DEBT CRISIS CREATES BUSINESS INNOVATION
Withdrawal of foreign aid increases emerging entrepreneurship
The financial meltdown of 2008 affected not only the bonuses of the Wall Street bankers, their Porsche dealers and their favorite restaurants. It initially left millions of people in Africa, India and elsewhere starving, as aid was withdrawn by global benefactors.
The reach of foreign aid was extensive and many communities only survived on the generosity of benevolent supporters. With the global crunch driving cost reductions, aid support suffered a body blow. Dependent communities were left wondering what on earth had happened.
However, an unintended consequence has seen the return of small farmers actually farming, small businesses flourishing and not relying on aid to survive! Bvumai Miramara, an unemployed aid administrator in Malawi, spotted a gap and launched his own food delivery service to local communities on his bicycle.
He buys a 50kg bag of meal, cycles around the community and sells meal in small quantities. After the first month he had enlisted ten friends with bicycles and now has a fleet of fifty doing the rounds! Customers order via cheap text messages to his mobile phone, sponsored by the local mobile phone operator.
Bvumai has moved from dependent to employer and he loves his new found relevance, not to mention his financial independence. The emergence of a whole new breed of entrepreneurs bodes well for Africa and other donor-dependent economies.
Once again, the process of creative destruction kills old skills and jobs but offers many new and different opportunities.
Dependent economies are learning new skills and lessons in sustainability… and that’s good for business, and ultimately good for the world.
Warning: Hazardous thinking at work
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