Monday, July 28, 2008

Alias 4-30 explains Afrocentrism

Eworan "Village Headmaster"
Chief Zebrudaya alias 4-30 mba omo re so ro. Ori omo ti wo. O tidi igbagbo Christainity, o so oruko lati Nwafo tide oriibu Afrolin.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Atewosi = Signature

Rescue Nubia! Sudan and Egypt want to flood the land of civilisations.
History Is A Weapon. Be Armed With A Proper Education
"the project of Christianizing and Europeanizing Africans, (i.e. of treating them to culturecide) ...has left Africa so demented that it still can’t get its act together even today." - Chinweizu
"I could not stomach the lies of world history" - John Henrik Clarke

Afrikan worldviews: Ijebu Drums | Femi Akomolafe | Africa Within

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Akolo Ogbon Ni Wahala Nigeria/Africa.

Low Applied Intelligence Is Cause Of Nigeria/Africa Non-Progress

Posted to NVS

I am voting for LOW APPLIED INTELLIGENCE. I think the IQ is same as the rest of the world, but, as I have had occasions to ask on NVS, "what is the point of intelligence if it is not being used intelligently".. All the other factors mentioned in the questionaire, and more besides,can be resolved by a people who are thinking properly.

[B]The people of the country, and the broader Afrikan community, are in a state of intense spiritual, psychological and/or intellectual shock[/B]. The people are in an infantile and fatalistic neurosis, And everyday, they are told the answers (applied intelligence) is with some "leader", "diaspora", "foreigner", "God", anyone but themselves. It seems to be obvious that the systems in place were designed to [U]not[/U] meet the needs or wants of the community, yet time and time again, the people reach out to deter any changing of the system. It is as if [B]there is addiction to a mental childishness that just does not recognise the need to take responsibility[/B], to stop wistfulness (e go better, God dey, I am going to heaven) and get stuck into organising, making and building things.

Some of [B]this is due to cultural and personality dissonance[/B]. Every African person worldwide lives, today, in societies in which they are commercially and mentally in a dominant and hostile external cultural context yet feel that they are historically and socially of a different culture that has strengths of its own.

Two examples in Nigeria. The president is a Mooslim Hausa/Fulani/Kanuri/"Northerner" who must operate his office in English language, feels compelled to wear (occasionally) European suits (symbolic skin), operate his convert religion in Arabic (the language of the Koran) and maintain his ethnic identity in Hausa with the historical culture of its associate world-view. The CBN governor is a Christain, ibo/igbo/"Easterner" who must operate his office and convert in English language, feels very natural in European suits (symbolic skin), and operates his home in Ibo with the historical culture of its associated worldview. How many personalities are these people projecting at any one time? How many personalities and which one is the person talking or trying to do business with them dealing with? AND both of them are trying to apply solutions that other people developed to benefit other societies to resolve the complexities in Nigeria. This is not a personal attack on either. They are highly intelligent and capable people. [B]They just cannot "help it", it is what they were brought up to do[/B].

To my knowledge, the Nigerian/African socio-cultural space (no system is apparent) does not deal with the deep-seated historical and ongoing scars suffered by the collective African psyche from atrocities like Arab or European slavery; European direct and indirect mass murders to establish and maintain colonial influence, from religions and multimedia that spiritually rape and erase the cultural memory in order to externalise the good and godly, from the insecurity of family poverty and disease.

The Jesuits are accredited with a statement to wit: [I]"Give me the child and I will give you the man."[/I] [b]The education system does not meet the unique needs of the African child or society.[/b] The curriculum does appear to consider child psychology in general, and the specific developmental needs of children growing up to live in mutually-antagonistic (and hence inherently self-destructive) multi-national and multi-religious countries. Nigerians/Africans currently [U]exist[/U] in conditions where their adulthood is programmed into a state of perpetual child-like intellectual dependence. We have not consciously applied our intellect to challenge and manage our own realities. All the other factors impact thereafter.

[B]At this point in history, the spirit is broken[/B]. It is as a slave plantation writ large, Kunta Kinte has been flogged by the boss Nigger to say "Toby" when his enemy asks "what is your name?". In caricature of the historical antebellum slavery, people became so neurotic in their self-abasement that they sent their children into breeding by their enemies. Now all the children are minded to be Toby, in speech, in dress, in belief, in front of the mirror, in public, because their mothers and fathers have imprinted Kunta's scars on their memory and because no one feels bold enough, adult and responsible enough, to talk about how or why the scars got there or what to do about the scars, the floggers and the enemies. [B]Children, however, are born curious.[/B]

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Mekunu ati Ofin

Poverty and the rule of law

Uttar Pradesh is the largest and most populous state in India. This year, this very poor corner of this most racially bigotted country in the world has been given USD360million by USAid , an aid agency, to implement a population control policy that calls for the sterilisation of 930,000 people. The poverty has been a high level of crimes against humanity and a strong siege mentality among the rich. The government of Uttar has some interesting ideas on how to meet its target of sterilising the poor while parlaying the insecurty of the rich: Anybody who wants a handgun should submit 3 people for sterilisation; 5 people for a shotgun.

So one rich farmer invited 5 of his workers for a meal. Thereafter, they felt dizzy and fell asleep, only to wake in great pain and distress. The five returned to the farm, glad that they still have a job to do because they have families to feed. One of the men is unmarried and without child. He will never father any of his own. Cradling his shotgun, the farmer says "There has been an investigation. The case is now closed".

Few social critics, economic analysts, and policy wonks consider the reinforcing effect that the rule of law has on the prevalence of poverty, disease and ignorance around the world. In India, forcibly castrated people cannot get justice from the state because their castrator is powerful enough to rise above the rule of law. The rule of law can oppress nations just as severely as persons. Next door to India, countries are invaded because an invading set of countries are powerful enough to rise above international law.

Perhaps, it is high time that poverty, disease and ignorance are classified as weapons of mass destruction. They certainly destroy the masses of the people even more effectively than even the bullets and bombs of the countless wars. It is estimated there are some 30,000 poverty-related infant deaths daily in Africa. Many children and women die yearly Africa from preventable diseases. Many women and children will live their lives in painful ignorance of basic hygiene, energy production or food preparation techniques. Yet, even as they scratch out such as squalid living within the constraints of the law, the poor must wonder how the hell of their lives can exist alongside the heavenly plenty of their compatriots.

"Surely it is one law for us and another for them" goes the muttering. Disenfranchised people and deficient countries express this same feeling, the basis of which lies in the structure in which their daily affairs are governed. Had the rich Indian not been protected by the governing law in Uttar Predash, he would been properly "dealt with" by the retributive justice of his victims. Their poverty and ignorance prevented their ability to marshal the rule of law to their cause. Totalitarianism, feudalism, unrepresentative democracy and communism are forms of top-down government that accentuate the ability of the powerful to place suppressive binds on their people. The binds are drafted as the rules of law. Not to be disobeyed by the people. At pain of punishment by the ruler of law. In this manner, it becomes a crime to steal even if working your fingers to the bone does not yield sufficient income to feed your family. It becomes treason if you criticise an incompetent, corrupt and akotileta government.

The shotgun quells mutinious ideas in farms across Northern India, just as the bullwhip silenced dissent in slave fields across the New World centuries ago, and structural adjustment policies dampen queries in many struggling households across the "developing" world. The rule of law made it lawful to use the shotgun, the bullwhip and the poverty-policies, and thereby permitted rulers to kill or cripple the prospects of those whose actions produce the wealth of their tormentors. In Africa, people are now becoming immune to destructive laws: it may be time for a severe dose of civil disobedience.

Surviving the Political Economics of “Akotileta” Governance

first published 8-November-2004

It will be beneficial to the general population of an oil-producing country, if the oil revenues are applied to improve the socio-economic lives of the people.

Many citizens of oil-producing countries expect responsible governments to ensure that this IS what actually happens. Responsible governments use the monies received to create a domestic enterprise-enabling community. The empowered community raises domestic productivity, creates employment, and pays tax revenues back to the government.

Popular economics is based on the theory that demand for produce and supply of produce determines the equilibrium market price of produce. This theory is falsifying because it is incomplete. It ignores the effect of demand for money and supply of money on the prices of goods.

Money is a commodity, just like bread, suya, palmwine, rice or crude oil. Like any commodiy, money is used as a medium of exchange as well as a store of value. What makes money unique is the fact that it can be created by "fiat", an order enabling the creation of money, nowadays executed in most countries by a central bank.

Most central bank actions are conducted as part of a government's monetary policy (decisions to control the demand of and/or supply of money). Responsible governments attempt to regulate the productivity of their economies via monetary policy and fiscal policy (decisions to control the production of and consumption of goods).

The supplier of produce has a demand for money. The buyer of produce is a supplier of money. In any market transaction, these negotiations attempt to attain two equilibrum prices: one for produce and one for money. Two commodities are exchanged - produce and money - at the equating equilibrum price level.

= Suppliers of money and produce are not created equal =
Usually the supplier of produce sets the desired asking price that a buyer must meet. For example, Mr. Agbee may want Money1000 for his 1000kg of corn. If Mrs. Bureedi only has supply of Money600, some negotiations must begin or she walks, empty handed.

However the total quantity he can offer for sale remains 1000kg: this reality represents the tangible bounds of physical commodities. Economists will say that if Mrs. Bureedi has higher wages, she may be able to afford money supply of Money800 or Money900.

Economists will say the increase in Mrs. Bureedi's wages will usually cause Mr.Agbee to increase his prices (lead to inflation in market prices), and that inflation is a bad thing. If he expects market prices will go up, Mr Agbee will aim to supply more grain to the market next time. In an enterprise-enabling community, he goes to a bank to obtain the funds necessary to increase production. However, if Mr Agbee expects market prices to go down, he must still sell his product or watch it waste into rot. So, if the market is about to close for the day, Mr Agbee may despairingly drop the asking price to within Mrs. Bureedi's money supply.

of produce ^
|.......\..../ supply of produce (Sp)
|.........\/ * Equilibrium market price at intersection *
|........./|......../..|......./....\ demand of produce (Dp)
prices of produce (market prices)

=Money is different from other commodities =
There are no physical bounds restricting the suppliers of money, previously identified as the central bank acting, presumably, on behalf of a responsible government. Banks will happlily make new loans (supply more quantities of money) if they expect higher interest rates. Making such loans is a matter only of entering records in a computerised ledger in this days of fiat currency. In the very olden days when physical commodities were used as money, "merchant-bankers" were at greater pains to "under-write" a loan.

A responsible government can strongly regulate money supply in a local currency market. However, governments lose control of money supply in a "free" market with minimum capital controls. When uncontrolled money combines with weak domestic productivity, money supply then depends largely on the manipulations of the banks.
Severe capital value devaluation in a highly consumptive political economy that has low physical productivity; high external debts denominated in foreign currency; and money markets with little capital controls. The government's own demand for foreign currency with which to repay the foreign-denominated external debt is matched by increased government supply of the local currency into the money markets. This will cause the value of local currency to fall with respect to foreign currency, resulting in a weaker exchange rate.

Falling local currency values also mean lower interest rates. Borrowing is more affordable at lower interest rates for producers like Mr Agbee or consumers like Mrs Bureedi. Their demand for demand for money increases.

Unfortunately, responsible banks will want to supply less money at the lower interest rates. Fiat currency money cannot rot and with weak capital controls in place, banks have no reality check that forces them to supply their money commodity even at low interest rates. So they try not to. Governments occasionally force banks to release money by conducting "mopping up" operations at the central banks.

of money ^
|.......\..../ supply of money (Sm)
|.........\/ * Equilibrium interest rate at intersection *
|........./|......../..|......./....\ demand of money Dm)
prices of money (interest rates)

= The role of a responsible government =
A responsible government can do a number of things to stimulate DOMESTIC ENTERPRISES and to boost DOMESTIC PRODUCTIVITY.
# Domestic businesses are stimulated, jobs are created, and longer term productivity is attained if government increases demand for domestically produced goods and services e.g by using domestic producers in construction of roads, housing, stadia, furniture, etc. Purchasing locally made goods and services by governments will cause the demand of produce (Dp line) to shift rightwards (along the Sp line) and cause market prices to rise.

Eventually, increased domestic production (shift up the Sp line) and a higher equilibrum market price is achieved. Responsible government intervention MAY result in higher costs of living.

# Likewise, domestic productivity is stimulated if a responsible government uses its fiat to make borrowing AFFORDABLE for domestic businesses. Two actions are possible:
## A naive government may demand more money from banks (e.g increased reserve levels), consumers (e.g increased minimum fuel prices), or businesses (e.g. as taxes or licenses). Interest rates will fall. But such an action will eventually bankrupt the community. This is because consumers, businesses and banks (!) must supply such money from earnings on sale of commodities, and neither have infinite source of those commodities.
## On the other hand, a responsible government may inject more money into the community e.g by lowering reserve levels for banks, lowering fuel prices, or lowering business taxes and other statutory costs. Interest rates will rise EVEN IF the increased government spending (shift up along the Sm line) IS NOT MATCHED by a increased DOMESTIC DEMAND (rightwards shift of the Dm line) to yield a higher equilibrum interest rate.

The ensuring LEVEL OF INFLATION (rate of increase in interest rates) depends (in simplified terms, adjusting for complexities of elasticity in demand and supply) on the origin of rhe additional money supply and the purpose to which it is utilised.

Inflation is MORE manageable IF the increased money supply originates from domestic consumers and enables domestic producers to produce more goods and services. Inflation is extremely damaging IF the increased money supply originates from consumption of foreign produce (which is what foreign direct investment is) or does not increase domestic productivity in goods and services.

What then is the NET effect on domestic productivity and enterprise-capacity in a community when a government that does the following:
# Increases the supply of domestic money through a combination of devaluation e.g selling domestic currency to purchase of foreign currency (= rightward shift along Sm line and increase in local interest rates)
# Places high demands for money on domestic consumers, businesses and banks (= shifting the Dm line rigtwards and increase in interest rates).
# Increases demand for foreign produce that are cheaper than equivalent local goods. This reduces demand for and supply of domestic produced goods. Lack of sufficient foreign produced goods or domestic prodced goods results in persistent high market prices.

This situation is exacerbated by actions that impede market activity: persistent consumption of foreign produce by governments or the people; produce hoarding by businesses; and money hoarding by banks.
The observed effect is a definate strangulation of domestic production (especially manufacturing) capacity, rampant unemployment, intense economic emigration, and a market concentration of domestic businesses into "non-tradable services" such as hotels, restaurants, schools, transportation, haircuts, unfulfilled contracs etc.

= Surviving an irresponsible government =
All governments have three core responsibilities to the general population they govern:
# Create an enabling environment for domestic enterprises to grow and prosper;
# Provide community services that to assist the needy;
# Vigorously defend the property, territory and well being of the general population they govern.

Only a bad government fails in ANY of these three responsibilities. Bad governments do not deserve to govern and should not be in office. By these measures, most modern governments do not deserve the people they govern. Yet, a general population deserves its government, whether strong or weak; good or bad. This is because no government exists in a vacumn. All are drawn from the general population. By implication, a weak government reflects the weakness of its people. A corrupt government arises from a corrupt mandate.

A responsible government facilitates the enfranchisement of its people by performing its core responsibilities diligently. To enfranchise is to take control of the rule of law and of the markets in which one operates. The rule of law underlines the political system, which includes and defines the economic system of markets and payments. A bad government fails in these responsibilities. An akotileta government is not only bad, it goes further to actively impoverise, impede or attack the people it effects to govern. A government that disenfranchises its people can continue in governance only if the people have no self-conviction. The "values" of the population under bad government need to be restructured. Only when revalued, can the population restructures the government.

The only way to survive a akotileta government is to recreate the failed responsibilities at the community level. This has the added benefit of decentralising and localising both the rule of law and economic markets.
Observation indicates that people derive maximum socio-economic benefit from community-based policies and markets.

Working examples range from large countries such as China and Germany (prior to the unifications), to the Scandivanian nation-states, to self-referencing tribal-states confined withing in larger country borders. The keys to these communities are strong domestic production efficiency and an effectively local currency.
# Small, homogenous, and productive communities may have increased access to an export-oriented strategy but they often lack the population mass to sustain an effective local currency.
# Larger countries can sustain a strong internal market for both local currencies and import-subsititution goods, provided they are not handicapped by foreign debt repayment obligations.
# Those with large foreign currency repayment obligations need to implement strategies that protect the internal market, convert foreign debt obligations into the local currency, and induce the opening of foreign markets for domestically produced goods and services. Interestingly, these "beggar-thy-neighbour" policies are most often associated with contries that manifest a robust military strength.

When enduring an irresponsible government, communities need also to protect themselves against attempts by such government to impoverise its own communities!
An "akotileta" government has the particulary nasty property of focusing so much on meeting demands of foreign producers that it ends up suffocating domestic producers.

=Self-help enterprises are essential=
Communities need to be resourceful in order to control bad fiscal or monetary policy imposed by akotileta governments that are bent on destroying local productivity. These policies have historically included bans on organised labour, decentralised provision of infrastructure services, operation of local currencies or exhorbitant minimum prices in essential commodities.

Businesses in such communities should consider associative or cooperative operating or organisational strategies. Rather than rules of law formulated by such governments, trading may organised by informal code of conduct which is enforced at community level. Rather than bank-based money transfers, market transactions are conducted via barter exchange or by interest-free local currencies.

The essential glue of community-level businesses is communal trust. Crime and corruption are less likely when the family of potential culpits face the option of becoming ostracized from the community and subsequent difficulty in joining another. Even thefts are not so damaging in local currency economies as the stolen money must be spent within the same community.

Best of all, community-level enterprises result in bottom-up prosperity and in enhancement of living standards at the local level. As the communities grow and prosper, businesses can expand to link across regions and nations. Such networks of businesseses retain loyalty to their roots and are more likely to engage in complementing (or conducting) the normal responsibilities of responsible governments.

Deconstructing the Sovereign Plantation (sorry, Protectorate)

first published 9-November-2004


Better Life Shadow: Hey, Old Good Fellow ! How's life on your plantation nowadays.
OGF: Fine, fine. We are surviving. Which one be plantation? This na independent place o.
BLS: The plantation you live and work in. Do you not produce vegetable oil, mineral oil and cheap labour for the markets? What else do you make?
OGF: Never thought of it as a plantation before.
BLS; Do you not work all day and all night, for years on end, with very little to show for it?
OGF: Not me! I am the head of the household staff. I crack the whip on the field hands and make sure our production levels are always up.
BLS: Ah, you are the super on this plantation?
OGF: Yes ke. I am the oga patapata. Apart from god above and our investors just beneath him.
BLS: What does god do for you? What do your investors do for you?
OGF: How dare you blaspheme the name of the almighty? Can you not see this plantation is very productive?!
BLS: I see a lot of people toiling relentlessly in the fields. A lot are dying of hunger. But a lot of food is rotting.
OGF: That one is not the fault of god or the investors. The ones dying are too lazy to work. The food is for export to our investor, One Across The Water.
BLS: Chineke! Is OATW your god? What has she invested? Why waste food when people are dying?
OGF: Mind yoursef before I discipline you. OATW brought me god, the almighty who shall never die.
BLS: What capital or labour or anything tangible has OATW invested in this plantation, then?
OGF: Questions, questions. I told you already: god was her only investment here. The people you see provide all the investment we need.
BLS: (in disbelief) These people provide all the investment and they are dying of want?! Can they not use what they have to improve their own lives?
OGF: And make me look bad when next I go into the house to meet OATW? God go punish you.
BLS: (angry) Akotileta!! Who made you oga here? YOU should be careful the people do not mutiny and burn the house down and you with it.

Old good fellow thinks about this. This better life seems to make sense.

OGF: What should I do? The plantation owes OATW a lot of money. If we no pay, OATW will not buy our food and the people will starve even more.
BLS: And so what? The people are already starving. Sell them the food. Anyway, how come the plantation owes OATW a lot of money?
OGF: Even me sef, I no know. All the other plantations around here are in the same position. When OATW arrived here with god, my father's neighbours built the house for them with our own sweat and blood. OATW was very generous to our neighbours, sha.
BLS: Generous to your neighbours? How?
OGF: OATW added our land to that of the neighbours and put them in charge. She told everybody: "I will train your people in how to better manage your land, if you agree to make it a plantation for me. I will buy your everything you make, provided you agree to take my god as your own."
My father did not think this was a good arrangement, and told OATW so. She became very angry and told her soldiers to rape, maim, loot and imprison my father's chiefs in the name of her god. Many died. Many were taken across the waters, never to be seen again (sobs).
When the fighting finished, OATW said we owed her the cost of killing our people and taking our land for her plantation. She told my neighbours to appoint a good house-super and make sure the debt is paid in full.
BLS: Laakuli, otherwise what will happen?
OGF: Otherwise, she will ask the dogs of war to come back.
BLS: So you must forever keep the plantation going in order to pay this bastard debt? Why not train your own dogs of war?

Old good fellow thinks about this. This better life sure asks a lot of sensible questions.

OGF: What should I do? The plantation is very beneficial for our neighbours and very profitable to OATW. They will not allow us to train our own dogs.
BLS: Haba! Without your own dogs, you cannot burn the house or protect the people. You will be attacked by your enemies and forced forever to pay the debts that make the people poor.
OGF: No worries. I have signed agreement with OATW to not attack me. I have agreed with my neighbours to give them bits and pieces of the plantation to add to their own plantations.
We produce a lot of food and oil that OATW wants to buy. As long as the plantation delivers, no wahala.
BLS: What will happen when the soil becomes tired and the well becomes dry and the debt is not yet paid?
OGF: (Happy at his own foresight) That is not my problem anymore!
BLS: Why not? Are you not the house-super, who is responsible for the well-being of the plantation workers?
OGF: The soil is being given free to OATW's people to grow their own food. The well is already owned by OATW. Besides, we need not worry about the people by that time!
BLS: Why not? Are the plantation people not agitating against this massive theft?
OGF: NO, OATW allows those potential trouble-makers who think they have sense to go to OATW's country, where they to work as feudal wage slaves. The trouble-makers who no want go are dealt with. Most of the rest are delibrately undereducated, malnourished and allowed to die of curable diseases.
BLS: You said most of the rest. What happens to the rest of the rest, then?
OGF: They rely on my generous handouts or they believe in OATW's god. Either way, they help to keep the plantation running. We got debts to pay!!
BLS: (mutters curses)

The "strategic" national "interests" in Ivory Coast vs. France

first published 10-November-2004

It was DAFT of the Ivory Coast government to put all their airforce hardware in one airport. But, had the entire fleet not been destroyed in one go, would the IC government have ordered a counter-attack on the occupying forces?

Like many other colonial-era African states, IC has no meaningful military strength. There are naval, land or airborne special forces to speak of. The citizens are not militarilised. Now the airforce is shot to bits. That leaves the army, which was the reason
France was in IC on a "peace-keeping" mission. The UN heartily approves French action in IC, although it opposes similar USA occupation in Iraq. The UN is headed an African, born in Ghana
, a colonial-era neighbour of IC.

The army had been resisting attacks from insurgents against the regime of President Laurent Gbagbo. The insurgents were at arms because they felt marginalised from economic development. Their candidate for president was disqualified from competing in IC elections on grounds that he is not a citizen of IC. Ivoriens had obviously not heard of globalisation, perhaps because the people were so busy being colomentally assimilated into what Franz Fannon referred to as "black skins, white masks", a phenomenom otherwise known as "coconut": brown-black on the outside, off-white on the inside.

Those from the mainly desert north never forgot or forgave the decision by Houphouët-Boigny to allow
France test their nuclear bombs in the Sahara. HB ruled this cocoa-colony from the time of "independence" (from France) to 1993. During this time the number of European, Lebanese and Indian economic migrants into IC grew so much that they once made up 25pc of the population in capital, Abidjan. Many of these were illegal emigres entered IC under the "one France" travel agreement that enables French nationals to travel unimpeded into "former French possessions". Human traffic in the other direction is restricted by EU law. Nigerians and Ghanians need not gloat: the British Commonwealth
exerts the same effect.

Being illegal emigres did not stop French farmers from privatising and controlling cocoa plantations established under HB. From these plantations,
France (not Ivory Coast) supplies nearly half the global output of cocoa beans. Nearly all the profits are exported into buying respectability back in the French Riviera or deposited in Swiss-BeneLux bank accounts. Working conditions on the cocoa plantations have been compared to cotton plantations in the USA
deep south, during the slavery era.

HB reminded his fellow Ivoriens, time and again, "that their closest and best friend was
France and that France made daily sacrifices for Côte d'Ivoire by offering protected markets and military assistance. He insisted that France maintained troops near Abidjan as a favor to ensure Côte d'Ivoire's security without impinging on its larger development plans." Many fellow Ivoriens were circumspect about his naivety but could not openly contest his reasoning. This mood shifted when the big man finally died. Discontent flared into tribal warfare. Laurent Gbagbo's faction won over the region that includes the capital, Abidjan, also the operations hub of many international trading companies active in West Africa

Those who perceive
Nigeria as the 'giant of Africa' need to visit Ivory Coast. The more populous and English speaking Nigeria
may have the potential to be a global economic and military super-power, if its government and people can sufficiently rouse themselves from colomentalist slumber. But the geographically smaller and French-speaking Ivory Coast is currently the international economic darling of the region. IC is of strategic interest because, under French's assimilation policy, it offers a backdoor into the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas). IC is also the lynchpin in the France-dominated CFA currency zone with which the economies of ALL France's previous colonies are pegged to the European Euro (formerly pegged to French Franc, hence the name). In many ways, the CFA provided a testbed for the Euro.

African progressives will need to deal with the facts of France controlling post-independence "french" Africa via CFA anchored by Ivory Coast; and with Britain controlling post-independence "english" Africa via the Commonwealth anchored by Nigeria; and with USA trying to unseat the two EU member states as Africa's new "protector of market access and provider of military assistance". The "great games" played by these three G8 members accounts for much of the stalled progress towards actualisation of cross-border trades in the ECOWAS region, and in Africa as a whole.

But those who think that the Ivory Coast fracas is about rival Ivorien factions squabbling about whom to better service French trading interests, should "smell the cocoa". Cocoa, Coffee and Palm (vegetable) oil are the main exports of Ivory Coast. The journey of cocoa, from bean to consumer, especially reveals the true extent to which African commodities underpin global trade, and exposes the various nations that have strategic interests in the outcome of Ivory Coast vs France.

Links: = African cocoa farmer visits Cadbury UK = International Cocoa Association = the main cocoa producers
= the legacy of Houphouett-Boigny.

Nigeria: governance, politics and oil revenues.

first published 12-November-2004

This an excerpt from a letter to my cousin.


Just focus your "findings" on estimates of revenues and expenditure since 1961 or whenever oil was discovered in Niger Delta. Let us assume some USD250BILLION been earned over the past 40 years. Then compare Nigeria's progress over that period with that of:

a) South Korea, which was roughly at the same "development" stage 40 years ago. Adjust for the fact that SK does not have significant crude oil resources, has had military governance, is in a hyper-competitive region, is the leading information technology power.

b) Brazil, which was roughly at the same "development" stage 40 years ago. Adjust for the fact that Brazil, while majority of African descent, has a small but socio-economically dominant "European" population.

c) China or India, which have undergone similar experiences with colonisation and imperialistic trade, yet have largely retained their cultural heritage even as they grafted on hyper-competitive economics.

d) Malaysia or Indonesia, which have significant crude oil or palm oil resources, multi-ethnic strife, rampant corruption, military dictatorships, and yet have largely retained a healhty socio-economic competitiveness.

e) Somalia. Somalia? Yes, Somalia. A north-central African country next door to Kenya and Ethopia. Has had NO CENTRAL GOVERNMENT FOR AT LEAST 13 YEARS while torn apart by multi-ethnic strife. Suffered greatly from international sanctions after its people defeated US special forces sent in to help impose governments similar to those the rest of Africa had EVER had. Somalia is now
's most EVENLY developed country.Why? The warlords had to live as far from each other as possible, yet communicate with their troops in the various war-fronts. Effectively, powerful warlords set up feudal governance in their bases of power. Fighters had to be paid so local enterprise was left encouraged and "taxed" to fund the war efforts. Warlords who did not pay their way were usurped. Meanwhile SOMALIAN technicians built transport and telecommunications infrastructure to enable travel and communications across the country and across the borders into Kenya, Ethiopia, etc where the warlords kept their "investments". Today, Somalia has one government. They are entirely self-reliant in technology adaptation. They are wary of the interests serviced by "international aid" or "foreign direct investment", and most importantly, they have self-conviction in their ability to chart their own progress, irrespective of what the "international community" thinks.

Influence on Governance:

Nigeria became heavily centralised under two influences:

a) The discovery of oil caused dissolution of the varying development agendas being pursued in the then-3 regions: Western, Eastern and Northern. Arguments about how to share the "national cake" still divide the country. The divisions have been physical (there are now 30+1 states, and ethnically.

b) The resurgent military with their innumerable coups. The military destroyed the decentralised, and competitive, governments of the 3 regions and imposed a rigidly centralised "command and control" structure. The country is still under this structure. The 30+1 state structure has only put layers of bureaucracy and plenty of opportunities for corruption into the system. The state governments have very limited statutory powers, and are heavily dependent on the centre for funding, resource control or protection.

Influence on Politics:

Oil production is predominantly in the southern Niger Delta region. Some oil-yielding tar sands have been discovered in the northern Lake Chad region, but there are few reports on commercial production in this area. Nigeria used to be a British colony. There is evidence that Britain had advance seismic studies indicating large oil deposits in Southern Nigeria from 1950 onwards. The Westerners led by Obafemi Awolowo and the Eastern region, whose most vocal proponent was Nnamdi Azikwe, were strongly progressive and indicated the need for political and economic independence. Initially, the agitation was for separate nation-states but diplomatic discourse ensured complicity with one Nigerian country. The British made sure that political administration of the newly independent Nigeria was vested in the Northern region.

The first coup was by military officers from the former Eastern region. They were protesting marginalisation of that region from national (read: oil) revenues by the Northern-dominated civilian regime of Ahmadu Bello.

Riots erupted in the former Northern region in protest at killing of Bello and senior Northern military officers. The rioters targeted settlers from the Eastern Region. These events led parts of the Eastern Region to declare the independent nation-state called Biafra. Civil war. The Yoruba people of Western Nigeria were drawn into this war when they were attacked by Biafran forces.

Post civil war, the Northern region has used dominance in national politics to ensure that region has disproportionate access to oil revenues. Their efforts led to the national capital being moved from Lagos in the former Western Region to Abuja, within easy access of the Northern power base. Significant oil revenues have been spent on building Abuja from near-virgin forest to a "federal capital city".

Under the guise of "national quotas" (a form of proportional representation), the over-centralisation of government has also ensured that Northerners gain control of the national budget (70pc of which is funded by oil revenues), government spending (mainly by award of contracts), the civil service (the largest employer in
), and the military forces.

Political strategies in Nigeria now focus almost entirely on "sharing the national cake" among the powerful scions of Hausa/Fulani (Northern), Igbo/Ibo (Biafra) and Yoruba (Western) regions. Elected politicians do not govern to empower their electorate. There is no need to. Rather, elected politicians govern to appease the powerful members or sponsors of their political parties. This is to ensure that access to government contracts continues on leaving office.

See, USA-style democracy works in Nigeria ;-)!

Hint: Me just keeps current on socio-economic issues and investment opportunities.

Hint 2: By all means, enjoy your holidays. But Do Not Visit Nigeria With Any Intention Of Gathering "Statistics" Or Of Working With Government.

Hint 3: IMF, EU, WB, etc, etc do not have accurate figures. They get most of their information from official figures released by Nigerian government. The many reports are usually guesstimates. But the Nigerian government cannot even ascertain how many Nigerians there are. Why? Consider that the current president will not confirm how many children he has, to Britain's BBC (he does not talk to "lowly" Nigerian journalists) because it is "bad omen to count one's children". This attitude is prevalent in Nigeria and prevents accurate census or other statistical information being gathered. Nonetheless, successive official "census" figures reveal demographics that are globally unique to Nigeria: that the semi-arid North is more densely populated than the tropical South. The political mathematics? Higher population = more National Quota = more allocation of oil revenues. To give such official figures some credibility, government usually quotes the IMF, WB . .

The Strategic Interests in Ivory Coast vs France II

The Strategic Interests in Ivory Coast vs France II

First published 18-November-2004

The journey of cocoa from plantation to consumer reveals the extent to which African commodities underpin global trade. It also exposes the various nations that have strategic interests in the outcome of Ivory Coast vs France.

Cocoa is grown on large plantations. The crops are intensely farmed, in mono-culture formation and with large use of phosporus fertilizer. Most of the planting, cultivation and harvesting must be done by hand. The plantations use large numbers of labour, many of whom are migrants into IC from neighbouring Burkina Faso, Gabon, Ghana and Senegal. The conditions of work are atrocious. Workers are badly beaten, poorly paid, and cast out at first sign of illness.

Plantation owners borrow heavily from the international banks based in Abidjan. The loans are collateralised by a promise to deliver the physical crop in the future and to receive cash-flows on delivery. Plantation owners receive some money upfront to use in paying for seed, fertilizer, and other farming inputs. The cocoa farmer gets paid. Not all farms are big plantations. A big planter or a big wholesaler may have supply agreements with owners of small-holdings.

On the basis of these anticipated cashflows, the headquarters of these banks create commodity derivatives such as options, futures, forwards and swaps. Commodity derivatives are financial instruments. They are bought and sold many times over in the commodity exchanges such as CBOT (USA), LIFFE (UK), Marche (France). Commodity derivatives are very, very big business in the international financial markets. Some of the buyers are cocoa processing companies such as Cargill, ADM and Phillip Morris (also a big tobacco processor). Other big buyers are end-users such as the chocolate manufacturers, including Switzerland's Nestle/Rowntree, Lindt and Barry Callebrut; USA's Hershey and Mars; UK's Cadbury, among others.

Buyers usually intend to take delivery of the cocoa. However, nearly 98pc of international trade in commodity derivatives is purely speculative gambling. The speculators buy on expectation of increased prices and sell on expectation of lowered prices. Prices are volatile and change often because the quality and quantity of commodities produced in any one year cannot be predicted in advance. Excess rain during harvesting, excess exposure to sun during drying, crop pests and a thousand other risks may destroy the quality of any year's cocoa crop. Fortunes are made and lost due to the ensuring high price volatility. In order to limit their exposure to potential loss, many speculators and end-users buy insurance instruments or hedge their market positions. Not many international insurance companies and hedge fund investment companies even bother to refer to Ivory Coast in their marketing material. They still earn fortunes off the breaking back of the cocoa farmer.

One such farmer visited Cardbury's processing plants in UK. He learnt that hardly any chocolate sold in the huge UK market for "chocolate" products actually contains cocoa solids. The typical 200g bar contains an average of 0.5g of cocoa solids. There are plans underfoot to replace even that small amount with vegetable fat. The big markets for real cocoa solids are the Swiss-Benelux manufacturers of luxury chocolates. The other big market are the manufacturers of cosmetics such as cocoa butter.

The diminishing market for cocoa solids is a trend that reveals changes in the dymanics of strategic international interests across Africa. Ever since the slave trade, many of the continent's economies have been heavily dependent on exports of commodities. Most of the exports were to then-colonial, later-imperialistic, and now neo-colonial trading partners: countries such as UK/Britain, France, Belgium and USA.

Europe and USA dominate global consumption of goods and services. Their markets are now close to saturation point. Their employees are living from paycheck to paycheck. They have too much of the everyday things they want to buy. They have little spending power left after deductions for bills and credit repayments. As consumption falls, so has competitive advantage in production. USA and many Europe countries can no longer compete with the nascent Asian countries in manufacturing, information technology or agriculture. Even as their incomes fall, they are faced with rising expenditure relating to unemployment support, foreign trade deficits, and domestic social obligations.

The diminishing share of Africa's commodities in world trade is producing less slush funds both for the neo-colonials and for the local akotileta elite who rule the commodity-exporting countries on their behalf. With less slush funds, it is becoming more difficult for the neo-colonials to maintain the heavy military and diplomatic resources needed to provide "assistance" to the ruling akotileta. Scenting the opportunity, previously oppressed people are now rising to challenge years of misrule and corruption.

The disaffection in France is particularly acute. For decades, France sold the concept of "one motherland, many colors". The motherland of course was France. The many colors were not equal. Nonetheless, Africans from Mali to Gabon professed to being "french first before African". Equally, religious brainwashing caused Islam worshippers to think themselves "muslim first before African" and the Christian worshippers to think themselves "christian, full stop". Their combined colomentality continue to waste many initiatives aimed at facilitating a regional market in West Africa.

If nothing else, the recent events in Somalia, Rwanda, Sudan, Nigeria, Congo, Equitorial Guinea and Ivory Coast have helped remove the blight from the eyes of many Africans. By bombing the Ivorien military, France declared war on the country and compromised any "peace-keeping" excuses allowed their deployment by the UN. For its part, the UN has authorised France to use "any means neccessary" to contain the multi-tribal wars raging in IC. There have been six coups attempts herere since 1999. France now fights with its back to the proverbial wall. It is discredited with both government forces and rebel forces.

Just like USA in Iraq, France will almost certainly win a front-end confrontation with IC. However, it may find the cost of administering any subsequent peace exhorbitant. The same costs will apply to any misadventurous neo-colonialists scheming to step into France's soiled boots. The unhappy economics facing Europe and USA is the driving force behind the recent wave of aggressive foreign policy unto countries that fail to protect themselves. France is acting under the auspices of the wretched United Nations. USA and Britain is acting irrespective of the UN.

Eventually, the Africans will win encounters similar to Ivory Coast vs France. Then they still face the challenge of lopsided international markets. They can meet that challenge by building strong regional and continental trade among Africa's 700 million waiting customers.

Links: = France shows its real face = Analysis of the crisis = Cocoa farmer from Ivory Coast learns the economics of chocolate production = USA blocks intervention in Ivory Coast.

Kagbon Sefa, Teknologi, Ewerin ati Iwosan

Institute of Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine

To all who read this message,

I, Remi-Niyi Alaran, am sufficiently concerned about the future competitiveness of our people across Africa, to propose the following:

To set up a privately funded institute for research and development of products that directly address the educational and economic needs of the masses of our people. The focus is to be on science, technology, engineering and medicine (STEM).

The focus on STEM is intentional. This institute will aim to become an internationally competitive centre of excellence in the four research areas. To survive economically, the institute will aggressively aim to develop commercial enterprises based on its work.

Your contributions can help make this a world-standard research institute. This will assist in giving our youth a target at which to aim their ambitions for academic and enterprise progress. Hopefully, its excellence will help pull talented youth through the tattered education systems we currently witness across the continent.

A small plot of land in Western Nigeria has been donated to the institute: solutions must arise from the context of the problems we face, not from abroad. Also, a website is in progress. The Internet offers us a worldwide online forum for collaboration on the issues faced. It will be a medium for news and course content to be widely broadcast and received at relatively low cost.

This will be my life's work. As the poet Fela Anikulapo-Kuti once said: "Condition don reach make I act". Please email to to establish contact if you have the expertise or experience in:

# STEM research or enterprise
# Fabrication or manufacturing of machinery
# Chemical engineering and process industries
# Linux/network computer systems administration

We can and must make this work.
Africans need to be internationally competitive in STEM research and in the enterprises based on STEM research. Our future as a people depends on our ability and willingness to shape that future through investment in ourselves and our community.

Contribute what you can, and be proud of your heritage.

Remi-Niyi Alaran

Laisi Ariwo Rara, Akotileta Ti Ta Ile Run

The next firesale goes on, quietly

Very quietly; very, very quietly; two events happened in past fortnight (to 07 December 2004) that have significant implications for the future of Nigeria as a global power.

# NEPA was de-structured into six operating companies.
# BPE was restructured into five operations departments.

Both events were coordinated by USA Department of State, UK trade and development civil servants, IMF and World Bank officials who have been working within the Abuja, FCT offices of both NEPA and BPE for years.

NEPA is every Nigerians favorite whipping boy. The perennial complaint is there is never any consistent power supply. It has been analysed that the entire grid structure of the country will have to be replaced because the existing grid is of the wrong design. This writer thinks there should be numerous regionally decentralised grids rather than the present design of one nationally centralised super-grid. Doubtless some investors will obtain the contracts to manage the generating, distribution and service companies that will emerge from NEPA. It is less doubtful that any Nigerian companies will be appointed to these critical roles: they do not have international experience. Even if the current crop of seasoned engineers and senior management form a company, they will probably be overlooked.

It will be difficult for any country to develop large scale production capacity without reliable and AFFORDABLE electric power. Nigerians will hope that they do not share the experience of California, Venezuela, Britain, Canada, and ALL other economies that have privatised electricity. Their people now receive monthly shocks from their power bills.

The reorganisations at the Bureau of Privatisation of Enterprises is of utmost importance. The BPE holds the keys to Nigeria's future as a successful or failed country.

The BPE comes under the authority of Atiku Abubakar, the country's vice president and rumouredly, one of its richest businessmen. Nobody has ever released a corporate financial statement or private tax returns listing the great man's income, assets or directorships. There are no public financial records either for his boss, the president and millionaire farmer, Olusegun Obasanjo. Or for any of Nigeria's current or previous oligarchaic politicians and military rulers. But that is not the main issue here.

The main issue is that powers-that-be are bent on ensuring that Nigeria pushes through with transferring into assets that the Nigerian public collectively paid for over the years into control or ownership by the private sector. The batch of institutions lined up for the next firesale include NEPA, NNPC, NAA and the airports, Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigeria Stock Exchange, federal institutions of higher education, research institutes, and other core assets. Previously "failed" transfers like NITEL, Ajaokuta Steel works, NiPost and Nigeria Ports Authority will also be re-submitted. These were previously sold to "suit, suitcase, and suite" companies like Pentascope and Solgas. Those companies may well have their contracts renewed, as the akotileta government struggles to sell unfavoured assets into depressed world markets.

Nigeria may do well to ask why they consider themselves so smart when consecutive governments are getting away with sovereign murder.

Everything that is not rooted to the ground is being sold off. Even forestry rights are being sold off and farmland given away while government officials import basic foodstuff from all over the world. AT THIS RATE, NIGERIANS WILL SOON BECOME THE WORLD'S FIRST TOTALLY PREPAY ECONOMY. They will have to pay for their services twice, thrice, multiple times over, before they have any chance of using such services. Sometimes they will not get the services they paid such extortionate rates for. They will have nobody to complain to and no redress if they bother. Sounds like the GSM industry? Wait and see. The people in this country face the chilling prospect that, in a few year time, they will be taxed or charged to pay for national debts that are not secured by any national assets or national revenues.

If unchecked, the mugging going on may result in the entire country in slavery-plantation conditions. Current international market conditions are not appropriate for any country to be undertaking privatisations. Nigeria's assets are internationally denominated in USA dollars. That currency is in free fall in world markets. Yet its value is rising against the Naira in local markets. Why? Nigeria has to import everything and its trade is denominated in USD. So importers must buy USD no matter what.

Businesses are no better run or less corrupt just because they are operated by the private sector. Witness the meltdown of Enron (USA), Arthur Anderson (UK/USA), savings and loans industry (USA), railway privatisation (UK), pension funds (UK), Fannie Mae (USA), Common Agricultural Policy (EU) and other multi-billion private-sector frauds.

Even the average person knows that a time of penury is not the best time to seek a bank loan or negotiate a decent deal from a pawnbroker. The privatisation madness and economic liberalisation crassness should stop, if only to give Nigerians a chance to run their own affairs. The current management of many public companies slated for privatisation will do a decent job if the government gives them a management contract and then pays its way like any other consumer. History indicates that privatised ownership or control of Nigerian people's assets results in disdain and abuse of the people's interests. Already the beneficiaries of Nigerian Airways giveaway are saying that no Nigerian should expect a high level appointment in the Virgin Airways (UK).

Presumably, the president and senior government officials of Nigeria will shamelessly sit in first class while their people in coach class are "flitted" with deodorants and pesticides like dirty coachroaches on flights leaving the country.

The advocates of these mugging activities are dangerous to our national wealth. They would be roundly denounced in any sensible society and they would be forced to leave positons of such responsibility. But the intellectuals of this country are slavering over scraps just so they can feel priviledged.

Paradoxically, the privations may be the making ot the Nigerian people. The continued spate of privatisations will almost certainly remove the last vestiges of common interests from the populace. At last, the colonial-era construct may render and free its progressive elements to pursue alternative political arrangements. This need not be a BAD thing. Witness Somalia, so lawless since 1991 to date. It has the most connected telecommunications and air transport market in Africa, entirely because the lawlessness prevented akotileta governments from attaining national power. Somalia has the cheapest national and international calling rates in Africa. It takes three days to connect a landline telephone. Every warlord had to look after his people. So he allowed enterprises to thrive in this fiefdom and taxed them. The national airports destroyed? Warlords built private airstrips and jetties using Somalian engineers. Now that the country has a "president", nobody dares use foreign engineers to build roads, bridges, buildings, and other basic civil infrastructure. How unlike our Julius Berger capital!

Somalia has learnt the lessons of national strategic interests the hard way. If Somalia had oil, their engineers will dominate the oil sector. If they fix their airline, would you bet against Somalian pilots, crew and check-in staff? You CAN bet that no jumped-up foreigner will dare "flit" a flight to or from Somalia!



Remi-Niyi Alaran writes on enterprise and social capital.

Bi Eshe Le Hu Kanga

How to build a water well.

It is the 1st (ikini) of the Enterprising Communities series to be published by ALARAN DEVELOPMENT ENTERRISES. This series aims to assist African enterpreneurs in building business enterprises based on innovations in science, technology, engineering and medicine.

The next time any African introduces themselves to you as Engineer this or Engineer that, tell the wastrel to go dig a borehole for a village or fetch water with a bucket. Are you tired of fetching water with a bucket? The Enterprising Communities series shows you how to harvest rainwater...

Africa's home grown engineers are just not worth their professional title. That is what the Nigerian government thnks when it gives estimated 94pc of all engineering works to foreign consulting firms. From bridges to stadiums, from multi-storey buildings to GSM masts, from roads to wells, no local engineering firm is deemed sufficiently capable by national or state governments. These so-called engineers should redeem themselves.

There is talk of Chinese engineers building 598 water wells in eighteen Nigerian (18, meejoola) states - including Ogun, Oyo, Akwa Ibom and Abuja. Chinese Engineers digging boreholes in Nigeria?! Whatever happened to the yearly thousands of civil, mechanical, electrical, chemical B.Eng and M.Eng produced by higher institutions in these states? WATER WELLS, haba. People in the village have been building kaanga (water well) and shalanga (pit latrine) for aeons, without importing Chinese, Irish or Gabonese to provide "technical assistance".

This is a very serious matter. There is an oncoming GLOBAL shortage of clean water. In fact, scientists are predicting that future wars over water supplies will be more intense than current conflicts over crude oil supplies! Those who live in places where drinking water appears, from a centralised waterworks, wherever you open a tap will notice that their water bills are annually increasing at above-inflation rates. So everybody can benefit from knowing how to harvest water locally, cheaply, cleanly and efficiently.

Whether you live in the city or in the village, in the rain-soaked swamp or in the drought-stricken areas can still benefit from rainwater harvesting and from runoff water harvesting.


Requirements: corrugated roofing sheets, a filter made from a 50-litre plastic keg (optional), collector pipe (plastic), distribution pipe (plastic), and water butt The water butt can be above ground tank with a tap attached to it. Alternatively it may be below ground tank with a small handpump attached to it. Above-ground butts are easier to clean while below ground butts are better supported. Below ground butt may also be dug out tank with walls, bottom and top covered with cement/concrete.

1. Build your house with a sloping (A-style) roof design.

2, Cover the roof with strips of corrugated sheets. Make sure the bottom edge of sheets near the top cover the upper edge of the next lower sheet. Let the bottommost sheet overlap the edge of the roof.

3. Collector pipe: Cut off a section from some of your pipe so that the 0-shape becomes U-shape. Put the collector pipe along the length of your roof with the roof overhang inside the bowl of the U-shape.

4. Filter/Connector keg: Turn the keg upside down. Cut a hole in the side farthest from the sprout for insertion of the collector pipe. You may fold some clothing several times and tie to the collector pipe at its insertion point. This acts as a filter to prevent debris from the roof from entry your rainwater harvesting system. (lace curtains are excellent for this purpose). Attach the keg firmly to the side of your house. Place the bottom (capped) end of the keg over the entrance of the direction pipe. Remove the cap from the keg.

5. Direction pipe: Place one end over the end of the connector keg and place the other end OVER (not into) the top of he water butt.

6. When rain falls, let the initial rainfall flow away before inserting the directon pipe into the top of the water butt. In the heavy rainfall conditions experienced across most of sub-saharan region of Africa, you may find that a family of six can more-than-satisfy their domestic water needs from rainfall collected in this manner.

7. Rainwater is relatively pure compared to groundwater. If you regularly keep your roof and the collector pipe clear of debris, you may safely use this rainwater for washing clothes, flushing, body cleaning and other non-injested usages. It is recommended that the water be heated, and allowed to for some minutes, before drinking or cooking. Boiling kills pathogens that may be too small for you to see and yet they live in the water.

8. If an underground water butt is used, take care to ensure there are no pit latrines or sewage tanks in its vicinity. If in doubt, put the water butt on the opposite end of the house from any sewage facilities.

COMMENT: Anyone who has lived with a leaking roof will bear witness to the volumes of rainwater that can efficiently be collected with this system!


Farmers need lots of water for irrigation and animal husbandry. People in drought-stricken areas may need to walk several miles to find a water hole. Many Nigerians/Africans do not have tap-borne water in their homes. In all these cases, women and children are often tasked to walk miles in search of drinking water. They regularly carry loads of 3kg (mudu meeta) on their heads two to three times a day. Yet they live in places where rain falls heavily and runs off into gullies thereby causing severe erosion and loss of topsoil. This runoff rainwater can be harvested easily in rural areas or combined with the rainwater harvesting method discussed above.

Requirements: Cement/concrete; an open space about 2000 sq metres; water pump; wire gauze

1. Clear an area of 500sg metres in a corner of your space. Inside the clearing, dig a CIRCULAR-shape underground tank of radius 5 meters. Make it as deep as you like.

2. Cover the sides and bottom with cement blocks or concrete. The bottom should be covered. This is not a well that taps underground water. You don't want the water that you collect to drain away!

3.Make an indentation near the lip of the underground tank. This indentation may be 1.5 metres wide and about 0.5 metres below-ground-level at the inlet of the tank. So, the indentation is deepest at the inlet of the tank and becomes shallower until it reaches ground level. It will look like the pouring end of a jug. Now make 5 cement/concrete mini-slopes between the tank inlet and the "pouring" end. Each slope has a vertical face that is about 0.1 metres high. This face points away trom the tank. Cover the sides of the tanks and the indentation with cement/concrete so that it extends about 0.2metres above ground level. Now the indentation looks like the pouring end of a jug with teeth! Cover the indentation with wire gauze to prevent animals or debris from entering the tank.

4. Gradually slope the rest of the 1500sq metres towards the indentation of the tank. This is the collector funnel. Plant grass in this area, if you want to.

5. Security: Erect a small wooden fence around the tank and inlet area. Cover this fence with a thatch, wood, or corrugated iron roof. The fence and roof help prevent birds or roaming animals (including people) from falling into your tank. For additional security, erect another fence (no roof!) around the 2000sq metre area.

6. When rain falls, the collector funnel will direct it towards your underground tank. The grass, if any, will slow down the velocity of water so that it flows gently into the indentation. The grass will also filter small twigs, stones etc. The "teeth" of the indentation futher prevent small stones and other debris from entering the tank. Clean the teeth weekly during the rainy season.

7. Pump the water out. In places with clear skies and heavy rainfalls, sufficient water will collect here for farming purposes and for domestic use. Do not "fetch" water by dipping buckets, pails, etc into the water. This is to prevent contaminating the water. Invest in a handpump or buy a mechanical powered pump. You should charge a small fee for use of this waterworks in order to afford the cost of construction, operation and replacement pumps, etc. It's a business.

Static water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes. But do not poison the water by pouring kerosene or insecticide or any other chemicals in the tank to "kill the mosquitoes!". Instead consider putting a wooden or concrete slab directly over the rim of the tank to cut off air supply. The slab should have one to three grooves of 10cm diameter cut into it to allow overflow of the tank. Cover groove(s) with wire gauze. Get that person that calls themselves engineer to help you.

Some places suffer from chemically toxic rainfall e.g places with heavy flaring of gas or burning of waste. The method described in this document for harvesting rainwater will not be appropriate in such places.

Always boil water before drinking or cooking. Se omi kee to mu abi jeun.

Remi-Niyi Alaran writes on enterprise and social capital.

You may copy, transmit, or otherwise use this document provided the copyright notice is attached.

Ibiti Owo Ise Wa Nigbati Ashewo NEEDS Lati Sope Owo Tan

How to raise business finance when the bank NEEDS to say no

It is the 2nd (ikeji) of the Enterprising Communities series to be published by ALARAN DEVELOPMENT ENTERRISES. This series aims to assist African enterpreneurs in building business enterprises based on innovations in science, technology, engineering and medicine.

A person who works in a bank is a worker, not a banker. It is the people who own (equity shares in) the bank that are bankers. The Enterprising Communities series shows you how to raise funds for an enterprise in your community, when the bank and its workers only want to buy and sell foreign exchange . . .

These days, it is likely that the bank located in your community NEEDS to do business mainly with multinational enterprises. An examination of the structure of enterprise economy in many African countries reveals three distinct layers: the multinational trading companies; a small middle tier of brokers, and vendors of non-tradable services; and a vast community of family-controlled enterprises. Only the multinationals can readily do business with our banks, precisely because the multinationals have access to vast capital resources of their own. They use the banks only to pay local employees, suppliers and brokers.

The banks for their part think they are too big for the community enterprises. Rather than investing in and supporting community enterprises with appropriate lending, savings and leasing schemes, our banks are attuned to become "globally competitive". As a whole, Africa generates some 5pc of global trade. There are regional development authorities or states elsewhere with far greater impact on global trade flows. For example, the land mass of all of Western Europe will fit within the borders of Sudan alone. But financially, all of Sudan is smaller than Birmingham UK or Birmingham USA. In the same vein, Texas USA generates some 30pc of USA's USD 3 trillion GDP. That is more than productivity of all Africa other than Nigeria and South Africa. Yet the main operations of our banks rarely extend beyond fishing for deposits, round-tripping of foreign currency, and daisy-chaining of import-export financing letters. These banks make it difficult for community enterprises to operate bank accounts. They don't want you dirtying their marble floor-to-ceiling lobbies. As a result, many enterprises do their business in cash. They buy, sell, lend and collect cash payments. Businesspeople travel with large sums of cash. Politicians settle issues with bags of cash. Major capital expenditures are financed in cash. Only a small portion of this cash enters the formal banking system.

Here then is a guide to raisng funds for community enteprises.

Many middle-tier enterprises conduct the bulk of their business with one or two trade suppliers. It is not uncommon that 70pc to 80pc of supplies for your beer brokerage comes from one supplier. Community enterprises tend to have a more varied distribution of suppliers and customers. Your metal-working workshop may source wrought iron from any number of metal vendors and sell ornamental gates to any number of home-improvers. These trading patterns signify three vibrant sources of business funding for your enterprise, without you needing to exhange dirty looks with a bank worker: vendor finance, supplier finance, and customer prepay finance.

Vendor finance is when the manufacturer of a product gives you some time to sell the product before you pay the manufacturer. The longer you have traded with a manufacturer, the better terms of this "credit" you will likely get. Vendor finance is not likely from your local bukateria (restaurant) where the product is consumed immediately, is not fungible, and is not recoverable. In fact you may see a prominent display that signals "Do not ask for credit as refusal often offends". You should request vendor finance from manufacturers of products that are durable, relatively expensive, and are physically discrete. Such products include stoves, water tanks, car parts, and houses. Although the product is in your possession, its ownership remains with the manufacturer until it is sold. If you are unable to sell the product as agreed, the manufacturer is able to recover the product from your possession and try a more successful trader.

Supplier finance is when a wholesaler, importer or other big trading company supplies you with products or services and gives you some time before you have to pay. This type of financing is the most common in many business-to-business transactions in African markets. Usually ownership and control responsibility for the products become yours. You usually have to pay your supplier when your credit period is due, whether or not you have succeeded in selling the products. Supplier financing tends to cover products with same properties as vendor finance.

Customer prepay finance is when your customer pays before you release your goods and services. This is the type of financing most commonly available to the owner-manager of a bukateria, butchers, small hotel and other open market community enterprises. Interestingly, it is the becoming the most preferred payment mechanism deployed by multinational trading enterprises in African markets. Many Africans do not have credit records or bank accounts. They do not own bank cards or credit cards. They do not own passports or identity cards. They may not even have discernable addresses, as there are no centralised street maps or postal codes. Yet, multinationals know there is plenty-plenty money to be made in your community. Solution: they sell you prepayment cards which you then use, instead of credit or debit cards, to pay for their products.

So how applicable are these funding sources in helping your business enterprise?

You may get vendor finance if your business is resale of capital goods. You should find supplier financing is readily accessible if you deal in fast moving consumer goods. You are already getting customer prepay finance if your business trades on "money for hand" basis. Of course, combinations of all three business financing sources is possible.

When you have ambitions to grow your product-based business, you should consider offering vendor or supplier finance to your business customers. You may be pleased to find significant increases in business volume compensate for delays in getting your cash up-front. You will need to communicate more with your buyers and help develop their business e.g by identifying emerging markets for your products. Do not offer vendor or supplier finance to home consumers.

If your business provides services to a wide range of end-user customers, you should consider introducing a prepayment accounts system tiered to price discounts. For example, you run a restaurant, hotel or mechanic workshop and want to expand your business but don't have the money. Your customers always tell you they really appreciate your food, room service, or car tuning. They only wish you were closer to where they live or work. Bless them. Tell them you want to open a shop near them and are offering discounts on any of your shops to those who pay in advance. Offer 5pc to 10pc discounts for 13weeks or 6months prepayments, respectively. Always issue a computer-printed prepayment voucher that proclaims this offer, and issue a receipt. Use the money to build and furnish your shop. This is the way multinationals fund their GSM "foreign" investments: it is the community paying. Hardly any new money is brought into the community. You can do it too, and you don't need a bank. You only need your regular customers.

Finally, you are advised to invest in information systems to keep track of your growing business, your suppliers, your products and services, and your customers more efficiently. Giving your suppliers and customers computer-generated records improves the profile of your business. Using information systems also helps you to monitor your income and expenditure, profits and losses, and cash flows, so that you know in advance when your enterprise will need money. You really need to plan your business better.

Remi-Niyi Alaran writes on enterprise and social capital.

You may copy, transmit, or otherwise use this document provided the copyright notice is attached.

Yamuyamu: Ajagun Ofurufu Ti Shopona

Shopono's stealth fighter-bomber: the mosquito

the malaria business

Ise Agbe Ile Osan Ju Owo To Ra Onji Ode

Sustainable farming by local farmers, please

Aja ti ko ba gbo fere odee, o nfi ku shere: the (hunting) dog that does not hear the hunter's whistle plays with its death.

Interesting that migrants are being invited from all over the world to help fulfil the agriculture component of this government's wretched NEEDS programme. Thought one should cast some detail on why Zimbabwe's outcasts should not be invited by the Akotileta to farm land anywhere in Africa and especially Nigeria.

Firstly, it is important to note the significance of the assertion that, on "independence" the colonials merely handed their estates for safekeeping to its house-servants. In Asia the field-hands are resuming control of their economies. Elsewhere, the colonials are reestablising proxy control of the assets they left behind.

Secondly, there is no reasoning with the Akotileta in government throughout Africa. Progressive people really need to rise above their s/elected governments who insist in looking to foreign "investors" at the expense of home sufficiency.

On to farming...

Large-scale, commercial farming is a capital and labour intensive business. In the oyinbo countries in US/EU, farming is also heavily subsidised: it is estimated that the EU spends approx eight times more to subsidise each cow than it spends on aid in Africa, about Euro 300. Under the Common Agric Policy, EU farmers are paid to NOT grow food because they otherwise grow too much and further depress world prices. Even with these subsidies, a lot of their excess production is dumped in Africa or "sold" as aid to countries. The effect of this dumping is to remove market incentive of local farmers to cultivate land. One of the dump sites is Nigeria, which imports just about every foodstuff you can imagine apart from cassava and yam.

Much of the farming in US/EU is controlled by the big food processors such as Cargill and Del Monte, the Bigpharmas such as Glaxo and Roche, chemical companies such as Dow Chemical and ICI, and the seed producers such as Syngenta. The biggest 10 seed companies control some 30pc of world grain supply. They have invested in producing seeds that are pest-resistant, and require lots and lots and lots of chemical fertilizer and mechanically controlled irrigation systems, as well as expensive mechanical equipment for planting, harvesting, storage, and distribution investment. These seeds are known in the trade as "terminator seeds" because their root structures and their heavy addiction to chemical fertilizers prevent any other plants, so called weeds, from growing near them.

Terminator seeds also germinate only once. This means that farmers need to go back to the seed producers every year to get new stock. The farmers have contracts to buy seeds from seedCos; contracts to buy fertilizer from chemCos; and contracts to sell their produce to the processors who supply the likes of WalMart, KFC and McD. Needless to say, subscale farmers who do not quality for subsidies get a raw deal most of the time while large landowners are some of the richest peope in US/EU. Some smaller farmers band together to form co-operatives in order to afford seeds or processing machinery and exercise better bargaining power with customers.

What does this all have to do with Zimbabwe/SA farmers coming to Nigeria? When in southern Africa, many of these farmers were in cooperatives that have contracts to supply flowers or grapes or fresh fruit to the UK/EU market. Due to their contracts, they try not to produe any more than their processors can accommodate - hence the large tracts of "set-aside" land that created such rumpus in Zimbabwe. They did not farm the land or allow it to be farmed by the nationals. Their farming investments are not oriented to feeding their host communities. They produce few valuable jobs and retain very little capital in the local economy. The cooperatives refused to allow black farmers as members before or after apartheid in much of southern Africa.

The Akotileta in Nigeria have passed a lot of laws to attract FDI. Many of these laws impact very hard on progressive businesses and production capacity in the country. The little FDI that comes to Nigeria is now directed via the descendants of the Cecil Rhodes generation controlling MTN, Protea, AfricaOne, etc and their counterparts controlling the oil sector.

The s/elected wasters in power do not appreciate that Nigerians will have an incentive to produce their own food and drink if cheaper products are not dumped into the country. Even the farms and businesses belonging to these "leaders" are managed by asians or south Africans.

The cooperative business model is one that holds a lot of potential for progressive entrepreneurs throughout Africa. There is not-a-lot to learn from foreign farmers in the commercialised farm business because black farmers are unlikely to get supply contracts from EU buyers. Africans need to focus on food sufficiency and security within the continent. There is no need to destroy African farmland with the intensive methods described above. If you want to assist African farmers in resisting the antics of the Akotileta and their paymasters, organise cooperatives for your local farmer community. Invest in processing equipment to raise the value-added component. This will bring your community higher prices. Target the African market, and. . .

Do not allow bad seeds to set root in your ancestral land.

Remi-Niyi Alaran writes on enterprise and social capital.

You may copy, transmit, or otherwise use this document provided the copyright notice is attached.

How Africa NEEDS t'AGOA'bout competing in this NEPAD age.

How Africa NEEDS t'AGOA'bout competing in this NEPAD age.

African businesses must sometimes feel they are being led to slaugther. For many, the firm belief is that the economic policies emanating from our governments have significantly removed both government subsidies and eroded private sector purchasing power. Yet, African businesses can turn the flood of misguided policies into as source of competitive advantage, with a change in market and cultural orientation.

Are we being led to slaughter? Are those appointed to lead our flock selling us to the butchers? Do the butchers intend to take payment in our flesh and blood? Home-grown analysts of the terms under which African businesses engage in international trade, may wsll answer yes, yes and yes. We have the power. We must have the will. We must also frustrate the actions of those who assign a low-value role to our interests in international trade

Those who celebrate religions by symbolically cannibalising their orisha need not worry; this article is not about blind faith. Rather it is about misguided and downright treacherous agitations about economic progress.

The National Economic Empowermeent and Development Strategy (NEEDS) programme of the Nigerian government will not deliver either economic prosperity or social stability to the Nigerian people. The marketing is slick but this is stale wine in new packaging.
The programme is wrong because the model it is based on is unreplicable and because it is inimical to the progressive interests of Nigerians.

Let us distinguish the stakeholders in NEEDS. The proclaimed primary beneficiaries are the Nigerian people. This programme will supposedly deliver the people from economic dependence on elected government by privaising all public owned institutions. The operators of NEEDS are the government officials, mainly in the financial sector and multilateral agencies, particularly the IMF, the WB and the Clubs of moneylenders. The sponsors of NEEDS are the international community of international governments and companies who will gain trading benefits from transacting in newly liberalised markets.

NEEDS proclaims: export driven trade, full employment, transparent accountancy, etc. It does not address the cultural, military and social is built on a model with the following premises:
# All countries should industrialise along the European model, so industrial-age technology must be transferred to Nigerians;
# Domestic savings should fund acquisition and application of technology; high interest rates will encourage people to save their funds in the banks;
# The national savings rate is low, so foreign aid and foreign investment must be procured;
# Much industrial-age technology is now obsolete, so foreign technical assistance must be retained to implement technological breakthroughs and assist Nigeria to leap-frog gaps in domestic technical capability;

savings. encouraging people to build savings in order to afford labour-saving machinery, use industrial technologies in creating jobs, manufacturing and exporting goods so that Nigeria and Africa must follow an alternative route to socio-economic improvement than that mapped by the sponsors of NEEDS. The structure of economic opportunity is
State aim of needs. Proposed implementation of needs. Likely impact of implementation. Non-needs alternative

Nigeria needs to succeed
But development isn't just a question of making markets and economic policy work better. We now know that investing in people - in their health and nutrition, and in their education and training - is an indispensable part of good economic policy. - Tony Blair, Britain leader.

Remi-Niyi Alaran writes on enterprise and social capital.

You may copy, transmit, or otherwise use this document provided the copyright notice is attached.

Anfi Owosinu Ise kekeke

Enterprising Communities 3: Investing in Informal Sector Enterprises

This is the 3rd (ikeeta) of the Enterprising Communities series to be published by ALARAN DEVELOPMENT ENTERRISES. This series aims to assist African enterpreneurs in building business enterprises based on innovations in science, technology, engineering and medicine.



Attempts to build stock exchanges, venture capital funds, and other 'sophisticated' investment structures are unlikely to mobilise the economies of less developed countries, until the informal business sector is empowered with professional business and financial management. An enterprise community reduces the risk of participating in informal businesses and offers a viable mechanism for funding and operating much-needed utility infrastructure.

The informal sector accounts for some 70pc – 90pc of productive capability in many national economies. Yet it can be difficult for informal sector enterprises [ISE] to access outside investment funds or management resources:

# Informality: ISE are not registered with the relevant jurispudence as limited liability companies. There is no separation between enterprise assets and personal assets. The persons who own or control an ISE are directly and jointly held responsible for its liabilities. The lack of separation between ownership and control makes it difficult for outside investors to sanction the activities of owner-managers.

# Restricted ownership: Many ISE are funded with investment participations of five or fewer persons, usually members of same family. The ability to raise investment is restricted to the financial means of family members and to internally generated revenues.

# Restricted professional management: It is difficult for ISE to source a full complement of professional management from the pool of owner-managers. Professional managers work best in enterprises with discernible career paths, meritocratic compensation systems, and support for continuous development of technical capabilities.

# Limited accountability: Many ISE lack sufficient organisational transparency. Where produced, financial records are used primarily as planning tools, rather than for control purposes. Financial accountability is mainly limited to internal stake-holders, who are unlikely to be self-censoring.

The predominance of ISE presents a problem for the provision of utility infrastructure in social economies that do are unable to support the hub fund investment model (see below). In particular, economies of many so-called 'less developing countries' may lack professional business or fund management, formal funds or enterprises, and sophisticated investors.

The Enterprise Community structure

An Enterprise Community is a structure for coordinating participation of interested persons and ISE in the business of infrastructure provision. Enterprise communities are not investment funds. Rather, an enterprise community is an association of ISE that contribute operational expertise to implementation of infrastructure projects. A technically competent enterprise sponsors an enterprise community principally as a means of subcontracting specific project activities to ISE with relevant expertise. The technical sponsor supplies professional management resources. In all other aspects, an enterprise community is organised similarly to the classic special project entity with its own revenues, liabilities and assets.


The technical sponsor owns the ordinary equity in an enterprise community. However, control of ordinary equity is exercised jointly, via holdings of one equal voting right each, by all the involved ISE, the technical sponsor, and any outside equity investors.

An enterprise community obtains funding by issue of equity or loan investment participations, and by customer prepayment financing. Participations are marketed to and held, under pre-agreed conditions, by the involved ISE, the technical sponsor, and other sophisticated persons such as financial services businesses. Participations carry no voting rights, but provide holders with distribution rights in profits or assets of the enterprise community.

The combination of voting rights and investment participation gives ISE and outside investors in enterprise communities a very high degree of public accountability, democratic control, and risk management flexibility. Depending on specifics of the enterprise community agreement, all holders of voting rights decide collectively for each proposed utility infrastructure: whether a project should be undertaken; which ISE should be involved in specific project tasks; the infrastructure usage and pricing levels; and what proportion of profits should be distributed or retained as reserves. The technical sponsor then coordinates the implementation process.

Even as they remain voting members of an enterprise community, ISE and investors have flexibility of deciding which infrastructure projects to contribute to. This is unlike HFIS that force investors to participate in any undertakings chosen by the fund manager, and force portfolio companies to accept money from any investor who happens to contribute to the managed fund.

Regulation and Compliance
An enterprise community is a wholly owned business division or subsidiary of its technical sponsor. The business of the technical sponsor is provision of infrastructure solutions, services or manufactured goods. The purpose of an enterprise community is sharing of business risks. The risks and rewards are undertaken collectively by all participants. Under pre-agreed terms, the entire enterprise community shares control of revenues, liabilities and assets. For these reasons, there is no need for external regulation of enterprise communities.

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The Hub Fund Investment structure

The hub fund investment structure [HFIS] centres around a collective investment fund. The fund has a manager, and a group of highly sophisticated investors who contribute money to the fund. The investors are required to leave their money in the fund under pre-agreed conditions. They are strongly informed of risk factors that may result in loss of all their invested funds and receive no guarantee of obtaining sufficient financial returns on investment. The money from different investors are pooled into a number of discrete funds, and professional fund managers invest the funds into a number of professionally managed portfolio enterprises. Depending on its mandate, the fund invests in ownership of entire-equity (the private equity model) or medium-long term ownership of partial equity (the investment fund model) or short-term trading of securities in quoted entities (the arbitrage fund model) or in loan issuances (the debt investment fund).

Customer relationship management is the responsibility of individual enterprises in which the fund has invested. The fund, itself, has little or no direct relationship with end-user customers. Control over financial resources of funds is heavily centralised with the manager. Investors, customers and businesses have little control over the deployment of fund money, even though some investors may be appointed as non-executive officers to oversee fund activities. Conversely, the fund manager has strong impact on deployment of fund monies.

HFIS are generally regulated as financial services providers. They need to be regulated because of the many degrees in separation of ownership and control involved in this highly differentiated business model. The funds are owned by investors but controlled by professional fund managers who receive compensation in performance bonuses and in percentages of funds under management.

The portfolio companies are owned by their shareholders, including HFIS, and controlled by professional business managers, who receive compensation in performance bonuses and in salaries.

Government-oriented regulation is imposed in order to protect the interests of investors and shareholders. These providers of funds are not always business or fund managers, and may lack ability to measure the performance or technical competency of either set of professional managers.

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Benefits to Informal Sector Enterprises

The enterprise community structure yields significant benefits to ISE businesses. Associating together increases the scale and scope of markets, funding, and professional skills available to each individual ISE. Increased integration and accountability that arises from project involvement also exposes ISE to the benefits of having professional management, clearly defined business models, and competitive trading practises. Syndicated funding or expertise makes larger utility infrastructure affordable close to the region where ISE are already based. In turn, affordable access to utility infrastructure can help make ISE businesses more cost-effective and competitive.

Remi-Niyi Alaran writes on enterprise and social capital.

You may copy, transmit, or otherwise use this document provided the copyright notice is attached