Morning in Africa: how local families are changing their world

In the wake of the sharp fall in revenue from crude oil and solid minerals in many African countries, one public commentator shared his observations living in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and largest economy. Every day, you see local families adjusting to the new economic reality that confronts the country.

In many households, early morning, the whole family assemble before the father and mother, who often shares the family schedule for the day and children are active players in the small family conference that entails planning and budgeting.

These morning gathering, kind of give meaning to the unique belief Africans reinforce in themselves that together as a family unit they can thrive even in times of national crisis.

Each member becomes responsible for daily tasks. In such times when resources are scarce, everyone understands that just as daddy and mummy are working hard, children can make their contributions too.

You find children who are responsible for small family business – after school and at tender age

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locally produced dish washing liquid, photo credit: www.zhauns.co.za

of 10.

Although most times these businesses are owned by their parents, it is a common occurrence to see children of that family, take shifts after school and on weekends.

This provides the parents with reasonable amount of time to engage in other activities to augment the family’s income.

one would be tempted to ask, is it working? Oh yes it is.

Recent findings have shown that families are beginning to adjust and find a way around the economic downturn with the establishment of new businesses to support themselves.

A good example is that of Mrs Onyema, a civil servant by profession. Mrs Onyema has a small provision store which she manages with the aid of her children.

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photo credit: www.atangledweb.org

The store opens around 2pm daily, after her children would have been back from school. Mrs Onyema returns from work by 4pm to join them.

While at home, Mrs Onyema who attended a skills summit in cosmetology production, engages in the production of liquid detergent, soap and other cleaning solutions which she displays in front of her store.

Mr Onyema, who is also a civil servant engages in farming activities in their garden, growing plants like pumpkin leaves, groundnut, corn and yam. The family consumes most of the farm produce, but the rest is sold in the market.

All this extra business activities which provides the family with extra income would not have been possible without the family members playing specific roles – the children especially.

A farmer in Morogoro, Tanzania, discusses differences in his maize ears caused by differences in on-farm conditions, at a field day organized by Tanzanian seed company Tanseed International. For more about the collaboration between Tanseed and CIMMYT, see CIMMYT's June 2009 e-news story "No maize, no life!" available online at: http://www.cimmyt.org/en/about-us/media-resources/newsletter/previous-issues/38-2009/119-genetic-resources-program. Photo credit: Anne Wangalachi/CIMMYT.

an african farmer displaying his farm produce, photo credit: mylagonave.com

Just like the Onyema’s, other African families are engaging in extra income making ventures and this is the first step to turning around the economic situation in their country.

According to Forbes report, in the USA and Europe, small businesses have been responsible for their economy’s growth, providing half of the country’s GDP as well as more than half the country’s workforce. Suffice to say that these businesses are run by families.

Various small African businesses owned by families are springing up with interests especially in manufacturing and agriculture. What initially started out as a struggle for survival and sustainability has turned out to position

GVCs AFrica_1

photo credit: www.ictsd.org

African countries on the track to achieve its lost glory.

Going by the Forbes report, it means Nigeria and other African countries are on the right track and a new morning is dawning in Africa. A morning of self dependency and sufficiency with local families at the forefront of this change.

 

 

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