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Dispatch From Uganda: What Africa Needs Now

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What Uganda needs now is the same thing that most all of Africa needs, which is not only efficient and well thought out infrastructure, and a cross-border, trading-enabled transportation system, but even more so, what Uganda needs now is to nurture and launch a bold generation of young entrepreneurs, small business owners and self-employment projects.

What Uganda needs is now more taxpayers, and individual propery rights.

With individual property rights, just like we had at the founding of America as a young democracy, the individual poor would have what my friend, the late Housing & Urban Development Secretary Jack Kemp called "seed corn."

They could encumber and build up their own piece of the Ugandan dream, and grow assets, equity and a net worth, which can later be passed on to their equally enterprising children. In short, the international community needs to not stop with the simple act of giving a man a fish in Africa, which is appreciated, and rather teach that man (and woman) to fish, and even how to own the boat, own the ship, and even the lake if that's appropriate.

With a generation of stakeholders and taxpayers who understand the unique "language of money" in Uganda (and by extension all of Africa), the continent would within a generation be completely transformed into a dynamic engine of sustainable growth, opportunity, and the dignity that it so rightly deserves.

Studies have shown that a mere 1% increase in GDP on the African continent would be equal to three times the amount of foreign aid pouring into Africa annually.

What Africa needs now is a hand up, and not simply a hand out.

My mentor and HOPE global spokesman, civil rights icon and strategist in the civil rights movement Ambassador Andrew Young, shared a story of him and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., touring Israel and Palestine. After Dr. King and Mrs. Coretta Scott King returned from a trip along the famed Jericho Road, a reporter said to him, "Dr. King, you remind me of the Biblical Good Samaritan along the Jericho Road," and Dr. King reportedly said nothing in response. Later he told Young, "Andy, I love and respect the Good Samaritan, and we need Good Samaritans, but I don't want to be one." King continued, "I don't want to pick not one more of my people up, sitting next to the road, in a ditch, like a victim. I want to fix that Jericho Road..."

What Africa needs now is not so much, more of the Biblical "Good Samaritans," picking up victims along the Jericho Road, but more entrepreneurs, business owners and practical visionaries who actually want to "fix and repair the Jericho Roads" of the continent, and our world.

Not stopping there, they should also want to pave the Jericho Road, put street lights up along the Jericho Road, see economic development and community development along the Jericho Road, and dignity rich, educated young people working in their shops and businesses, and growing households and families, along the Jericho Road.

What Africa needs now are more Martin's and Patricks' (see my last piece on Uganda entitled "Fix the Damn Pot Holes"), committed to "fixing the Jericho Roads" throughout Africa.

What Africa needs to do now, is to fix that damn pot hole. We can help.

John Hope Bryant is an entrepreneur, the founder, chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE, former vice chairman, U.S. President's Advisory Council on Financial Literacy, financial literacy advisor to the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council, a Young Global Leaders for the World Economic Forum, internationally recognized public speaker and author of LOVE LEADERSHIP; A New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass), which debuted in August, 2009, as the Amazon.com #1 Hottest New Book (for Leadership), on the CEO Reads Top 10 Business Best Seller List, and was published in November, 2009 in digital audio book format on Audible.com, iTunes and other audio book retailers . Love Leadership was listed amongst the Top 25 Business Books for Inc. Magazine/CEO Read for 10 month after its release.