I’m saying.
What I’m saying is that it is idiotic for a people who by even the least anthropological research are one, be it in Nigeria, Sudan, Central African Republic, Uganda or Somalia to fight, kill and displace each other from homes and family, in their millions, because one’s pilgrimage is to Mecca, while the other faces Rome or Jerusalem. Its stupidity of the highest order!
If you need more convincing Consider these two articles here and here

3. Africans and black people have for long been made to believe (directly and indirectly) that they are inferior or at least not as good as white people.

The most honest and unbiased books on the subject include Peter Fryer’s Aspects of British Black History and Staying Power: The History of Black People in Britain.
DSC_0001_20This assertion is not only false but inherently racist. As I tried to explain here and here, and as my colleague clarified here, this inferiority was invented.
Growing up in Malawi, a deeply religious country, one of the most annoying things I often heard was that ‘Mzungu ndi wa Nzeru‘ (the White man is Clever). I heard it everywhere! From friends, family, even domestic servants used to mention it. They’d say the statement when marvelling at something which they believed to be a western creation (to these people everything fantastic had been made by a white man – and obviously they didn’t know about innovations by non-caucasian people). No doubt they got this message somewhere, someone must have told them that ‘Mzungu ndi wa Nzeru‘?
Fortunately, my immediate family didn’t succumb to this kind of confidence-diminishing tosh. While my family were religious, they knew better and did not subscribe to this racist line. Instead, I was told by my immediate family that my father had been a very intelligent man, and that in our family we were extremely capable.
That if there were people who could do it, it was us.
I was told that no one had failed among my siblings in my father’s family. That if I failed, I would be the first one to do so, and my failure would be a huge disgrace to our whole family, and I would be the object of shame. I was told that my father would be extremely disappointed in me if I didn’t do well. So, from the word go, the pressure was on. I had to perform, there was no other option.
However way you want to interpret this kind of embellished encouragement, the result was that academically, I did very well, won two scholarships and was consistently in the top four of my classes.
My point here is that ideology that shaped western societies has been somewhat dishonest about the mental faculties of black and African people. And too little has been done to correct this anomaly.

4. Both historical and present events have created severe economic disparities between White and Non white people.

Unfair Advantage. That’s the real cause of the Racial Wealth Gap report I refer to above. You will find that this term Unfair Advantage is avoided or sugar-coated in discussions about poverty. When a writer brings it up, it’s often pushed under the carpet.
But it is unmistakably true; the actions of Europeans (and recently the US) throughout the last 500 or more years have given them an unfair advantage over others. And this unfair advantage translates into immense wealth for a significant section of white families, and poverty for the majority of non-white families.
As an example how this wealth trickles, I know a lady in Nottingham, whose husband is the 5th generation owner of their house. The house has been in their family for over 100 years.
But how many people from ethnic minority groups across the UK (or even in the US) have had a property be passed down through the family for over 100 years? Further what percentage of the wealth derived from colonial proceeds have trickled into white families today?

But is it really historical, this inequality?

Economists Graziella Bertocchi & Arcangelo Dimico writing on The historical roots of inequality, on VOX CEPR’s Policy Portal say that:

.. we turn to the impact of slavery on current income disparities and we find that it is indeed associated with a higher degree of income inequality. In other words, former slave counties are more unequal in the present day. They also show a higher poverty rate and a higher degree of racial inequality. Moreover, the data say that the impact of slavery on economic inequality and poverty runs through its impact on racial inequality, and not vice versa.’

So how do you fix it?

Well, as I wrote here, almost 2 years ago now, what should help are a combination of fixes including addressing educational outcomes for black and ethnic minorities. This also means changing the way black people have been taught, with a message that empowers.

You cannot have an empowered black population without a decent level of education that deconstructs the negative stereotypes. And while we are on this topic, giving black people handouts or free money will not help without addressing some of the other problems. Giving them preference in the form of positive discrimination on its own is also unlikely to go very far.

5. There are people who don’t want things to change. Who depend on systems within law that negatively affect black people and ethnic minorities more than they do white people.

Systematic Discrimination. Repression of Black, African and ethnic people. My observations based on a small sample of people I know, and others I’ve read about is that it doesn’t make a difference where you live. Black and African people have been victims of the system.

Whatever the real intentions of that system, the effect has been the same: Subjugation and dispossession leading to debt, poverty and all the associated ills….including bad credit histories, which affects their ability to get loans, which in turn affects their abilities to start businesses and be independent. A perfect storm.

As an example, read this, titled Trillion Dollar Scandal, and tell me how such a thing could be happening in the 21 century? Yet strictly speaking, not all form of siphoning money from developing countries are a crime. So the question becomes who made the rules that allows such plunder to be legal?

6. Black and African people are generally terrible at organising themselves

Again most of the people affected know this, but it’s not thought about any deeper than to accept the situation. Which sounds a bit like: ‘I know I’m disorganised, but what can I do about it’
It’s accepted as the way things are, a permanent disposition than cannot be changed. And when you take this to a community, organisational or even personal level it’s even worse.
In the UK, I’ve been deeply disappointed by some of the African businesses I’ve conducted trade with:-
— the Shipping company that said they would come on a Monday to pick up a consignment but turned up three weeks later on a Friday. No phone call, no email, not even a text to say, ‘Look we’re a bit tied up’ or ‘Theres a problem, we are sorry‘;
— then there was the computer repair shop that promised that my laptop would be fixed by a certain date, only for me to find it hadn’t been fixed when I went to collect it on that date. They didn’t care enough to inform me that the work hadn’t been completed, even a text would have sufficed and I wouldn’t have had to drive 3 miles for nothing. How the hell do they expect to grow as a business if they are so disorganised and have virtually no customer service?? This behaviour may be okay to other Malawians, but it’s not acceptable on a professional level.
— Then there is the church which wanted an event for their youth team. Having bent over backwards to request help from a dance collective run by some Brazilians in London, who put in a lot of effort in planning and creation of a schedule for the youth team, I was disappointed when the whole thing was trashed, after we’d put in so much effort to help them. There was no acknowledgement of our efforts, and in the end I had to apologise to my Brazilian friends for the trouble…
And then there is the time keeping, which frankly can be terrible…. Several years ago, one of my closest friends once turned up for work drunk and with a hangover from the previous night only to inform the befuddled and unamused manager that he wouldn’t be able to stay for work??

I can give many other examples, but I won’t.

However, when these habits permeate into other aspects of your life, such behaviour will vex the majority to the point businesses run by African or black people can lose clients/ potential customers.

The consequence of all this is disorder. And with disorderly conduct, you can’t operate successfully at a higher level or deal with people who have a sense of professionalism. And if you can’t operate a successful business, then you can’t have an income that allows you to train and empower your young people for a lifetime. And if you can’t train and empower your young people and create a positive culture of discipline that is patronised and passed down, then your young people have to find jobs elsewhere, working for someone who may neither give  the right transferable skills (that will help them be independent in the long run) nor pay them adequately.

7. Black and people of African origin are among the most undereducated people on Earth

Allow me to give some links to others who have studied this issue better:-

Why the Poor Stay Poor
Unemployed And Undereducated: Study Finds Black Youth Are Disconnected

14,000 British professors – but only 50 are black 

Black students and the class ceiling

My view is that the situation is a lot worse globally.

8. A historically peaceful disposition and accommodating culture of people of African origin has been used against them

While the arabs were fighting wars in crusades against ‘invaders’ and much recently while militants in Afghanistan and Iraq have been fighting against occupiers, using terrorism and brutal killings (none of which I support) as part of their campaign, in comparison with Africa, the African chiefs of the pre-colonial era were either largely fighting against each other, or welcoming and accommodating foreigners. Dancing to them, selling them slaves, carrying them on chairs. In Malawi for example, most people grew up being told we were ‘friendly people’. And in this fashion, people who for hook or crook took away what belonged to us, were tolerated, even celebrated

sedan-chair
source: usslave.blogspot.com

The result was that while Europeans found it hard to get a foothold in the Middle East, and were knocked back again and again, their attempts in Africa were significantly easier.

In Malawi today we have extremely wealthy foreigners living side by side with very poor people. Their wealth has been passed down the years from generation to generation, whereas the majority of Malawians living in Malawi fail to overcome the grip of poverty.

Inequality is a problem that’s not going to go away unless it is squarely addressed with the intention of ending it. I can bet my life on that.

Other links

A Smart Dude Takes On Racism With Facts. Not Wild Accusations. Facts. And I’m Begging You To Listen.

A Smart Dude Takes On Racism With Facts. Not Wild Accusations. Facts. And I’m Begging You To Listen. [via YouTube]

Watch the video.
My comments are as follows :

1. The ‘systematic’ referred to in the video is global in nature. Growing up as a black person in Africa I knew from a young age that there were others ‘more equal’ than the rest of us. It was only much later that I fully understood what was going on. Unfortunately, 30 years on, a lot of the effects of systematic racism are still being felt by communities across Africa today, and very little is being done to confront it. As an example why do foreign business men get away with things in Africa against African governments and African leaders which they wouldn’t get away with in their own countries? I hear you say Systematic……. .

For me, the underlying cause is simple:- Lack of empathy; idiotic insecurity; hatred (some people are just evil and there’s very little you or me can do); false doctrine (ideas such as Manifest destiny, and other racist ideologies ); jealousy and imperialistic greed.

In the past (and even now) there were people who genuinely believed a black person is sub-human. Closer to a chimp than a white person. Most of such people are ignorant with no interest in knowing the truth, still they believe that a black person is inferior and deserves less than a white person (that he is incapable intellectually, must be looked after, is violent, or a brute…and they’ll use the ‘system’ to reinforce that false picture – even when the evidence suggests otherwise)… . They’ve been ‘bred’ to be racist, borrowing the words of Oprah Winfrey. I’d be willing to bet that some of them don’t even recognise their subtle discrimination in the different ways in which they treat black people. Pity or indifference can’t fix them.

2. There’s no incentive, will power (political or otherwise) or even urgency in fixing the status quo. To the contrary, some people, quite a large number of people, are comfortable with the way things are. It’s not their problem… they think.

But why is there no incentive or urgency?

Because, well…

(i) Some people benefit from ‘white privilege’ in more ways than first appears (even though most won’t admit it). Desperation and poverty which is prevalent in majority black or mixed neighbourhoods than in white neighbourhoods is good for business, and on many levels.

(ii) There are not enough black or non-white people (or white people who appreciate why change is needed) in positions of authority to bulldoze or demand equality measures that would balance the ‘ fallacy ‘ that currently exists

(iii) unlike the well-funded and powerful ‘movement’ whose aim is partly the prevention of another Jewish holocaust (and rightly so), due to insufficient funding, lack of effective organisation and other constraints, no one is exactly screaming loud enough regarding the black man’s cause. No one’s mission is the restoration or prevention of harm to black people. No one is sufficiently resourced for such a monumental challenge.

When Obama first entered the white house, many black people incorrectly assumed he’d fix the black man’s problems across the world. Surely a descendant of an African, a Kenyan whose veins had African blood would carry the cause of his one billion + fellow Africans. Alas! how wrong they were.

3. It’s the system, stupid. One man can’t change the way ‘the world works’. Arguably not since JESUS has that happened.

4. But there is a solution to racial equality. And if you don’t know it, or can’t guess, either go back and read all my previous posts on the subject matter all over again, or this blog is not for you. Unsubscribe, unfollow … Go do something else.

African empowerment policies compared

African empowerment policies compared  via LEXAFRICA

Excerpts:

The guidelines, which have been approved by Ghana’s government, propose that local participation in the oil and gas sector be increased to 80% by 2020, with the emphasis on sourcing goods locally and training and employing Ghanaians.

Angolans must hold 51% of the share capital in mining and telecommunication companies and 30% in insurance enterprises. In oil and gas, there are no ownership restrictions on operator companies. However, companies that supply the oil industry with certain general services, such as catering, cleaning and transport, must be 51% owned by Angolans

Mkokweza says the current focus of the Zambian government is on a collaborative approach towards foreign investment. This is despite the domestic pressure on it to reintroduce the super tax on mining investors, which policy had been abandoned in the wake of the global recession, when an estimated 10 000 Zambians lost their jobs.

Comment

While economic empowerment is a necessity for a continent that for centuries has seen its people discriminated against, repressed and taken advantage of, I believe a balance should be reached to ensure that measures for economic empowerment are practical, such that they have been proven to be genuinely beneficial to the populus, and are not misplaced projections of anger or resentment against foreign corporations and businesses, most of whom provide employment and income to the government via taxes.

Mandela’s Unfinished Revolution

For all his remarkable achievements, Nelson Mandela died with his dream for South Africa incomplete. Democracy and peace were attained, yet real racial harmony, social justice and equality seem, in some ways, further away than ever.

South Africa’s economy still stifles the aspirations of most of its black citizens — a situation that threatens the sustainability of the project of national reconciliation that is a central part of the Mandela legacy.

When I am able to detach myself from the anger I feel over this injustice, I see the South Africa that Mr. Mandela described in his 1994 inaugural address — “a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world” — as but the opening move of a master tactician. It represented the brief suspension of reality for the sake of an endgame Mr. Mandela knew he would not be around to play.

Mr. Mandela’s rainbow ideal of a multiracial country that had avoided civil war, where blacks had forgiven whites for apartheid and everyone had learned to live together, was great and necessary for its time. But it is an ideal that should be laid to rest with him. Today, an economic revolution is what is needed most if South Africa is to continue on the path to reconciliation.

More at Mandela’s Unfinished Revolution via New York Times Sunday Review

What’s your reference point

It may be obvious to some that people must first be successful at family level for the greater benefit to be realised at society level. In other words, and generally, if you have many productive and functional families living in proximity as members of a society, the chances are you will have a more productive and functional society, than if those families were dysfunctional and crippled with problems…

Today, I saw this here, the model and actor Tyrese Gibson dishing out some touching but heartfelt words of wisdom from his experiences touching on subjects such as relationships, fatherhood, drugs, alcohol, etc, issues which I know affect many black and Afro-carribean families across the world.

When one is in search of inspirational ideas, you really never know where the next one will come in from as I’ve found out watching the video.

Sensitive listeners – apologies for the swear words…

South African set to be the first black ‘afronaut’

No one in Mandla Maseko’s family has ever stepped outside South Africa, but the young township DJ is set to rocket into space next year.

From the dusty district of Mabopane, near Pretoria, 25-year-old Maseko has landed a coveted seat to fly 103-kilometres into space in 2015, after winning a competition organised by a US-based space academy.

He beat off a million other entrants from 75 countries to be selected as one of 23 people who will travel on an hour-long sub-orbital trip on the Lynx Mark II spaceship..

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