daniel orupabo

MD, southernhouse ltd

This conversation is closed.

In what practical ways can African states tackle the issue of poverty and unemployment amongst its young people?

Many African states list their young people as a vital resource base. But very disturbing is the fact that young people in Africa are left to rot due largely to almost zero opportunity and failing structures compounded by systemic corruption. Now, for African states a wasting generation of young people is a more threatening challenge than political instability.

  • Oct 6 2012: First of all I am amazed at how people only see the bad in Africa, yes there is war and yes there are people living in bad situations but let us not exaggerate the level of how bad things are. The media has gone a long way in painting Africa as severly impoverished continent that the attitudes and perceptions currently held can not offer any viable solutions.

    So let us change our attitudes towards Africa. Aid has been sent to Africa for over 20 years and clearly it is not as effective as people like to think. Africans need to be empowered, they need to be self reliant and self dependent. If the western world wants to help so much,let them partner with credible young entreprenuers in Africa, dont try to save us, work with us.
    • Oct 6 2012: That makes a lot of sense. Empowerment does look like the best solution to any economic problems in Africa or other economically disadvantaged locations. Africa has access to specific types of resources and once the people learn to capitalize on these endowed resources, they should be able to find some type of competitive advantage. They could even partner up with multinational corporations and essentially attain the free R&D associated with the partnership.
      That being said, they need to make sure there is an economic system in place that will support privatized businesses; if this is not the case, then this is where countries should focus on providing assistance.
      • Oct 9 2012: The "Empowerment " you are talking about has been the empowerment of the Looters.
        The money that the west sends them ends up in the Looters private bank accounts. If you want to do something constructive, let the UN stop coddling the Failed States, and let them conduct a Neo-Tribalism,
        Self-Determination re drawing of borders.
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    Oct 7 2012: Would sort out your political situations be too obvious or glib an answer? All the corrupt countries I've seen lack enough of a few basic things. Honesty in business and political life, lack of bribery of officials, generosity of rich to poor, compassion for those less well off, basic social services to support those less well off, basic sanitation and fresh water, recognition that we are all equally worthy of respect. These things don't cost money, they just cost a huge mind shift.
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    Oct 6 2012: The only way African states can tackle the issue of poverty and unemployment amongst young people is by empowering each and every state to encourage the youth to participate in national youth development programmes,, let the you youth take responsibility of creating jobs and skills via the you agency funded by the government.

    encourage the youth to participate on creating better entrepreneurs and leaders of tomorrow because it is quite clear that leadership in Africa oppresses the youth
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    Oct 6 2012: i think african countries should learn from south africa ,they have a faster developement ,your leaders can have atrip to see how does it happen and then develope yourself .
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      Oct 6 2012: South Africa is developed because of the approach of the aparthied administration to governance; this appraoch is lacking in most African countries. As I have said in my other comment, most Africans see government as a means of amassing wealth. This is not just a way that a few individuals think; that is why each transfer of power only brings in another group of treasury looters.
      In South Africa the aparthied government saw governance as a service to the people (unfortunately black people did not benefit from this); but in most African countries, the national treasury handled like the private account of rulers who call themselves leaders.
      African nations are ruled by elites who have travelled out of their respective nations and have seen systems that work and could be adopted to transform their countries.
      For whatever reason they are just not doing it.
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        Oct 6 2012: I had no idea of this until I read some history of Africa a few years ago. (The Fate of Africa, by Martin Meredith) It is difficult indeed to begin problem-solving without real information about culture and government in a place where we do not live.

        Can you suggest a good book about modern Africa for the book readers among us?
      • Oct 9 2012: Mr. A you're right about the tribalism, but consider why it is what it is. For hundreds of years, various empires have used the "divide and conquer " principle to keep the natives fighting each other in the "colonies" to avoid resistance. Then after WW2, the UN in its wisdom, made "Nations" out of these areas, successfully enabling the creation of "Failed States", for the purpose of continluning the exploitation, and the perpetuation of tribalism. My feeling is, why not tribalism for everyone ; it is the origin of classic Nations, but that;s not what you see in Africa, which has not had much experience at all with "Nationalism", except as you say, a mechanism for governmental looting. I donlt know if it is feasible for the tribes to cooperate across "National" borders, but they might try it. I don't see any other course, except to completely abandon tribes , and "become modern", which is very dis-orienting., and not otherwise necessary.
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    Oct 6 2012: Emulate Paul Kagame in Rwanda


    Mr Kagame may not be as ingenuous as first thought, power corrupts....

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    Oct 5 2012: Africans need a change of mentality; an attitudinal change.
    Firstly, African youths have to dismiss the thought that the government is a sort of 'Messiah' or saviour. The change needed for progress will not come from the government because the failed political and economic system is the making of the people.

    Secondly, Africans should be reminded of the importance of hardwork and discipline as the only ways of being successful and of remaining successful.
    Most of the people belonging to the African elite are too focussed on having more money and material acquisition. Education is usually seen as a way of getting a good job (and of course being paid a fat salary) , and of impressing people with complicated explanations of simple things. The so-called elite and the businesspersons become complascent as soon as they make money.

    We've had cases of people who would call themselves human-rights activists; but as soon as they are in government they start doing the same thing they've critizised again and again.

    And there is so much belief in the myth that every good thing will come as long as you can pray and trust God. Africans take their belief in God too far; thinking that God would do what he has given them wisdom to do. No nation has become great by abandoning her fate to God and prayers but I know that most African nations are into the 'prayers and no planning' thing.

    Attitudinal change is important for the purpose of building strong and sustianable economic and political systems. One can keep blaming African leaders......but dont forget that leaders are neither aliens nor spirits. They come from the people.
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      Oct 6 2012: Feyisayo,

      How do these children change their attitude while they live in death and poverty?
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        Oct 6 2012: I dont know where you live; but I was born in Africa, I was raised in Africa, and I've lived here long enough to know that Africans dont live in death and poverty. You are probably relying on the negative media images of Africa that you've seen.
        Most African nations have mineral resources like crude oil, gold, diamond, platinum and so on. There are universities here, and there are thriving businesses;and not a few Africans are educated.

        The question you have not answered is what the educated people of Africa have done to transform the continent. And as I have stated, if you blame the leaders, where are the leaders from?
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          Oct 6 2012: Feyisayo

          How deep is the power base of the tribes in government/s? If there is a leaning towards one group then is it a power struggle due to neo-nepotism? or am i way off the mark completely?
  • Oct 3 2012: I don't live in Africa, so my point may be a little deviated from the truth and i apologize if i say something wrong or weird.
    From my optics, there are a few key points that affect Africa but i will only focus on one. Africa is a great continent, lots of natural resources and lots of good people that do not hesitate to work hard. But some countries in Africa are not politically stable because of internal conflicts due to the lack of "tribal tolerance" or simple political affairs. When a country goes through years and years civil conflict economy weakens, no industry, no investment and that means no good jobs for the emerging generations. But how to teach politicians that most issues can be solved with a sincere handshake?
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      Oct 6 2012: Roberto,

      I don't think a handshake will work for many of these leaders. These leaders are hungry for power and control. Those two things are the only methods to quench that thirst.

      However, diplomacy may work if we can identify leaders that may be open to compromise.
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    Oct 13 2012: African states have a contentious history with aid organizations and international NGOs. Assuming the problem is most difficult to address in more corrupt governments, do they have the same attitude with regards todomestic, or at least continental, NGOs? Could action be taken through the African Union, or an Afri-Bank, or some new refionally developed organization focused on aiding education and development? When the United States or Europe creates an organization it is intrusive and tends to be ineffective. Perhaps our outsider role should be to assist and advise the creation of such organizations by motivated individuals within the countries in question.
  • Oct 12 2012: One crude approach can be 1. Identify what Africa requires, 2. Identify what Africa can offer, 3. Try to match them such that, Africa can be self-sustaining - at different levels (village level to continent level), reduce dependency on other countries as minimal as possible for the essentials. This can be the core.
    Globalization and similar fancy stuff can be thought of much later. Also, this way, try to reduce dependency on governments (i know this is the toughest part, but this is where real innovation is required - especially when the governance does not help the people).
  • Oct 12 2012: Does this work? The peace lines or peace walls are a series of separation barriers in Northern Ireland that separate Catholic and Protestant neighbourhoods. They have been built at urban interface areas in Belfast, Derry, Portadown and elsewhere. The stated purpose of the barriers is to minimise inter-communal violence between Catholics (who are mainly nationalists that self-identify as Irish) and Protestants (who are mainly unionists that self-identify as British).
    The barriers range in length from a few hundred yards to over three miles (5 km). They may be made of iron, brick, and/or steel and are up to 25 feet (7.6 m) high. Some have gates in them (sometimes staffed by police) that allow passage during daylight but are closed at night.

    They were built as temporary structures meant to last only six months, but due to their effective nature they have become wider, longer and more permanent. Originally few in number, they have multiplied over the years, from 18 in the early 1990s to 40 today; in total they stretch over 13 miles (21 km), with most located in Belfast.

    Is this insane, or is it just me! praise the lord(s).
  • Oct 12 2012: Lead by example that breeding needs to stop- take care of yourself, first. 30,000 children die daily due to simple lack of clean water, a bowl of rice, simple preventive 3rd world country vaccinations. Stop preventable deaths from cholera, tb, malaria. Plain and simple, stop breeding is the first and only step available to the populace. The bankers own the world, ie,.,taking away their labor force is a sensible first step. The corruption will continue until we expose the truth about people like, GANDHI, SISTER TERESA, the ROYAL family, Rothschilds, carlyle group, convicts like larry silverslime, and his buddy rudy juliani, etc....... Expose the billderbergers, uni, and trilateral comm., cfr, thugs to the light of day.

    Slowly begin to reveal religions for what they are, control mechanisms of the ignorant! You are either a part of the solution or problem, yes you!

    Ban the insanity that continues through lack of education by exposing religions as simply a method to separate children.

    See Peace wall in N. Ireland if you don't believe this? Educate yourself! Put traditions aside. Understand why prescott bush was hitler's buddy! Why ike caused the death of 2 million germans. Learn why every election since Lincoln was rigged and by whom? good luck
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    Oct 12 2012: What do you think of my idea (see my posts) ,"friend in your pocket" that can help you if you do not have a way to solve something. Like a communication center or a lot of communication centers around world. We already have the tools but we waste resources not helping each other and no need of enormous data base, we have just to involve people and let them know what we know http://www.ted.com/conversations/14085/human_specialists_call_center.html?c=540825
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    Oct 12 2012: the culprit is always power hungry groups. let it be governments, war lords or tribal leaders. people can cooperate on their own and create wealth. only when interfered by these aggressive power groups, they suffer without hope. focus should be on free movement, free enterprise and free speech. in short, voluntary cooperation of individuals.
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      Oct 12 2012: What comes first education or rule of law?
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        Oct 12 2012: i would go with education? people can learn on their own, but they can't change the rule on their own.
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          Oct 12 2012: Me too, I think of the American Revolution and the ridiculous odds against the revolutionaries winning yet they did, I think that there was a grass roots education that made the difference. In other words they had purpose.
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    Oct 10 2012: First of all if you think the young people or anyone in the world is a resource you already started wrong but i will tell you my opinion anyway.
    Give a chanse to anyone in your community as i stated in my comments about maybe an ideal way to start a small business and have succes in your country and evan outside. If you want read my post about how the Europe started to do business and how they grow but how they also forgot now in many countries. A very important thing that you can do is to not forget your roots your ancestors and their beliefs and their way that made survive and live in your countries but with those roots try to improve step by step with things that you consider can be helpful for you. What i want to say is to not let you influenced by the other more modern countries and their way of living becouse maybe those solutions are not (and for sure most of them) suitable for your living conditions and your families. You need people that are educated in other countries but to not forget the living conditions from their origins so when they come back to try to find solutions with the resources they have there. People that stay home should help each other in any way if they can do it. Living conditions there are very hard and maybe you do not evan have the day by day things you need. I will give a small example with things that I am aware I am doing wrong but I am doing just to communicate with you now. I am using a tool Internet and computers that maybe were made by exploiting a lot of poor people also from your country. I am also one that I contributed to develop this thing called technology but now I do not feel very good sincerely. I refuse to watch Animal Planet tv channel or things that in the past made a lot of harm to people there and I use them when i have something to say like now and other times I use them to try to help and I waste resources but sincerely I think they make more harm than good. I wish you to have the power to feel what is good.
  • Oct 9 2012: I did my college thesis on Uganda and have read many books on Africa. There seems to be a lot of interwoven problems in Africa that make it difficult to pinpoint any one solution, but here are my musings on the subject.
    Education and opportunities to gain experience in a profession/trade would do wonders. But as important as that is, it will be difficult for anyone to advance themselves with the government corruption and instability that plagues most African Nations. Other countries that have dealt with massive levels of government corruption and instability have had to revolt and form new, better governments. We have seen that very thing happen numerous times in Africa and a new dictator takes power and reinstitutionalizes the same sort of corruption that was recently overthrown. The corruption cycle is symptomatic of extreme poverty. Hence the reason why a dictator is removed and those taking power are instantly corrupted by the wealth suddenly available to them. If there was enough to go around then officials would likely feel less inclines to fleece the people and investors etc.
    Now, going back to education. If the people are not educated then there is little to no possibility or replacing a bad government with a good one. If education improves then perhaps the people will begin to see what possibly are available and will fight to implement a more effective form of government.
    So, here is my formula poverty creates corruption/crime which perpetuates poverty and creates more corruption/crime. Education provides opportunity and hopefully industry (which might just get overwhelmed by corruption and crime) but I really see no other way to break the vicious cycle. So ultimately my one word answer to how to fix Africa would be.....EDUCATION.
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    Oct 7 2012: why dont you give the government press via Demonstrations.only when you give the government enough attention can they care you. what do you think .we are all the weak . until we united can we make a big difference.

    most of the governments run just for their own interests in africa.they dont care people they just want to earn enough money and have a better life .they forget their people also need a better life ,so only knocked can solve it in a short time .
  • Oct 6 2012: I am not too educated on matters in Africa but here are some general things I think should happen
    1) general food aid should be slowed down, and decreased annually, this will allow farmers to be able to profit and grow instead of being undercut by 'free' food from the world.
    2) prevent mechanization of agriculture for now, instead allow natural industrial growth by requiring farms to have many hired hands
    3) have local governments start public works, such as road construction, well digging, water purification processes start
    4) encourage farmers to grow food instead of cash crops, also encourage a solid crop rotation

    a note on #4 is that the world also has to forgive or stop charging interest on the African states, this would be the most momentous and country shaping idea.
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    Oct 6 2012: Mr Ken Brown,
    I hope you see this reply.
    The influence of tribes is strong in countries with two or three tribes; but most African nations have dozens of tribes. As far as governance is concerned it is usually a class problem. It is two main classes: The opulent and materialistic elite (who are in government); and the poor majority.

    It is like the aparthied thing; except that it is a case of blacks oppressing blacks.
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    Oct 6 2012: You must de-centralize governing institutions down to a point where each smaller institution is easily transparent and managable. The same goes for large corporations. Agriculture should be managed locally. Energy should be managed to a border of a local grid. Communities can only grow if they can create the energy and agriculture to sustain that growth. Governing committees should be graded on performance and swapped out for poor performance. Diffuse the power to quell the corruption from which power propagates itself.

    Start with several pilot studies to work out the details. emulate the system that all agree serves the people of that community. Everyone in the community is responsible for the success of it's community. Use everyone's unique gifts to it's potential to contibute to the whole. Unique gifts can be found through trial and errorr and education.

    Hope I have provided you with some ideas. The details would be subject to the needs of those involved thus I can't really accurately provide those.
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    Oct 6 2012: Proper education should be the foundation of any change. However, given the condition of many African states aid is hard to deliver. The question has more to do with failing governments than it does anything else. These governments have no real concern with growth or stability.

    How do we deliver aid to countries with corrupt leadership?
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      Oct 6 2012: you are right that we should not help those with corrupt leadership .while how can we help their people . i think you can fly there and then do what you can to help them .since you are a teacher i think it is great to leach their children and do what you can to help them .
      because it is a responsibility of human beings i think we help where we are need ,and at the same time i think you should call you guys to jion in .what they need is advanced ideas and a good leader .

      do you like to go
      another i think it is continent full of resouce,we can call our company to coroperate with their people
      many famous people would like to do for free in africa , there are many students in china go to south africa to do as a worker.in their summer holiday . i think it will help a lot .we should do what what we can to help them ,little by little ,there will be a big change .
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    Oct 6 2012: i think you can do something strange ,and always do good to your people .
    about the proverty and unemplayment i think you should do something to impact your leaders and also you should coroperate with some other countries .i know china have invested much in africa ,and i think noe it is the time to do something to improve you ecnomics and your rights ,i think you people should always keep working and do not ask too much but just do it .i think you will have a return .

    keep working hard is very important ,that is it .opertunituty is optunitity ,you should ask too much ,destiny will bless you .
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      Oct 6 2012: Chen,

      Many of these governments don't ever allow aid to reach the people. Do you think it may become necessary for other governments to intervene?
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        Oct 6 2012: i think so
        whlle i think we shouldnt use some ways which are too over reacted,like war ,and some other things which causes blood ,i think conoperate is a good way ,and also we can donate money .or just do as a worker for free.anything else without flood and wars
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    Oct 2 2012: first thinking that "we can' the youngsters should think that can earn.

    Public awareness

    proper guidance

    making few scope for few people then these few people will make scope for another few and like this if you will continue this chain then the unemployment will be vanished.
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    Gail .

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    Oct 2 2012: I am not in favor of capitalism. But you ask your question as if capitalism is the best thing for Africa. Actually, it's the worst. You cannot have capitalism without poverty. Capitalism creates poverty, and now Africa is a poverty pit.

    If all of those unemployed youth could learn how to build houses from indigenous materials, they could built houses. Not for $$$, but for houses. Look at the young man who took it upon himself to learn how to build a wind mill to pull water out of the ground, and to produce electricity for his village. When you take money out of the picture, all kinds of wonderful things can happen. Equality and cooperation can prosper.

    I think that if the Internet were available in every African village, and it were free, and Africa started a campaign for donors to send used computers to needy villages, that the people would begin educating themselves about many things, and education is inspirational.

    Hmmm. I am going to see if there is a foundation that collects used laptops. This sounds like a good idea. I could do that if it's not being done.
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      Oct 6 2012: TED Lover,

      What about capitalism do you think causes poverty?
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        Gail .

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        Oct 7 2012: John Locke's Treatises of Government: The canonical text for economic, political, & legal understanding of how an effective government works.

        1st he introduces the rights of private property ownership with these 3 rational provisos:

        There must be enough left over
        You must not let it spoil (let things not go to waste)
        You must mix your labor with it.

        Then he shows that with the introduction of $, along with men's tacit agreement to put value on it, the all the provisos are no longer applicable.

        1. Now you no longer have to mix your labor with your property. Now you can buy labor and profit from money itself.
        2. There is no longer a consideration of spoilage, because money cannot spoil.
        3. There is no longer a consideration for whether there is $ left over for others, because ownership of $, an intangible invention, is not a basic human right. And if money can buy land, without leaving enough for others, then access to land (for food/clothing/shelter) is no longer a basic human right.

        Then comes Adam Smith, (Wealth of Nations - another canonical text). He accepts the above, saying that the right to own the labor of others - without limits - is granted by a natural law. (the invisible hand).

        Within this natural law, he says, the scantiness of subsistence, that's caused by not enough money in the hands of the poor, puts natural limits on the "RACE of laborers" (his words). He states that the greater number of their children MUST die in the name of the economic system, and the free market, with money as its foundation, will take care of that using natural law.

        In other words, capitalism cannot work unless there are poor people, or if there are too many poor people, but don't worry about them. A majority will die from poverty related issues (hunger, disease, exposure, war, etc) so that the cost of providing for them will not dip too deeply into the private property of the wealthy.

        Capitalism requires inequality.

        PS: War is the most profitable.
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          Oct 7 2012: i agree most of what you said
          while at this point i dont agree
          you say Capitalism requires inequality .
          while some european countries like norway fenland ,they are all capitalism countres why they have a much better life compared to america . and they have a much common level in each person'salary so what i want to say is that your country's welfare
          is not being worked well .

          you know recently french bosses are escaping to england why because their government put a heavy tax to them.

          i think at root it is how we treat the wealth of different people .and i think we must have a
          much more nimble policy.
    • Oct 11 2012: If not capitalism what? Socialism, communism? Government owned bussinesses? Capitalism means that consumers make the choices. Are there problems? Yes. Have there been abuses? Yes. Socialism/government control has resulted in atrocities just as bad or worse than anything capitalism has done. Hitler, Stalin,Mao have killed and kept people in poverty far more than capitalists. The robber barons worldwide got their money because governments tried to control the economy and give them exclusive franchises. Thar's socialism.

      Besides do we really think that government bureaucrats can make better decisions than business people?

      I know my attitude flys in the face of many of the subscribers to Ted. But none of us is smart enough to run a huge economy. Although some won't admit it.
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        Gail .

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        Oct 12 2012: I favor the moneyless gift economy. Republicanism, Socialism, & Communism exist in order to give power to the few at the expense of the many
        • Oct 12 2012: Dear Ted Lover,

          I'm sure you are a kind, loving person who cares a great deal about humanity. However, what you describe is like chocolate that won't make you fat. It's a great dream but won't happen. In the real world money is the method of exchange that is most efficient. I just believe that capatilism is the system that offers the most benefits, efficiently.

          I do volunteer work for a group called ShelterBox. Without money and the effort of people worldwide we would not be able to fulfill our mission to deliver shelter to those who have been effected by war or other disasters. We couldn't do the good we do using a moneyless gift economy. How would we get a ShelterBox to Africa or Asia within a week after am earthquatke? Gifts wouldn't do it.
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    Oct 2 2012: I think the cheapest, large scale collective action that an emerging economy can make right now... Is still a relatively expensive one. An online university, from k-doctorate, supplemented by a public library system, with free internet access. Use recording devices, in already existing classrooms, and tag every question asked, so that people in need of education can choose a teacher, but if he or she did not answer the students question, they can type it in, and see another teachers answer.

    This is not just incredibly effective for young people but it would, by far, be the best way to re engage older people who have not yet learned basic skills. They can sit, in private, at the library, and no one will bother them, or make fun of them for doing young childrens work to catch up.

    How could you do this cheaply? Well. Not for profit, might work. Government sponsored might work. Even, if the people trust the current military, you could use bases as classrooms, and make people feel more connected to and comfortable with their soldiers, that would be really cheap. Most African countries would have great difficulty implementing something like this however, and I am far too ignorant of Nigerie to know what would work for them specifically.

    Tariffs, and home product bias, help. Small business loans sponsored by local wealthy people, or the government, could create companies that make simple agriculture, and trade goods, and then be seen buying and supporting those local businesses, as a matter of national pride. I think people often think that "home bias" is about economic warfare, or descrimination, but actually it is much simpler, if every nation likes its products a little bit more than its neighbors, less goods will require expensive transport, and all local economies will be a bit more stable. It's not about not liking your neighboring country, it's about liking your actual neighbor with a business, just a bit more. Solar concentration.
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      Oct 6 2012: David,

      How much do you think it would cost to build an online database large enough to teach people from kindergarten through the doctorate level?

      If it was offered for free how would you handle the overwhelming load of people?
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        Oct 6 2012: I think it would be cheaper than building a brick and mortar system which services the same overwhelming load.
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      Oct 12 2012: Less than 5 minutes ago: What do you think of my idea (see my posts) ,"friend in your pocket" that can help you if you do not have a way to solve something. Like a communication center or a lot of communication centers around world. We already have the tools but we waste resources not helping each other and no need of enormous data base, we have just to involve people and let them know what we know http://www.ted.com/conversations/14085/human_specialists_call_center.html?c=540825
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    Oct 1 2012: OpenIDEO has had a challenge going on for the last three or so months in which the OpenIDEO community, with the guidance of IDEO staff, have been collecting ideas of program concepts for addressing youth unemployment and then molding them into possible solutions that may work in some locations.

    Take a look online at OpenIDEO. The evaluation phase there is nearing its end, which will result in the featuring of the dozen or so best concepts.
  • Oct 1 2012: I'd say it's most important to reduce corruption (to get more people working in fields they're good at), invest heavily in education and reduce the birthrate.