Is philanthropy killing business in Africa?

Todd Johnson asks his Ethiopian friend, an IT entrepreneur, his greatest business challenge. His answer? NGOs.

“Africans don’t see a reward system in place for being entrepreneurial. In fact, they view it as a matter of survival, not an opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty. Rather, what they learn at a very early age, is that in order to make good money, they should learn to speak English incredibly well and then maybe, just maybe, they can get a job driving for an NGO. In a few years, if they play their cards right, they might be able to land an NGO job as a project manager and even advance further.”

Sammy’s point was simply this. As a struggling businessman creating new start-ups, he could not compete with what NGO’s were paying for some of the best and brightest. And even worse, he said, “by the time the NGO’s are done with them, there isn’t an ounce of entrepreneur left.”

When a lot of aid hits a small skilled workforce, there are consequences. I think the message is that, if tallying the benefits of an NGO program, it’s good to look on the other side of the ledger.

h/t: Africa Unchained