Fiifi had the privilege of sitting next to an unassuming man in a flight from Atlanta Georgia to Accra. Mr. Gregory was in his mid fifties, a devout family man and quite friendly. He would later come to discover that the man sitting next to him in the economy class section was a multimillionaire with huge investments in the oil and gas and banking sector. He was on his way to access some business prospects which have been pitched to him by his investment advisers.
During his conversation with Mr. Gregory, Fiifi asked what his views were on why some nations prosper whilst others don’t. The answer he gave to him came as a complete shock. “There are subtle things that prevent a nation from prospering. You remember that famous adage of the little foxes who destroy the vine right?” Mr. Gregory said.
I was recently catching up with Fiifi over dinner and was equally shocked when he shared the simple truths about nations which won’t prosper. I have tried to remember them as much as possible. I hope you enjoy them:
They Cannot Take Care of Their Waste
‘A nation which cannot handle its own waste effectively will eventually end up becoming a waste themselves’ said Mr. Gregory.
Prosperity always has a way of avoiding filth. As long as a nation does not control their waste, they will never attain the ability to generate any significant wealth.
For wherever two or more waste is gathered, poverty is in their midst. If a nation can’t keep waste off the streets, it won’t be able to keep wealth in their pockets.
There is lack of order
It is not so difficult to spot a nation which will be remaining on the payroll of poverty for a very long time. Just check how they drive on the roads. They have no respect for driving rules. Their law enforcement agencies even look on when traffic rules are being bent and can sometimes afford to smile.
Motor cycles cause lot of accidents and nuisance on the roads, commercial drivers stop anywhere, and most cars would have outlived their usefulness, yet by some sheer miracle, they are able to still remain on the roads.
Road intersections (with frequent malfunctioning traffic lights) are scenes for the vulgar. You will witness fights, screaming’s, swearing and thick road blocks because none of the drivers is willing to let the other pass. What could be resolved by common sense will last for hours unending.
People build anyhow, and site petrol and gas stations right in the middle of residential areas. Though the glaring consequence is evident to all, nothing will be done about it .As far as they have the money, they can easily get away with anything.
When you see these signs, know that such nations will not prosper
They Have Lots of Uncompleted Projects
One key characteristic stands out among poor countries. They have a huge collection of uncompleted projects, ranging from buildings, schools, roads, etc.
If you trace why projects are not completed, you are likely to discover that it is due to lack of continuity. Every new leader wants to start a new project and have the sole bragging rights that “I did it”. Halfway within the project, funds run out, the leader eventually go out of power, a new leader emerges and instead of continuing the project, he will also start new projects with the limited tax payer’s money, continuing the never ending vicious cycle.
If your nation has a huge array of uncompleted projects, it is a sign that you have a signed up to Poverty’s masterclass.
‘Broke’ Corruption Is Rampant
I must emphasize that corruption is everywhere, even in the most developed countries like mine, Mr. Gregory chuckled. There is however a vast difference in how it is executed. For the developed countries, what they lose through corruption is far less than the revenue they generate, so their net wealth is still good. Poor countries however lose more through corruption than the total revenue they generate. Hence they become virtually broke through corruption.
They Take Pride in Consumption Instead Of Creation
Poor nations take more pride in what they can consume instead of what they can create.
The Asians have shown the way that there is no need to reinvent the wheel. If the West comes up with a technology they’re interested in, they send their children to school and study at the West, and get to work with the firms who have the technology. After a while, they return home to put the knowledge and experience to use. After a couple of inferior replications, they are finally able to replicate the technology and sometimes improve on it. Take the mobile phone industry and automobile industries as examples
Meanwhile nationals from poor nations also get the opportunity to study in the West, after working for a while, their priority is to rather come and show off the gadgets, instead of replicating the technology. It is all about showing off in town in their latest cars, expensive phones and dining at exquisite restaurants. What a pity.
So in summary, if a nation really wants to come out of poverty, they must trigger the creative prowess God endowed them with, and if they cannot create, at least they can copy correctly, just as the Asians.
They Love Titles More than Achievements
One thing which will kill poor nations apart from their poverty is the insatiable love for titles and vain recognitions. At this stage Mr. Gregory couldn’t help but laugh uncontrollably whilst shaking his head. Fiifi could even see tears in the noble man’s eyes. Achievements don’t matter at all, he said. It is always all about the length of the titles which comes before your name. A dumb person with enough degrees and titles will always be preferred to a genius without the matching titles.
During recruitment or promotions, a candidate who has a proven track record of achievements is overlooked for someone who has the titles.
We have many people parading all sorts of titles without the slightest idea of what the title entails. It is because unfortunately they see the titles as achievements anyway. People in poor nations are so obsessed with titles and status to the point that they have virtually become statues, ineffective and doing nothing in the roles they take so much pride in.
Fiifi would have loved to hear more on this subject from Mr. Gregory, but it was obvious the man was tired and needed to catch some sleep. He was kind enough to give Fiifi his business card and asked him to link up over the weekend to hang out with his business partners. My man Fiifi, savvy as he is, has already put some business ideas to pitch before Mr. Gregory over the weekend. You can’t blame him can you? Boys must look sharp
I believe that as you reflect on these simple truths shared by Mr. Gregory, you will be able to relate to them and amend your ways if need be.
From the desk of ROL©
NB:image credit:Google images