Last year, the only two expatriates of the Ghanaian affiliate of a service company were wondering what to offer their employees as a Christmas gift. With very good sense, they thought the best would be for the employees to decide themselves. The only condition was that it would be the same for everybody, so they had to agree on it. After some discussions, they reached agreement: guess what? They wanted… a goat!! I bet my two expat friends would never have come up with this idea on their own.
The fact is that a goat is a great resource for a family in Ghana and in other sub-Saharan African countries. I understand that disposable income in many African countries is higher in the rural areas than in the cities (sorry, I can’t provide hard data on this). The reason is that those in rural areas don’t always have to pay from their pockets for food and rent.
I looked for official World Bank information about income distribution in Ghana to learn that the country is not included in the statistics (the GINI Index). Ghana is not among the poorest countries (it ranks 81 out of 192 in terms of GDP per capita, according to the World Bank – with all of the caveats for not including the informal economy). However, it’s safe to say that some (probably many) people there may not be getting three meals a day.
Many African entrepreneurs and executives are worried about this reality. One of their main goals is to create job opportunities. This is, indeed, the medium- to long-term solution to inequality. In the meantime, some organizations try to mitigate people’s problems in the short-term. One such organization is Mary’s Meals: among other projects, they are feeding more than 0.9 million children in Africa, and they want to make it a million. It costs only £12.20/year to feed a child for the whole year. If you want to contribute, you can make a one-off donation now or give regularly.
Any thoughts on other ways to contribute to balancing out economic inequalities?
Merry Christmas to all of those who celebrate it, and peace and good wishes to each and every one.