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Reducing poverty rapidly in Africa and Latin-America

By Francis E. Ogbimi
22 November 2021   |   3:35 am
The world has a written history of the past 5000 (3000 BC-2000) years of the human development experience. That record ought to guide the human development process but that is not the situation.


The world has a written history of the past 5000 (3000 BC-2000) years of the human development experience. That record ought to guide the human development process but that is not the situation. Many nations and institutions are approaching development activities as if man has no experience, no history. A people without a sense of history repeat the mistakes older societies made and suffer unnecessary stress. This article is written to demonstrate how the knowledge of history and the science of human development can be used to accelerate development in Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean, the poorest regions of the world.

I am Emeritus Professor of Technology Management. I have conducted a curiosity-driven research and taught Technology Management for over three decades with the objective of establishing the scientific basis of the present global distribution of wealth and power and how nations develop. The research has been abundantly blessed. I have summarized the highlights of the research in a 7-book series. The eighth book is in press. I am grateful to the Almighty God, the source of wisdom, knowledge and understanding.

Google quoting the United Nations/World Bank data, showed that in 2020 Africa had an estimated population of 853,000,000 with 35 per cent of the people poor; Latin-America and the Caribbean had a population estimate of 660,818,977 with 33 per cent of the population poor. Asia had an estimated population of 4,641,054,715, with 9.5 per cent poor.

Europe, America, Canada and Asia regions have industrialised nations whereas there are no industrialised nations in Africa and Latin-America. Industrialisation is the primary reason Europe, America, Canada and Asia have lower levels of poverty than Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean. This is because industrialisation is the solution to poverty, mass unemployment and related problem. History and wisdom therefore advise that the primary objective of African and Latin American nations should be to achieve industrialisation. All nations in Europe were very poor before the European industrialization which began in Britain 1770-1850 (Carrington and Jackson, 1954; Brooke, 1968; Davies, 1969; and Gregg, 1971). The United States was a village-nation in 1800 but achieved the modern industrialisation 1850-1900(Baldwin, 1969; and Bartlett, et al.,1969).

Focus on industrialisation will stimulate sustainable economic growth, industrialisation and development (SEGID) and reduce poverty in knowledge and material, and the associated problems of insecurity, forced migration and increase respect for human life and rights speedily in the poorest regions of the world. Africa and Latin-American nations have been drifting without achieving sustainable economic growth and industrialization. Drifting is caused by lack of direction. Consider the error at the T-junction: when one turns left instead of turning right at the junction, the more the effort one puts up, the further away he becomes from his or her desired destination. That is the situation with Africa and Latin-American nations today.  Only about 30 per cent of Nigerians was poor at independence in 1960. Today, over 70 per cent of Nigerians is poor and Nigeria is the poverty capital of the world.

Our research results showed that industrialisation is a state of knowledge, skills and capabilities (KSCs). It confers on a nation the power to use scientific KSCs to solve problems including efficient and effective production of goods/services and increases government revenue. Infrastructure is a fruit of industrialisation. The banking and finance sector in the West is a fruit or aftermath of industrialisation. There were only few banks in the West before the industrial revolution Glahe (1977).

Our research also demonstrated that iIndustrialisation is achieved through learning and capability-building. All persons are born as crying babies. The baby soon begins to babble (learns how to talk), acquires the competences to talk and talks (Ogbimi, 1990). The baby who could not babble grows up to be a dumb adult. Talking or speaking is a skill (Hurlock, 1972). The child must also learn how to read and write, otherwise, it grows up to be an illiterate. No one or nation is born with the skills to produce. A nation which hopes to manufacture many products must develop the people to manufacture them.

The intrinsic values of the learning-man and learning-woman appreciate in a compound fashion with learning intensity and time. The learning-people are appreciating assets (AAs). The intrinsic value of the learning-person can be expressed in a quantitative manner. In a nation where learning (education, training, employment and research) is emphasized, there is continuous build-up of (KSCs. As the learning process continues, a point is reached where each type of KSCs begins to enjoy the supportive impact of all others and all of them together form an invisible KSCs-network, a sort of problem-attacking front. The nation at that point achieves Industrial Revolution (IR) – a technological puberty. Productivity improves dramatically, the nation achieves economic diversification – various sectors of the economy begin to perform efficiently and effectively. Infrastructure is the developed speedily as fruit of industrialization. We described the quantitative relationship which represents the transformation by a mobilization equation.

The economic transformation described as IR, may be likened to the transformation which the spider achieves when it combines many of its silk-threads to make its web. The single silk-thread which the spider spins, is a relatively weak structural material which fails readily under any stress regime. However, the web which the spider makes from the combination of many of the relatively weak silk-threads catches the small creatures on which the spider feeds. In a like manner, no individual solves the problems of a nation, but a combination of many millions of knowledgeable, skilled and competent people transforms an agricultural nation into an industrialized one.

Our quantitative analyses showed that five variables relevant to planning for industrialisation are: 1) N – the number of people involved in productive work or employment in a nation; 2) M  – the level of education/training of those involved in productive activities in the economy and of the people of the nation; 3) L – the linkages among the knowledge, skills, competences and sectors of  an economy; 4) r – the learning rates or intensity in the economy and especially among the workforce; and 5) n – the experience of the workforce and the learning history of the society. All the variables are related to the learning-people. Moreover, the higher are the values of the variables, the better is the economy. A national growth rate measurement based on some or all of these variables would reflect the true economic situation in the nation.

Thus, sustainable economic growth, industrialization and development (SEGID) in a society come from learning (education, training, employment and research). The experience of Latin-American and African nations showed that education alone co-exists with mass unemployment and poverty. Our research results suggest that to promote rapid economic growth and industrialisation in Africa and Latin-America/Caribbean regions of the world henceforth, all the citizens in each nation should be mobilised for learning and industrialization. Japan mobilsed all her citizens for learning 1886-1905, 20 years and achieved industrialization. China mobilised all her citizens for learning in 1949. By the early 1980s, China had achieved industrialization.

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