Rural infrastructure development key to financial freedom
AFTER having visited rural areas in the past months I just realised that money is in the rural areas and we can do something about it.
MoB Capital was part of a research team on rural sustainability in the rural populace with primary investigation on women/youth’s role in financial freedom vis-a-vis infrastructure.
It’s a fallacy that money is resident in our towns and cities. Everything we are consuming is rural. Agriculture produce is being done in rural areas not in urban areas. Even good culture of Ubuntu is rural.
The majority of populace is in rural setups. Refreshingly cool air is found in rural areas and in abundance. Research has shown that most profitable and loyal clientele is in the rural areas. Huge mining operations, tourism, solar technology, wind technology and water bodies are found in rural places. The latest gum poles and thatch structures craze is sustained by rural activities. Dedicated labour is now rural based or is originally rural sourced.
The urbanites have of late started overcrowding rural populace. Then why concentrate in urban areas where no production is taking place? Why fund the urban areas when rural is the one producing all what we consume?
This is what misplaced priorities do, that is, to be more sympathetic to urban dwellers than rural dwellers. The irony is that despite all that above the rural setup is reeling in abject poverty. It is exhibiting utter painful traumatising hopelessness in financial freedom quest. That is painful financially, emotionally and morally and when you visit the areas you can physically touch the abject poverty.
The rural setup is failing to take off because of lack of infrastructural developments, which has led to shortcomings in providing rural finance to either big or small players.
Rail is by its nature cost effective for both moving cargo and human traffic. The network that is already available has tentacles all over the countryside to move bulky raw materials to intended destinations. Most of the cargo/raw materials are rural based. Mining and agriculture is better suited for rail which is rural based.
Road offers convenience to the rural setup. Whether it’s implements or produce they require a good road network. This easy access to markets makes rural firms to be competitive. This ease of movement of people and goods makes provisions of goods and services cost effective and encourages growth.
Air Capital and owners of capital never existed in communal areas. So they have to access these rural areas in the most efficient possible way and strategic air travel is advisable. Time is money so air travel becomes an aide to effective and efficient management of rural concerns.
Education In order to perform accordingly rural communities need to be knowledgeable and that basic education is vital. Those schools and vocational training college/ polytechnics, Agri-colleges are necessary to increase production through effective and efficient means. In addition profit and losses need to be understood as rural production isn’t a charitable case.
Health As employees come, employers’ communities are dependent on their health for financial freedom. They need these world class health facilities to realise their potential. Health and wealth are correlated. A healthy workforce is an asset to the rural set up which has to be supported by modern health facilities that are even preventative in nature.
Water A well developed water system be it for household consumption or production revolved around harnessing this precious commodity. Boreholes, irrigation, dams, recycling systems are key to sustaining rural production. Gone are the days of over reliance on natural rain water when production has gone this commercial and this big.
Electricity Whether in renewable form or otherwise a continuous supply is required. It makes the place habitable and attracts skills that would otherwise not come to the reserves as it were.
Communication Markets should be able to freely communicate to the communities involved in production. And rural setup needs to be abreast with modern ways of production, market intelligence, and research on a real time basis thus ICT is a must for quick solutions to the communications dilemma. It’s a modern day era and communication is key to survival.
Finance Of all things the most challenging is capital. Without capital everything else will grind to a halt. This is the glue that brings everything together. Most requirements are capital biased. The need to have adequate capital is vital. This can be within or without family so as to increase efficiency and effectiveness. These rural communities need cost effective right capital to do what has to be done. Make relevant finance available to these communities.
Political A well developed rural community set up decongests cities and towns and policy makers love this. When we make politicians happy they are more willing to listen and make favourable policies. Rural strategic planning is a win-win to all stakeholders. That is smart partnership.
Waste management The 21st century is all about environment so it is of paramount importance that all waste management systems take into consideration the health of the communities in line with world acceptable standards.
With other systems it involves a complete system where waste could be used as raw materials or waste is fed to animals or plants. Monitoring these ensures a safe and healthy environment to operate from without compromising production.
Monetisation of rural land There is need to monetise and securitise the means of production to unlock value in these areas. Title ownership and showing communities how much they are sitting on potential will increase production. Make lease agreements bankable, increase title ownership and move away from communal ownership especially on areas of production.
Ubuntu exhibited in these areas implies all costs of production are done in a morally up right manner which should be emulated and replicated. Small scale farmers’ Ubuntu shows a great deal of excellent workmanship. You trust the products/services and you trust the people. You just have faith with rural folks
Once all the above are taken care of then it will be easy to offer finance to the rural dwellers as investors can see that their returns are guaranteed.
IF YOU LIVE IN BULAWAYO CONSERVE WATER
IF YOU LIVE IN ZIMBABWE PLEASE USE ELECTRICITY SPARINGLY: SOS (SWITCH OFF SWITCHES)
IF YOU LIVE ON PLANET EARTH PLEASE PRESERVE THE ENVIRONMENT
Morris Mpala is the managing director of MoB Capital Limited, a Bulawayo headquartered microfinance institution with footprint across the country. PLEASE