Appeal To African Elites
01 Jan 2018 / Siddharth Jivani
I am working for rural development internationally particularly for African countries. I have visited Africa four times and moved in several countries and I am trying to understand African people with a keen interest. I am very much distressed to see dangerous disparity in all the African countries i.e. only a handful of people having captured most of the wealth of the country and millions of masses remaining hand to mouth. I have also observed that most of the races of Africa have inner spirit and good capabilities to come up in line with so called civilized and developed countries. So I am very much optimistic that Africa is competent enough to come out as the strongest continent of the world in a very short period of 10 to 20 years and can provide alternative to the western life style which has no future as it is based on exploitation of the entire world. I am humbly describing myself as real friend and real well wisher of African people because I have burning desire to remove their merciless exploitation being done through various multinational and big companies. I want to humbly show real path of happiness for common masses. I am carrying in my heart certain BASIC CONVICTIONS which force me to suggest that if the path which I am recommending is followed by African people, it will bring economic revolution in Africa and also in the world in one or two decades through which Africa will come out as the strongest continent.
But I have painfully observed that most of the elite class of every African country is under illusion that model of development and progress imposed on them by developed countries is correct and path of development and progress shown by developed countries is real path. So all the Governments of Africa follow the same pattern of development as Europe and U.S.A. followed. So every African country is trying to establish big industries, is trying to develop highways, cities, power stations, ports, airports and infrastructure required by giant industries. I VENTURE TO ASSERT THAT THIS IS NOT THE PATH OF HAPPINESS BUT THIS IS THE PATH OF EXPLOITATION AND PERMANENT SLAVERY OF AFRICAN PEOPLE If you want homogeneous development and progress of entire society of millions of masses, you have to evolve your own economic strategy based on local self reliance at least for primary needs of people i.e. for food, cloth and shelter. Very evidently this type of local self reliance can be achieved through cottage scale family size industries based on small and simple technology. When I came to know about big maize mills purchasing maize from hundreds of villages, I was really shocked. Tremendous amount of exploitation can be eliminated simply by establishing tiny maize mills everywhere where ever necessary. Maize milling is the simplest technology. A very ordinary workshop can manufacture maize mills. But it is a painful wonder that throughout Africa, big maize mills are working resulting in to heavy exploitation of common masses. Nature of technology is such that complicated machinery makes simple thing also complicated.
Primary needs such as maize flour, wheat flour, rice, cooking oil, sugar, jaggery, tea coffee, soap, cloth, bricks, tiles and building materials etc. are all simple things and all these things must be manufactured at cottage scale level with very simple and cheap technology. THIS IS THE PATH OF HAPPINESS. BIG COMPLICATED MACHINERY HAS NO PLACE IN MANUFACTURING PRIMARY NEEDS OF PEOPLE. WHENEVER AND WHERE EVER YOU VIOLATE THIS PRINCIPLE, YOU GIVE RISE TO EXPLOITION, ANY COUNTRY OR SOCIETY WHICH IS BEING EXPLOITED FOR PRIMARY NEEDS OF PEOPLE CAN NEVER COME UP AND IS DESTINED TO RUIN.
Many people raise doubts that how all the primary needs can be fulfilled through cottage industries. How cloth and sugar can be produced at cottage scale. I know that number of such questions can be raised. I must admit that I have no readymade solution for every such question. But I do have strong faith and conviction that every such question can be transformed in to a pleasant solution if dedicated efforts are made to develop small and simple technology for every kind of primary needs. You must know that previously world best quality cloth was produced in millions of houses of India since centuries with very simple tools and equipments not costing even 100 dollars. It can be still produced in millions of houses if controls imposed on cottage industries for favoring giant centralized economy are abolished. A very fine quality of jaggery (hygienically better than sugar) is still produced at cottage scale practically at every sugarcane farm in spite of strict controls of our government to abolish this farm level industry for favoring giant sugar factories. Bricks and lime is still a cottage industry throughout India. There are at least 500 tiny flour mills in my city alone (population 9,00,000). Oil milling was also cottage industry throughout India since centuries. Our Government made foolish blunder to abolish it.
One most common doubt is raised against such tiny industries is that whether such tiny units are economically viable and can compete to big units? It is really strange that such question is asked from every part of the world. So it seems that entire world is under illusion that big heavy industries are more viable. This is absolutely wrong. In fact tiny units are always more viable than big centralized industries. One can imagine that tiny units enjoy four distinct advantages over big centralized units. I.e. (1) Transport is eliminated or minimized (2) Packaging is eliminated or people use their own tins, bins, jars etc. (3) Middlemen are eliminated. (4) Marketing is eliminated or minimized and hence all evils of marketing such as profiteering, hoarding, speculation, adulteration, deception, shortage etc. are automatically eliminated. Tiny units for basic needs will work for local consumption with local raw materials. So all the four advantages will go to tiny units. So they are bound to be far strongly more viable than big centralized units. I have proved this contention beyond doubt by establishing 900 tiny cooking oil mills which are running most successfully, most profitably and most satisfactorily in India and 20 African countries. What is true for tiny oil mills can be proved true for other industries of basic needs also. So I sincerely appeal to all AFRICAN ELITES to come out from false illusions of development, to throw away present theory of development, to ponder over the alarming situation of present age and seriously adopt this pious work of rural development through tiny scale industries with strong faith that entire Africa can be got rid of entire exploitation and entire continent can be made happy without any big industry. I am absolutely confident that one, who will determine to work in this direction, will definitely meet with great success and he will earn the credit for making great revolutionary changes in Africa through small deeds.