The following is a response to an article titled “My Encounter With Elijah Ngurare” by Alexactus T Kaure, which appeared in The Namibian Newspaper on June 25, 2010.
Just one thing came to mind quick; the difference between someone living and working in a foreign country and then take that knowledge back, such as what the article says, that most of the Namibian senior government leaders have lived, worked, and studied in foreign countries, is that; there are many foreigners in different countries, but the knowledge they gain may depend on their environment, where they work, live and play.
Especially for most Africans, in foreign countries tend to congregate among themselves, and not venture out and mix up to meet up and network with people from outside their circles who really matters. Also, if your mind only thinks about working and paying your bills and then send money to your family back home, then that’s may be the only knowledge you take back to your home country.
But the most effective method I have learned as an entrepreneur in America for the past 17 years; it’s the people I meet, the challenges I face in developing and growing a business, not a pop and mom street corner shop selling African books but an actual corporation with diversified consumer goods. Yes, do those things, meet up with some of the best minds, attend events such as Global Business Forum, Global Economic Forum, etc., and rub shoulders with the likes of the keynote speakers, interact, network, and talk with the likes of people. Go through the triple edge sword of being an African, black, male, and trying to develop and run a business in America, do that for over 10 years; and tell me what kind of experience you will gain. And then what happens when you go back to your home country; you have the real knowledge; both academically and street skills that you can really take and apply in your home country.
Such as the network of people I have encountered with over the years; if that didn’t happen with me, then I would never even come close to being part of the $5 billion value ecosystem development, we are currently undertaking in Grootfontein, Namibia. It’s through the networking, meeting the right people, develop the necessary connections and then be able to do greater things.
“Hands-on experience, academic and street smart followed by lots of failures, and tenacity knowledge encompassed by the right connections are what matters.” As per LinkedIn.com’s motto; “Relationships Matter”.
However, if you lived in a foreign country, doing whatever odd jobs, but you have really never went out there, face the challenges of running something, then what kind of leadership role and ability can you really take back to your home country if all you did when living in a foreign country is simply get up each morning and go to work and after work, go partying and drinking with your everyday fellow countrymen?