"More than 95 percent of the continent (of Africa) lives on a per-capita income of less than $5,000 dollars per year," John Akhile Sr. says.
"Don't try to reinvent the wheel 'cause the wheel works just fine," says John Akhile Sr. of the power of trade to move people en masse out of poverty.
Akhile, author of the book, "Unleashed: A New Paradigm of African Trade with the World," talks about the links between poverty, trade and faith in a new two-part online video interview with EthicsDaily.com.
Akhile, president and CEO of African Trade Group in Durham, North Carolina, emphasizes the importance of a work force in contributing to economic and social stability. The interview is available now in two parts at EthicsDaily.com's Vimeo platform.
In part one, Akhile focuses on the relationship between trade and poverty in Africa.
"More than 95 percent of the continent lives on a per-capita income of less than $5,000 dollars per year," says Akhile. "To bring it down a little closer home, in a country like Nigeria, one of the largest countries in the world, a population of 170 million people, by far the largest on the African continent, over 60 percent of the people live on 70 cents a day. And Nigeria is the largest economy on the African continent."
"To compound the issue," he says, "60 percent of Africans are less than 25 years old."
"If you look at individuals getting themselves out of poverty, it's primarily through work by deploying your resources," he says. "Well, countries have to do the same."
"The ability to employ people in a given country, to create work for people in a given country, is the most direct way to move people from poverty to middle-income status," says Akhile, who points to China as an example of a country that did just that over a period of decades.
"The Chinese became the work force of the more advanced countries - and now not just the more advanced countries, the work force of the world," he says, adding that China copied the model from South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore.
"So my book basically looks at African countries and says, and to African leaders particularly, 'What have you been waiting for?'"
Akhile see large populations of unemployed youth, the world over, as a "time bomb."
It's past time, he says, for Africa to copy "best practices."
In part two, Akhile looks at barriers to adopting best practices. The biggest problem: "the leaders stealing the people's money," he says, adding that corrupt leadership deprives populations of deploying available resources effectively to their advantage.
"We have to look within our hearts and look within ourselves and, more than anything, look at the example of Christ," he says. "Because one of the big elements of Christian faith is that you must do unto your neighbor as you would have your neighbor do unto yourself."
Watch part one of the interview with Akhile at vimeo.com/ethicsdaily/akhile1
Watch part two of the interview with Akhile at vimeo.com/ethicsdaily/akhile2
Learn more about Akhile at africantradegroup.net
Watch other EthicsDaily.com video interviews at vimeo.com/ethicsdaily