The London based Commonwealth Foundation has been, for a long time now, offering enticing leadership programs, most of which are focused on young people. This year, the Foundation is leading critical conversation on how it can ensure that the Commonwealth Institutions are able to put the youths within the Commonwealth Countries in positions of political leadership, corporate headship and professional prosperity.
The conference, that is usually organized by the Queen’s Foundation on Youths & Leadership, and the Commonwealth Foundation Youth Council, took place through virtual platforms during the first two weeks of December 2020. I was among the invited participants, hence my arguments in this article will be trumpeting for the long overdue Commonwealth political commitment in support of youths in professional and corporate headship, that should be done through enterprise formation and oversight.
The Commonwealth refers to all the countries that are former colonies of Britain, and therefore use English as the official language. Kenya is one of them. Some other Countries are in Asia and in the Caribbean Islands. The current demographic survey by the same Commonwealth Foundation has revealed that there are about 2.4 billion people in the Commonwealth countries.
The statistics also show that 70 percent of the Commonwealth population are the youths, substantially educated and unemployed. Technically, this means that the Commonwealth has the best human resource potential for entrepreneurs, if not the reverse will be the best potential for massive poverty.
Coincidentally, the Commonwealth Foundation is carrying these critical conversations with its members when the UK is on the Brexit path. This very act nudges conscious minds to be wary of quality of honesty that is guiding the entire process of institutionalizing the Commonwealth political relationships.
It should be a guide to all the peripheral players participating in the formation of the Commonwealth political and economic institutions. A fact which gathers gravitas from Samir Amin‘s postulations that, ‘historical experience of slavery, colonialism and neocolonialism blended to form injurious affections on the texture of self-esteem among entrepreneurs and corporate headships in the post colonies’. The same past experience informs present and future social decisions both for the former colonized and the former colonizer.
Having reckoned with that, it is also imperative to realize that if at all these critical conversations are genuine, honesty and driven by a win-win spirit then some basic Commonwealth institutions like the English Monarchy, have to be liberalized towards racial inclusivity and tolerance to human diversity. This position is eked on the fact that the Monarchy of England is founded on the strong economic substructure which got its strength from material and labour resources looted from India and Africa during the colonial times.
Thus, it is logical in the present times for the Commonwealth Institutions to move away from the outdated culture of preserving the Monarchy of England for the English royal blood. Economic history of the Commonwealth and the English Monarchy justifies an Indian as well as an African to serve as a King or Queen of England. All these have both implicit and explicit leadership and entrepreneurial implications on the youths and the institutions within the Commonwealth.
The above has been just the preamble. But allow me to come to the gist of the matter about what is to be done so that the Commonwealth Foundation can enable the youths in Commonwealth countries to achieve progress and developed status in business and leadership. This is a social process whose dynamics are contingent to the specific region in the Commonwealth.
However, arguments by Bjorn Lomborg in his book, ‘How to Spend 50 Billion Dollars on Solving World Problems,’ are worth our while in this juncture. It is evidently true that youths of India and Africa cannot prosper in business and professional adventures unless these two regions have control on the matters identified in this book.
The facts are that putting the Commonwealth youths in the better economic and social positions through educational and some entrepreneurial adventure can only be possible if the Commonwealth countries have internal capacity to; manage climate change, control domestic healthcare, manage the spread of communicable diseases, manage food and nutritional intake, provide good quality education to their youths, provide good governance at corporate and political levels, manage armed conflicts, to give clean water to the local populations, manage stable financial systems geared towards local borrowers, add value to what they produce to export, and manage local agricultural systems. They should also be allowed to execute South-South dialogic communications among themselves on various economic and cultural subjects without suffering interruptive policing of the mind from the former colonial masters.
These are also the same issues raised by Ali A. Mazrui in his book ‘The African Conditions’. These ideas look so radical but they are the basic minimums upon which the Commonwealth countries can stand on to achieve their capacity to create wealth internally through net profits.
Western policy intervention has never been productive for Africa and other subaltern Commonwealth countries. Like the structural adjustment programs of the last century were nothing else other than overt intellectual malice aimed at fatal poisoning of African enterprise.
This is also the same case when it comes to social front. In most cases, some western policy makers give priority to cosmetic matters like gender and sexuality when discussing social challenges to development through businesses in Africa, but this has never been an issue. Africa’s philosophy about a family as an economic unit is clear that both monogamous and polygamous families can work well with the labour intensive production environment in Africa.
This is more logical compared to the Anglo-American pressure on Africa to discard polygamy and accept self-defeating family models like voluntary or non-biologically founded but commercially instigated homosexuality.