Why Jobs, not Aid, Are The Real Solution to Global Inequality

Timothy Parent
Timothy Parent
November 11, 2021

Africa has been the recipient of billions of dollars of aid over the past 60 years, but it certainly has not been the beneficiary.

 

In a TED talk about the benefits of macro-finance in Africa, investor and entreprenuer Sangu Delle notes "traditional prescriptions for growth in Africa are not working very well. After one trillion dollars in African development-related aid in the last 60 years, real per capita income today is lower than it was in the 1970s."

 

And Dambisa Moyo, author of Dead Aid, shares another startling fact about aid: "Between 1970 and 1998, when aid flows to Africa were at their peak, poverty in Africa rose from 11% to a staggering 66% - roughly 600 million of Africa's billion people are now trapped in poverty."

 

So if half a century of well-meaning aid to the tune of over $1 trillion USD has not had a positive impact, what will?

 

The answer is shockingly simple: skilled jobs.

 

Not all jobs are created equal, as low-paying jobs will continue to entrap people in vicious cycles of poverty. However, if a globalized economy can create well-paid, skilled jobs for Africans then the cycle of poverty that the West has contributed to can finally be broken.

 

In our initial research with our Design Partners, we found that for every $1 someone in Africa receives through employment, there is $2.39 - $9.26 of wealth created in their local economies. The exogenous spending multiplier (ESM) depends largely on what percentage of income is saved vs. spent and which country they are spending in, as different countries have varying savings rates (the countries we did studies in are Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa).

 

A recurring income can not only increase wealth but can also improve housing security, food security, education, health, and mental health. If you would like more information on our research, please contact us.

Enterprises are in a unique position because they need human resources and talent, so their business incentives align directly with this proposed solution of creating skilled jobs in Africa. Designers in Africa are a skilled yet underutilized resource, and they simply need access to work. By connecting designers with companies that need them, we can provide solutions for businesses as well as a lasting impact for communities all across the African Continent.

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