Monday, April 23, 2007

Reaching Out To Nigerian-Americans by Akindele Akinyemi

The way Urban Conservatives have been trying to attract other African Americans to the conservative side has been ass backwards. While most Black people consider themselves socially conservative we are still not voting our values, we are still voting for a party that has deceived us and we are still having trouble regenerating our urban centers. Not to mention that we still have Black people voting 90% Democrat in every single election.

This is when we need another angle of how we can achieve economic, political and social power in our community. One angle that has been left untouched as a whole is reaching out to our Nigerian brothers and sisters who are already have established an economic engine within the community. This economic engine can lead to public policies that will help bring trade within the urban communities in Michigan.

I have no clue of why Urban conservatives have not reached out to our Nigerian-American brothers and sisters to push for more conservative economic planning in our community.

Nigerian-Americans are advancing in many areas like entrepreneurship and health. This is also a group that does not lean for hand outs or welfare. Many are also leaning towards the conservative end. While I have spoken to many of our Nigerian brothers and sisters on conservative policies they do not particularly care for President Bush BUT do agree that education equals economic wealth in urban areas.

Urban conservatives must create an alliance with our Nigerian counterparts in order to defeat poverty and illiteracy in our community. We are wasting our time with some of our urban conservatives in our areas who are too afraid to speak up and take on the liberal machine.

Urban conservatives must begin to network with our Nigerian-American counterparts to send a strong signal to the liberal controlled plantation (government) that they would like to own and take over state-owned corporations. For example,the Kenya Generating Electricity Company (KENGEN) in Kenya offered shares to the public and shares were over-subscribed by 233 percent. Scan Group, a privately owned company that floated shares to the public, was also over-subscribed by 521 percent. The Nairobi Stock Exchange has witnessed a beehive of activity in recent months with many ordinary Kenyans moving to invest in shares.

With my model of building Urban Regional Network in smaller municipalities in Michigan we can begin to do this.

In order to fight poverty, urban conservatives must not wait for others to generate wealth for them. Each aspect of government failure in service delivery has the potential to be turned into a business opportunity. For instance, in areas that receive sufficient rainfall, individuals can invest as little as US$300 to protect springs and ensure clean provision of water. Clean water provision will not only keep populations from incurring expenses caused by water-borne diseases, but will also provide jobs for rural people in water services. A similar approach can be used in the fight against diseases such as malaria. Individuals can invest close to US$800 to purchase World Health Organization-certified pumps for indoor spraying, certified chemical sachets, protective gear and spray against mosquitoes, generating incomes of an estimated US$5 per sprayed house. We can bring those resources to small urban communities like Ecorse, Benton Harbor and Inkster to build a better community.

Urban populations can become part of the middle or upper class if business initiatives focus on targeting markets at the bottom of the economic pyramid. For instance, seed companies and other farm input companies ought to consider repackaging their products in order to accommodate the low-budget consumers in rural areas. To improve the cash flow in rural areas, professionals should consider adding value to the “merry-go-round” loan system popular among small holder farmers. Current “merry-go-round” systems utilize networks of friends or relatives to loan money on predictable terms. Coordination of “merry-go-round” loans offers an opportunity for the creation of a rural banking system, which will facilitate agribusiness creation.

As urban conservatives merge our resources with our Nigerian brothers and sisters we should invest heavily in reforming economic/tax policies to make it easier for Nigerians to invest in medical business. Increased medical businesses will not only improve our community's health and wealth but also advance the quest for value addition on surpluses. Nigerian American populations must combine their efforts with urban conservatives to create a network that will have a focus on African markets. For example, both European and Asian countries (China and India) are concerned with importing raw materials from Africa, but Africans must strive to withdraw from a raw material, export driven economy by removing the punitive policies and taxes that prohibit entry into business.

Another point of bridging our conservative efforts is for urban conservatives and Nigerian Americans to build public policies. Just like Jewish people are working both sides of the aisle with AIPAC the time is now for us to build a similar public affairs network that will enhance trade, not aid, with Nigeria and smaller urban communities here in Michigan. If Nigerians were to lower trade barriers, harmonize their trade licensing procedures, reduce time taken on border checks, and improve efficiency in their judiciary, Nigerian businesspeople would seek to supply the African market. Similarly, businesspeople in other African countries can replicate this strategy, thus creating a larger African business class. That energy can be connected with our efforts to help revitalize urban regional networks here in Michigan.

Expanding the business class is crucial for the alleviation of poverty in both Nigeria and Michigan. Urban conservatives must join in with our Nigerian-American brothers and sisters to take the lead on needing to liberalize capital markets in order to enable the entry of a second stock exchange that will target mostly medium-level businesses. A stock market for medium-level businesses will enable investment by shareholders while providing the opportunity for such businesses to graduate to the main stock market once their capital base expands. For instance, creating a parallel stock market that does not require businesses to have net assets of more than an estimated US$290,000 would lead to a sharp increase in medium-level businesses floating shares in such a stock market. Shareholders will then be able to help finance ventures that will assist the growth of the value added industrial base. A liberalized capital market will force the banking industry to start financing native businesses.

This will help build a stable middle class within our smaller urban communities, free of socialist thought, and free from massa's plantation (big government).

I urge our urban conservatives living in urban areas to connect and build bridges with our Nigerian-American brothers and sisters to build a new reality.

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