An African Entrepreneur Plans for the Future

Part of the Biblical Worldview is planning for the future. Even in our modern world there are still those that don’t plan for the future. This is true in the Western world as well as developing nations. One of my favorite examples from a developing nation of someone breaking out of this lack of planing for the future is a friend from Africa..

William Munyanya is in an African entrepreneur who lives in the Kitale region of Kenya. He told me the story of trying to teach some of his neighbors to think more prosperously by thinking long term instead of short term. Kitale is a rich agricultural area of Kenya and their biggest cash crop is corn which they call maize. The problem with selling the maize they harvest is that it is all harvested at the same time, and this creates a glut on the local market and drives the price of the corn down.

William explained to his neighbors that they could put their maize in storage for six months and then get twice the price for it. Of course it would cost them some money for storage, but they would still make significantly more than if they sell it at harvest time. William was ready to hire the storage space so they could all share that cost together. As he finished his proposal, his neighbors’ response was to laugh at him. In their minds they had never heard of such a stupid thing. They didn’t believe him because they were so used to getting all the cash right away at harvest. It didn’t matter to them that if they waited they would actually get more cash, almost twice as much. They couldn’t see it. There focus was only on today’s need. William ended up doing it himself to prove it to them. He wanted to demonstrate for them that long term planning is more prosperous thinking than just thinking for today.

Another example of this kind of long term planning for William’s neighbors to see is how he is prepared to get electricity to his house. He built a house in a rural area that has no access to electricity. In rural Africa, electricity is not available along every road but only comes where people pay for it to come. They knew when they built the house that the closest electricity was located miles away, and they didn’t have the money to pay for it to get there.

William’s plan was to research what kind of tree the electric company uses for electric poles, and he planted a stand of this kind of trees on his property. These tall slender trees grow fairly rapidly, however it still took 7-8 years for them to be large enough for him to trade or sell to the electric company for electrical service.

The Rest of the Story: On my recent trip to Kenya I found that William had the electricity at his house. His practical planning for the future worked out well. It took time but he got electricity to his home for his family.

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