Originally Published on: Quartz Africa
As a child, my friend Fola was good at math and excelled in the sciences and he wanted to be an engineer. But losing both his parents before the age of 15 changed everything. He was forced to adapt to a new and limited scope of opportunities available to him, both academically and financially. As he did, he learned how to deal with the trauma, adversity and setbacks and he built a high level of resilience. There are so many people like Fola who are bright and motivated, but due to challenging circumstances may not have a typical CV or resumé listing the universities they attended and the financial firms where they’ve worked. What if their CVs could instead focus on the things they learned from their actual “course of life”?
Only 7% of Africa’s youth gets into university, most job vacancy postings block out anyone without a university degree
For Fola, his CV would show how he had learned to deal with hardship at an early age; how he’d developed higher level of emotional intelligence from sharing a new home with a dozen cousins run by a no-nonsense great aunt; and how he developed a remarkable level of drive and motivation towards his goals. Those are all skills that would serve him well in the workplace. There are many people like Fola seeking work across Africa. In 2015, 226 million youth aged 15-24 lived on the continent, and that rate is expected to double by 2055. In many Sub-Saharan African countries, half of the population is under age 18. Youth unemployment is so pervasive that attendees of the recent annual meeting of the African Development Bank in late May made it a policy priority. While only about 7% of the youth population across Africa gets into university, most job vacancy postings block out anyone without a university degree, no matter what other marketable skills they possess. In countries like Nigeria, the education system is so broken, and failing to deliver on its promise of developing basic literacy, numeracy, and critical thinking skills, that employers place an even higher premium on a “good education” and what that must mean about someone’s ability to learn and succeed on the job. This kind of screening process not only negatively affects many potential employees but also employers. According to a 2014 National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) survey, the skills employers most want when they are deciding which new college graduates to hire are the ability to work well in a team, to make decisions and to solve problems.
We do need more persons with degrees in Africa, but it should not be, by default, the top criteria for job selection.
In my work at West Africa Vocational Education (WAVE)—getting unemployed young Nigerians ready for the workplace and connecting them to entry-level jobs—I meet with employers all the time, and I ask them what makes a successful employee. The answer usually focuses on character, behavior and soft skills, not a university degree. This means that many employers are missing out on potential talent because the candidates lack the university credentials or type of work experience the employer thinks they must have. This is not to say that obtaining a university degree is not important, we do need more persons with degrees in Africa, but it should not be, by default, the top criteria for job selection. To rectify this practice, we need to see industry-wide commitments from employers to engage in more socially-inclusive hiring practices that do not discriminate against young people because of their lack of job experience or degrees, but give them credit for valuable life skills.
Throw out degrees!
Companies like Ernst & Young, PWC, and Penguin have already made bold steps in that direction, doing away with academic and education details in their application processes and attempting to level the playing field for talented individuals regardless of their background. They will now use online assessments to judge the potential of applicants. Fortunately more companies are joining the shift to this new policy of throwing out the degree and shifting to competencies. From the employee side, unemployed youth can become more attractive to prospective employers by gaining skills like problem-solving, effective communication and time management through bridge programs that focus on training and apprenticeship. While they may have to start with minimum pay and earn while they learn, if they stick it out, they can work their way up the experience, skill and income ladders.
More companies are joining the shift to this new policy of throwing out the degree and shifting to competencies.
In Nigeria, there are some successful programs doing just this. WAVE Academies gets low-income unemployed youth ready for work and connects them to entry-level service jobs. Andela pays graduates a healthy income during their software development skills training program and places them with top technology companies worldwide as full-time team members. These models have the potential to eventually connect millions of young people to skills-linked to jobs, regardless of whether or not they have a university degree. And this is sorely needed given that Nigeria’s youth unemployment rate currently stands somewhere between 50% and 56%. Governments can also help by connecting young people to credible skills providers and creating bursaries to financially assist the most disadvantaged youth in attending those programs that demonstrate successful employment outcomes. An example worth borrowing is that of the City of Johannesburg’s partnership with Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator, focused on connecting 200,000 to economic opportunities in 2016 alone. Harambee sources, screens, assesses and prepares first-time jobseekers for work, matching them to suitable work opportunities.
The Gates Foundation was described as a shell for tax avoidance by philanthropist and accounting expert, Sheldon Drobny.
Techrights has collected evidence that shows the same and will organize it here. Through the foundation, Bill, Melinda and Microsoft maintain pharmaceutical patent investments, tobacco investments, investments in alcoholic beverages, petroleum investments, investments in experimental and controversial crops, and even investments in news/media. Gates need not even pay tax, though he keeps control of the assets and uses that control to influence private and public policy. Money talks and politicians can in turn be persuaded to buy from Microsoft. This dependence/lock-in cascades down to businesses and homes, creating a revenue stream that would not exist in a free market. Gates is also able to bring public money to himself through energy and public health policy. As Gates has diversified, his corrupting influence has spread to other portions of the economy. We have provided extensive evidence for the above claims in many past summaries which include the following (sorted in chronological order although we took a much closer look in later years). As Techrights will report fraud in other areas as it is discovered.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) is dangerously and unaccountably distorting the direction of international development, according to a new report by the campaign group Global Justice Now. With assets of $43.5 billion, the BMGF is the largest charitable foundation in the world. It actually distributes more aid for global health than any government. As a result, it has a major influence on issues of global health and agriculture.
‘Gated Development – Is the Gates Foundation always a force for good?’ argues that what BMGF is doing could end up exacerbating global inequality and entrenching corporate power globally. Global Justice Now’s analysis of the BMGF’s programmes shows that the foundation’s senior staff are overwhelmingly drawn from corporate America. As a result, the question is: whose interests are being promoted – those of corporate America or those of ordinary people who seek social and economic justice rather than charity?
The report raises a series criticisms including:
1) The relationship between the foundation and Microsoft’s tax practices. A 2012 report from the US Senate found that Microsoft’s use of offshore subsidiaries enabled it to avoid taxes of $4.5 billion, a sumgreater than the BMGF’s annual grant making ($3.6 billion in 2014).
2) The close relationship that BMGF has with many corporations whose role and policies contribute to ongoing poverty. Not only is BMGF profiting from numerous investments in a series of controversial companies which contribute to economic and social injustice, it is also actively supporting a series of those companies, including Monsanto, Dupont and Bayer through a variety of pro-corporate initiatives around the world.
3) The foundation’s promotion of industrial agriculture across Africa, pushing for the adoption of GM, patented seed systems and chemical fertilisers, all of which undermine existing sustainable, small-scale farming that is providing the vast majority of food security across the continent.
4) The foundation’s promotion of projects around the world pushing private healthcare and education. Numerous agencies have raised concerns that such projects exacerbate inequality and undermine the universal provision of such basic human necessities.
5) BMGF’s funding of a series of vaccine programmes that have reportedly lead to illnesses or even deaths with little official or media scrutiny.
Polly Jones the head of campaigns and policy at Global Justice Now says:
“The Gates Foundation has rapidly become the most influential actor in the world of global health and agricultural policies, but there’s no oversight or accountability in how that influence is managed. This concentration of power and influence is even more problematic when you consider that the philanthropic vision of the Gates Foundation seems to be largely based on the values of corporate America.
Please read this and ask yourself, is this really going to benefil corporate America in the long-term? What about the future of our American children, grand-children?
As for Africans, please see online videos on the destruction of Argentina's agricultural land. And is this really what we want?
Do we really need Bill Gates/Monsanto GMOs?
How can someone who simply happens to be a billionaire, dictate the lives of an entire continent's people?
He doesn't care about black people, especially, Africans, whom he qualifies as "dirty, defecates in their rivers, this is why they have diseases."
Are we that desperate?
Based on this report, it is evident that all major international institutions receive fund from the Gates foundations. Where is the money coming from? how can they sustain such donations?
Answer: they have a stake (profit) in everything they give into. Nothing is for free.
If Africans don't wake up and throw the Gates/Monsanto out of the continent, Bill Gates/Melinda Gates will be the combination of Cecil Rhode and King Leopold of Belgium in Africa.
Once Africans were colonized by invaders using germs/steel/guns. In this century, it appears that Africans are being re-colonized through biological weapons and GMOs.
This cannot be in the national interest of the United States of America.
Please read full article below:
The Gates Foundation’s “Corporate Merry-go-round”: Spearheading the Neo-liberal Plunder of African Agriculture
By Binta Terrier—Founder of PLAD and The Africa Syndicate Blog
Answer is no! “Corrupted Africa” is sustained by external entities. Merriam-Webster defines corruption as: “dishonest or illegal behavior especially by powerful people (such as government officials or police officers)” or “the act of corrupting someone or something.” Thus, it is a dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those with power to do so from within or outside the continent. Giving and/or taking bribes to illegally acquire resources, double- dealing, fraud, misconduct, crime and wrongdoing. As widely reported, US$ billions of bribed and stolen moneys annually flow out of Africa and are deposited in foreign banks: Swiss, Dutch, Luxmburg, and French banks. Why these banks do not question the sources and legality of these deposits, and used to acquire private mansions and luxury goods in these same countries? Yet, developed nations, particularly the G-7 countries, claim to want to end extreme poverty in Africa through UN and the World Bank Group programs, while European domestic banks are harboring stolen moneys from the poor Africans. How credible are these programs?
Granted that no region in the world is immune to corruption, Africa’s case is alarming because of the large income disparity. Interestingly, not a single African leader who comes to power is an expert on the intricacies of foreign transfers and loopholes. This is acquired through corrupt domestic and foreign advisors who help them funnel illegal gains into foreign banks.
In the United States of America, if someone stole a car and parked it on my driveway, I would be harboring a stolen car from a thief and both of us would be thieves; and penalized accordingly by the judicial system. Why then, are stashed stolen moneys in Swiss, Luxemburg, French and Dutch banks acceptable? In addition: Why former corrupt foreign government officials’ involvement in Africa’s national affairs under the guise of “friends’ allowed? Why greedy Foreign “ philanthropists” are allowed to influence mining, agriculture, health policies in Africa under the guise of “ caring” ? As widely publicized, if some African leaders are corrupted, then, they have strong assistance. Hence, finger pointing is not going to solve the problem.
Another corruption strangling Africa’s economy is “transfer pricing.” US$ billions move out of Africa annually tax-free. Transfer pricing consists of foreign companies bluntly setting the price of a commodity then, selling it to their controlled subsidiaries (or related) legal entities within the group to avoid paying taxes where the commodity originated. Thus, to avoid paying taxes to African governments, especially in the mining sector, foreign companies operating in Africa (mining, fishing, ports), sell goods to one of their subsidiaries abroad below market price (cheap) which, then, sells the goods at “actual” world market price, ripping higher and tax-free benefits, with less tax revenue for African governments.
How to tame corruption in Africa?
First: our African leaders must accept the fact that political power without economic power is a recipe for their doom and, therefore, they have to come up with enforceable policies to effectively address these forms of corruption.
Second, there is a lesson to be gleaned from a recent ruling by U.S. District Judge Lorna Schofield in Manhattan on the French bank, BNP Paribas SA. She accepted the plea entered by the company’s top lawyer for BNP Paribas, then, sentenced the bank on Oct. 3, 2014. Subsequently, she issued a fine of $8.97 billion for violating the International Emergency Economic Power Act and the Trading with the Enemy Act for processing almost $9 billion in banned transactions from 2004-2012 with Sudan, Iran and Cuba. BNP management broke the law, and they were punished accordingly by US authorities.
Africans must start putting in place enforceable regulatory frameworks with the collaboration of those who want to end extreme poverty on the continent. To end extreme poverty in Africa and stabilize the continent, Africans do not need foreign aid. All they need is to help contain the external greed which is an obstacle to its economic progress. A concerted effort by all foreign powers and Africans to implement a nationally and internationally enforceable regulatory framework similar to the anti-money laundering introduced after 9-11 would be helpful in containing the illegal money flowing out of the continent. Also redirect foreign aid money to better use in originating countries.
Following the money would be easy to address. What all the banks have to do is be transparent. So far, it appears as the United States is the only country in which stolen money cannot be deposited in any domestic bank. Why the rest of the powerful countries which want to eradicate extreme poverty do not adopt the same regulation? Granted that President Mbeki is spearheading a committee on the outflow of funds from the continent, but Africa needs coordinated efforts with G-7 countries to keep its money where it should be--on the continent.
It is refreshing to see that some of our African leaders have taken concrete steps to start addressing corruption and are sanctioning corrupted officials.
In his January 7, 2016 article published in Project Syndicate, Mr. Meyer, a former communications director for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, currently Dean of the Graduate School of Media and Communications at Aga Khan University in Nairobi, stated rightly that “To the chagrin of most Africans, the world has long viewed their continent through the prism of the three “Cs” – conflict, contagion, and corruption. Yet the first two are anything but general. Civil war is confined mainly to particular regions – for example, South Sudan or the Democratic Republic of Congo. And Ebola in West Africa spread more to Europe and the United States than to the rest of the continent. But the third, corruption, has been universal, blighting almost every country.” It is difficult to not concur with Mr. Meryer’s analysis on the positive changes that have taken place and are ongoing in countries like Rwanda, Nigeria, Benin, Senegal and Tanzania.
What have these leaders done to merit praise and recognition from us? Let’s note that:
Rwanda: since President Paul Kagame took the reins of his country, it has emerged in no time from genocide to the current level of stability and economic rise. Now, one may or may not agree with him, his methods of governance, or for extending his stay in power. The facts remain that corruption in Rwanda is believed to be quasi non-existent, the economy is growing in an inclusive manner, and income disparity is leveling off. Each Rwandan has full access to health care, each child has full access to education, and there are no rolling blackouts. The country is energy sufficient and transfers of remittances from its Diaspora are now flexible.
Nigeria: Newly elected Muhammadu Buhari, unlike his predecessors, has launched a serious “war” against corruption at the highest level of government. “In November, two top officials were charged in a $2 billion scam to buy fighter jets, helicopters, and ammunition that were never delivered. In October, the former oil minister and the chief of the national petroleum company were arrested.” Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil producer and most populated country (179 million) with huge markets and large number of educated youth thus, a potential for economic growth, but has been mired in corruption scandals for years. Previous governments are reported to have funneled the equivalence of 3% of GDP in foreign banks annually. Frivolous spending of petro-dollars billions was made in Rolexes, luxury vehicles, mansions, first class travels around the world, while education and health care are crumbling and job creation stagnant. Buhari is definitely changing the “status quo” for the betterment of Nigeria and the rest of the Africa.
Benin: Thomas Boni Yayi, courageously apologized after corrupt officials stole $4 million in foreign grants. We are hopeful that his successor who will be elected in March 2016 will follow his steps and do more.
Senegal: Macky Sall began his anti-corruption campaign soon after taking over from former president Wade. He began by declaring his assets of $2.6 Million, cut government spending to build new infrastructure. In March 15, 2013 Karim Wade, the son of President Wade, was placed under house arrest and subsequently sentenced to 6 years in prison with a 210 million euros fine. Since then, Senegal’s anti-corruption campaign has gained speed.
Tanzania: President John Pombe Magufuli has waged a war against corruption. The things he is being credited for include notably a reduction of parliament extravagant dinners to fund hospital beds after he visited a hospital and saw patients lying on the floor in corridors. Likewise, Independence Day celebration costs were curtailed, and the money saved was spent on medicine for a cholera outbreak. Business-class travel and expensive government retreats are banned. The president sacked perceived corrupt senior officials, and reduced complicated regulations and loopholes that crooked government employees used to extract hefty bribes. There is no doubt that corruption is a serious African disease that must be eradicated. African leaders must not only think carefully about their legacy–what they leave behind, but also prepare strong and courageous successors to carry over their work and expand on it for future generations.
The latter could be the biggest challenge of all.