February 05 2014 Martin TRONQUIT
Sustainable Development

What makes me hopeful for Africa…

Today I was stuck in a traffic jam in Nairobi, talking to the driver, Henry. His story sheds lights on what makes me hopeful for Africa, it illustrates that if one has energy and intelligence it can, in most cases succeed.

Henry was born in a small city in rural Kenya. He was able to attend school until the age of 9, where he was very bright , one of the best in his class. Unfortunately his parents divorced and he had to be brought up by his grandmother who didn’t have much money and needed him to work. At age 21 he got married and he had four children before he turned 30. He got into the taxi business where he has become the perfect driver: available, timely and resourceful.Henry wants to make money, for one key reason: to offer each of his four children (three girls and one boy) access to higher education.

And he has a plan. “In five years I will be out of the taxi business. I will be a developer”.

In fact he already is. He bought a piece of land in his home city and started building a few rooms to rent. He now has 10 rooms rented to students or travelers bringing him a healthy 50000 shillings a month (~460 €). His plan is to build 98 rooms in total on this land and then to develop other lands.

I’ll let you do the calculations and you will understand why I believe in a bright future for Henry’s four children !

Martin TRONQUIT, Managing Partner, Infomineo.

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