Pools of Challenges and Pockets of Brilliance

June 29, 2013

As I travel for work around different parts of the world from the developed economies to emerging markets and frontier markets, I see the same problems manifesting in different parts of the world. I see the growing divide between the rich and the poor, the growing tensions between governments and citizens as trust and confidence some of the so called growing economies of the frontier/emerging markets where investors tout GDP % growth of greater 6%, yet the disposable income of the so called middle class is shrinking, there are increasing levels of unemployment (jobless growth) and social unrest, nations experiment with democracy then demand the ousting of their elected leaders through non democratic means, a continent that is the last bastion of natural resources still struggles with true integration across artificial borders created
by legacy colonialists and the neo colonialists from the East seek to profit from a divided continent.

I have seen a country that is blessed with diamonds, a population of less that 2 million and perhaps some of the world’s finest beaches still receive over 90% of its government budget from international aid, a presidential election conducted 6 months ago in a nation of gold is still being contested with millions of dollars being spent and yet many kids go hungry for food and maternal mortality is over 30%, a nation that exports crude and flares natural gas, has 4 refineries yet imports refined crude and is in darkness over 80% of the time due to lack of electricity, a rainbow nation whose banking and telecommunications giants profligate sub Sahara Africa and yet still continues to be one of the most difficult places to set up similar non indigenous entities.

Often times I do come across pockets of brilliance that inspire me, the woman who gives her life to change a child’s life by using her income to send poor children to school, organizations that seek to spend billions/year to support girls education in parts of Africa, and fight malaria and tuberculosis across the globe, a visionary leader that creates a 21st century city in 25 years from the sands of the desert, a nanny who cares so much about children, she could be mistaken as the mother of the children she has been entrusted with, a Nation that constantly rally’s around victims of natural disaster, giving untold amounts to aid those in need, company’s that create technology to enable billions of people to communicate and collaborate to solve the world’s problems, the special needs teacher in North America that has the patience and compassion to work with difficult special needs children, the man who could have been a London City investment banker chooses to create a fund to support agriculture and small scale farmers in the heart of West Africa, the Oxford trained attorney who has dedicated her life to fight slavery and sexual exploitation in the Far East, the Vietnamese man that leaves his premier global consulting job to help grow rice in an emerging economy with a burgeoning population.

It is almost as if the more “sophisticated” we become across the world, the more problems we create, perhaps simplicity is the answer, if we are willing to solve the smallest problems, we face each day, thinking not of our self interest but the interest of others, we can solve the most pressing needs of our global community…perhaps
this is what the Heavens require, perhaps this is the down payment They put in man and thus demand a return on investment to solve the myriad of problems that plague the 21st century world…perhaps.

Karl Omatsola, June 2013

Comments are closed.