Serving disadvantaged communities in West Africa by empowering local leaders who have a positive humanitarian vision for their community.
This blog maps the evolution of the organization's vision through the thoughts, experiences, and collaborative projects of our team. Visit GroundUpGlobal.org for more information and how you can help!
At GroundUp Global we emphasize Trade not Aid. But what exactly does that mean?
Photo from Africa Fashion Guide’s Cotton Campaign
At it’s core, Trade not Aid is a way of viewing the continent of Africa not as beneficiaries or backwards economies, but instead as partners.
Most of the world today agrees that with a growth rate of 6% a year, and six out of the ten fastest growing countries in the world, Africa on the whole is an emerging continent succeeding in the global financial turmoil that is plaguing so many other regions. As NPR’s Talk of the Nation recently pointed out, despite the headlines that dominate our front pages, including famines and political unrest, Africa on the whole is booming economically. Why?
While many factors are at play, especially in such a dynamic, diverse region, foreign investment is often cited. Much has been made, for example, of China’s large investments across Africa. This has had a positive effect on the emerging economies growth. As the New York Times argues, also helps support democracy in the region. But, there is also another important trend emerging among this fast paced economic growth: Africans investing in African ventures.
Andrew Rugasira, founder of Ugandan-based Good African Coffee company, said at the NYU DRI conference this spring that one of the biggest challenges facing him, and Africans in general, in starting new ventures is the lack of access to capital. The new trends in local and international investment hopefully mean that this is changing.
Coupled with other important changes, including a rise of social entrepreneurship, local manufacturing finally beginning to take root within Africa for export around the world and and breakthroughs in mobile banking the picture is very optimistic for the future of these emerging and developing economies. The Economist even asked recently if Rwanda was the next Singapore.
But back to the original question: trade not aid. GroundUp Global has always been about connecting continents in equal partnership, and trade not aid is one way we express that economically. The fact that the international community is gradually coming to the conclusion that Africans need investments not handouts is encouraging to see, if a long time coming.