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Asrat Tegegn (2004)

Asrat Tegegn

Asrat Tegegn

I always remember my time with Kimmage with a sense of fulfillment for gaining new insight to the way I perceive the world around me. As a development practitioner it had been high time for me to pursue my post graduate study in the area of development. Later I realized that Kimmage was the right place for my dream. The composition and depth of the courses; the dedication and high standard of the lecturers; and the cultural and professional diversity of my classmates made my stay in the centre highly rewarding.
Getting into the new busy schedule was not easy for many of the course participants at the beginning of the year 2004. Most of us had not been in college for many years. Among the group in the class were leaders and managers of development projects in their home country, leading a number of staff under them.
When one of our lecturers set a date to submit the first assignment for the course “Introduction to Sociology” quite a number of the participants asked for a time extension. While justifying the request, one class member said, “we have a lot to do this time and some of us are even having difficulty typing our assignment quickly”. As a clarification, the lecturer asked “how do you find it difficult to type quicker on your computer? Who is typing your documents at your work place back home?” He replied “Most of us have secretaries in our offices to do the writing for us “. The lecturer laughed “You should have brought your secretary with you!!”
Since then I realized the major difference between developed and under developed societies in our planet is all about efficiency. Be it in the productive or service sector which are the two pillars in the economic sphere, efficiency is the key to maximize productivity and it is the main driver for the difference between those disadvantaged and wealthy.
Efficiency is about skilled and versatile professionals at a human level; It is about using technology to perform different tasks successfully; It is about effective utilization of resources to minimize cost and it is about protecting the environment with environmentally friendly practices.

 

At a personal level I am currently working as a social enterprise Director in a newly established business organization running social businesses. The businesses are aimed at generating profit to refund back to social goods. Creating jobs, technology transfer, and generating foreign revenue are the other targets of the social businesses we are running.

Working for a non-government and non-profit organization, through implementing different community development projects is still considered to be a noble venture to release the target people from poverty.
From my personal assessment, in the current situation of Africa and many other underdeveloped nations, the new front to fight poverty should be business and entrepreneurship. The situation in these countries now compared to thirty or forty years ago is totally different. If we take the demographic profile of Africa, the larger proportion of its citizen are young, vibrant and of a productive age. In terms of natural resources and arable land, Africa is amply endowed in this respect. Of the ten top fast growing economies in the world, seven are in Africa (Ethiopia is one, 2012). With this promising start, to liberate the large poor section of the people still in poverty, business and cultivating entrepreneurship should be the way forward.

My personal decision to work in the area of business, leaving the NGO sector, is mainly dictated by this conviction. The real impact on life of the poor derives from business not from charity any more. Indeed at its time, charity saved the life of many and I have high regards for those who donated their money and effort. I hope the future to Africa and other developing nations is getting bright. The view of our long standing funding countries will be shifted to considering Africa as business partner not a receiver end. It is only this shift in the global partnership alignment that will truly change the miserable life of the poor and deprived in a sustainable manner.

 

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