Wael Al Saad from Palestine has linked me to your ongoing skype Chat of
the e-Africa Business Club. You were friendly enough to envite me to
exchange contact details on Skype, but I wrote you a message that I am
maybe onot the right person to talk about business opportunities in Africa
and also I am currently overwhelmed with other communication threads and
Nevertheless I do not want to leave this request unanswered - and after
doing some little research and googling I found out that you have strong
village connections, see
(Naivasha Village - Jikaze Community) so indirectly we might have more in
comon that I thought.
I want to use the opportunity to draw your attention to a very interesting
online community, which is called holistichelping and which I follow
occasionally and rather passively. We are linked by a common roof or
common culture which I will talk about later. Also I want to bring some
recent observations from a conference in Salzburg to the attention of the
community there - and by sharing them with you I found an incentive to
finally do so.
Holistic helping is hosted by Janet Feldman, a very active networker based
in Barrington, Rhode Island, United States. Janet is a truly active
organizer, she is founder/director of two HIV/AIDS-related nonprofits, one
the international branch of a Kenyan HIV/AIDS and development
, and the other an
international artscoalition called ActALIVE (http://tigurl.org/mnaf4t)
whose 300 members in 30 countries use the arts and media to address
HIV/AIDS and the MDGs. (I think that means Milennium Development Goals if
I rewad it right). see here: http://profiles.tigweb.org/Frida
You will see that Janet is a great connector and she is linking a good
deal of the most active and unusual individuals around the issues of
conecting answering to needs with creating a perspective. see for example
The reason for the existence of holistic helping is that she linked her
goals with a method of "creating value by communicating values" invented
by Lithuanian philosopher, artist, network facilitator and activist
Andrius Kulikauskas. The idea is to increase our wealth of relationships
and provide opportunities to work - also - for each other without loosing
our personal focus. Thats the common culture I mentioned, based on
self-directedness and a set of tools and skills to help us realize our
true self in communication with others rather than deny it.
I think the special focus of holistichelping though is exactly the linkage
between the helping and development side. Help should enable people to
grow, so they not only can help themselves but also help others. To
develop buiness skills and abilities, to be present in a global net of
finding and filling demands and earning money, all this is part of that
picture. So there is a link to what you do, and the activating influence
of that culture has been beneficially felt in Kenya already, primarily by
the intervention in the civil fights and dangers of civil war that was
called the "Pyramid of Peace".
So that is a very good venue to find fertile ground for collaborations of
any kind, people willing to work for free and to work for money, finding
the right balance between self-directedness and the amazing power of money
to bring us in contact. Andrius is working on ways to instigate corporate
clients to provide more business related opportunities especially for
Africans, whilst the nature of the work they do could simply be beneficial
to the growth of the non-business-side, too.
Thats exactly in resonance with my point in general: we must seek to
involve the dominant mode of business to help us provide (to maintain, to
save, to create) a reality beyond business, because business in the market
has become an overall costly and redundant activity with too many players
everywhere - and a horrible dominance of marketing and sales over quality
and sustainability. Economy is the modern equivalent of war, not of peace.
The solution that I am pointing out is a world that provides local living
opportunities based on agreements, which create a sustainable environment
that is the base for a "minority game" called market. If we are not forced
to sell ourselves, we might provide with pride.
I call this scheme "Global Villages", which simply means a planet filled
with millions of basiucally self-sustaining villages, linked in a global
cloud of knowledge exchange and grouped in local independent regions
around a number of "mothercituies". Exchange of material goods in this
vision will only take place if it really provides substantial advantages
over local production. Exchange of people, of travelling, of considering
the whole planet as our home, will be greatly enhanced, though - still
probably resulting in less transportation than today. Lets call it a 20 -
80 scheme: 20% global market economy, 80% local agreement economy. I
worked this out in many places and I am buildung a Global Voillages
Network of people who want to join development ideas and perspectives and
"You may say that I am a dreamer, but I am not the only one" (John Lennon)
So I want to report from the conference that the Global Marshall Plan
Foundation recently held in Salzburg, Austria. It was meant to be a high
level business conference, chaired by Prince Hassan from Jordania, about
the emerging opportunities of collaborative approaches that take into
account that our most essential wealth is commons, not prvately owned,
something that we have really lost sight of.
There was a group of children that started the "plant for the planet"
project. One Million new trees in every country, every region. Very
impressive, But there were some very mature and even more exciting
business projects that deserve our fill attention.
What stroke me most is the potential of DESERTEC, a very ambitious project
of immense scale backed by the club of Rome and important European
business players, that basically can be described as "creating a European
- African energy grid". Desertec starts with the observation that turning
a square of 400 by 400 Square kilometres in the Sahara to a thermal solar
power plant - collecting sunlight with mirrors, heating water that drives
steam engines - could provide enough electricity for the energy needs of
the whole mankind!!! The costs of bringin one Kilowatthour to far remote
places loke Europe would be one cent.
Now the project starts with this observation, but is very open in
development how to use this opportunity. Our first suspicion was that it
is megalomanic, the second one that it is colonialistic.
But the answers that came were very promising.
* Desertec does not want to confine itself to large power plants. Solar
power collection could be vastly decentralised.
* Only 20% of the energy harvested should go to Europe, 80% should stay in
Africa, be used for water desalienation and many other local needs
* Europe should not totally rely on that energy, but only have 20% of its
needs met by passive solar, while other renewable sources should also be
So imagine if a project like this really becomes the backbone for African
* The inner - African North South conflict (expansion of Islam etc) could
be mitigated, a zone of intensive development and peaceful settlements
powered ny the Grid would emerge in the Sahara and Subsahara. Europe would
not have to be affraid of migrants any more, many Europeans would maybe
like to spend a wintertime in warm climate and so on....
* A real bridge for knowledge transfer and collaboration could emerge if
the energy infrastructure could be combined with broadband communication
infrastructure. Global Villages could emerge wghich use skills and inputs
from the whole globe to Imprve their local living condition.
* The most important local needs could be addressed; "Energy harvestiung"
would be much easier and beneficial than exporting agricultural goods.
Soil and water could be directed to local needs.
Thats the approach and I ask myself what would be possible if the power of
community led development like shown by Open Source Ecology
(www.openfarmtech.org) and similar endavours would be merged with
infastructural developments like DESERTEC and support projects like the
Telepathology project that was also introduced in Salzburg.
Is this possible? I wonder.
We should dare to dream - a European - African dream.
I wish you all the best in your endavours.