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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Diversify

Recently I got into a very determined economic discussion with one of my MBA, soon to be PhD buddy's whose mind rotates on a swivel.  Our discussion -animated at times- revolved around the importance of having a diversified portfolio and never placing all your eggs in one basket. We were in perfect agreement understanding the fiscal and financial sense of spreading your income and revenue potential across multiple channels. This is not a trait that is taught in African schools nor are these lessons picked up in bars. These are the secrets long held by the consummate capitalists who have mined and refined their search for fiscal gold. 

In Agrarian Africa it could be akin to planting only one type of crop in your field. Your family will hate the singular diet and the soil abhors it, eventually sapping itself of nutrients and yielding nothing. So in retrospect, it makes good sense to diversify friends, food, finances, and interests. What is a solid financial lesson, has really been a tenant for a fulfilling life and one that ensures stability, but who starts off young thinking they will need a friend in all professions? Always a step ahead the financial commandos who have known that lemons equal lemonade, lemon juice, lemon zest, lemon extract and any other financial opportunity you can squeeze out of bitter fruit. 

In order to combat the pervasive leg drag that seems to be the inherited handicap of Africa, there is an astuteness lacking amongst our older leaders. This generation of  men and women who can remember a time of no telephones or televisions proudly fail to continuously assess our importance in the global economic spectrum. What has become evident is that the recognition is more related to immediate gratification, not long term production, manufacturing and industry consolidation.  The economic myopia on the part of our leaders underestimates the leverage that they have to dictate terms. What is clear is that there has to be a point where political nonchalance borders on criminal negligence.

We have been raped and continue to be raped as the very people who performed the crimes against us have now become our debtors. We walk into meeting with our hands open and our hats upturned. Unfortunately, the collective might of an Africa, rich in resources has been negated by decades of uneducated and misaligned leadership. We are still in the mindset of voting on our feelings and not facts. Of putting people in seats because of what they have put in our stomachs and being led by vitriol and fast mouths. Until such a time as this becomes a thing of the past, we will always be begging.


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