The Future of Work Starts with Farming
How are jobs created? While throughout the season we're going to be looking at that question primarily through a technology and innovation lens, in this episode we're going to start by exploring this jobs question through a more traditional development and economics lens. Because as we'll see, though the future of work might be remote work or the creator economy or any other nascent categories, the future of work in Africa is also a traditional development story. And it starts with farming.
4:11 - Africa's population is 1.4 billion people. It will double by 2050. Where are the jobs going to come from?
5:50 - Employment and informality, with development economist Louise Fox.
7:13 - The traditional development story starts with agriculture.
10:19 - Step two in the playbook is to invest in an export-oriented industry.
13:13 - Agriculture is an important sector to invest in from a development and job creation perspective. We speak to PE investor Jerry Parkes.
19:15 - The opportunity for an integrated approach across the value chain.
21:43 - A retrospective conversation with The Flip's Justin Norman and Sayo Folawiyo.
- Louise Fox–Nonresident Senior Fellow,Brookings Institution
- Jerry Parkes–CEO,Injaro Investments
- Dare Okoudjou–Founder & CEO,MFS Africa
- Sayo Folawiyo–Co-founder & CEO,Kandua
- Justin Norman–Founder & Host,The Flip
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Louise Fox: The first thing I would say is that the challenge Africa is facing is not unprecedented. As a matter of fact, every other developing region in the world has faced it.
Justin Norman: That's Louise Fox. She's a labor economist, formerly the Chief Economist at USAID, and before that, a 30-year veteran of the World Bank. She's currently a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
Louise Fox: I've been working on youth employment in sub-Saharan Africa for about 15 years.
Justin Norman: I reached out to Louise to talk about exactly that - where are the jobs going to come from? It's a question we're going to explore throughout the entirety of this season of The Flip. And it's a particularly important question in the African context, considering how young the population is, how many Africans will come of working age in the near term, and how the rate of population growth on the continent will exacerbate everything further.
Louise Fox: I would say there is a challenge in that the labor force is gonna grow pretty fast, for a little longer than in some of these other countries. But overall, this is a challenge that can be overcome. We know how to do it, but it takes time. It doesn't happen overnight. Good jobs don't fall from the sky overnight.
Justin Norman: So how are jobs created? While throughout the season we're going to be looking at that question primarily through a technology and innovation lens, in this episode, our first of season four, we're going to start by exploring this jobs question through a more traditional development and economics lens. Because as we'll see, though the future of work might be remote work or the creator economy or any other nascent categories, the future of work in Africa is also a traditional development story.
Justin Norman: Before we start, we'd like to thank our sponsor, MFS Africa, for the support of the entirety of season four of The Flip. Last season we sat down with MFS Africa's CEO Dare Okoudjou, for a deep dive into cross-border payments. And since then, the company has been busy with additional acquisitions to further their mission of making borders matter less and to make payments interoperable across different payment types. So I recently caught up with Dare to see what MFS Africa has been up to and what's in store for 2023.
Dare Okoudjou: When we spoke last time, we'd just done the Baxi acquisition. And happy to report that we’ve made a lot of progress around the integration we wanted to do. Our first objective was to make sure Baxi continued to grow and continue to be relevant in the payment ecosystem in Nigeria, which we have done and continue to do. So our objective is still to get to about 500,000 agent POS active and we’ve made good progress this year towards that.
Our second objective was to make sure we connect the Baxi network to our network to enable cross-border payment in and out of Nigeria, and we made a lot of progress in that direction, as well. And then our third objective was to learn how we could take this outside of Nigeria because we still believe there is a lot in the offline payment - most of Africa GDP is actually offline, so if we want to be relevant in the broader context of Africa, we have to address that segment as well.
Since then, we have also made another acquisition, GTP, in June, for a different reason in a completely different geography. But there was the acceleration of our conviction around interoperability still, that there is a need and a growing need to connect the mobile money ecosystem that we have across Africa to the global card rails. And that's what GTP is going to help us to do, to make sure that every single mobile wallet connected to the MFS Africa network can seamlessly move money in and out of card in Africa and around the world.
Justin Norman: You're listening to The Flip - the podcast exploring more contextually relevant stories from entrepreneurs around Africa.
Welcome back to The Flip. I'm your host, Justin Norman.
The initial premise of this season is that the future of work and youth employment, in particular, is an especially pertinent issue in the African context due to the staggeringly high population growth and youth population in an area of comparably low earnings or income generation, and in an environment of low formal job creation as well. You've probably heard the statistics, but it bears repeating.
Africa's population is 1.4 billion people. Its population will double by 2050. Its urban population will triple. In the next 80 years, the global population will grow by 3 billion people. 2.7 billion, or 87 percent of the global population growth, will come from sub-Saharan Africa.
Meanwhile, the median age on the continent is 19.7 years old. In the UK it's 40. In the US it's 38. Germany is 46, Japan is 49. Even in China, it's 38, and in India, it's 28. As a result, African countries will be adding more people to the workforce in the next 10 years than the rest of the world combined.
Where are young Africans going to find income-generating opportunities? What's the plan to create more of them? And if we were the president or the minister of labor of an African country, where should we invest and what should we prioritize?
For a podcast primarily focused on startups and technology, I would argue that technology should play a role. In considering the macro context we just explained, I would also argue that technology is increasingly going to be used to connect Africans to global opportunities because not enough local jobs are going to be created.
Indeed, we're going to make that argument in future episodes this season, but that argument fails to take into account the degree to which businesses and markets across Africa remain small-scale and informal, and the degree of local consumption as a result.
So considering where most African markets are today, as our hypothetical country's minister of labor, we must also invest in traditional industries and follow a more traditional economic development playbook.
Justin Norman: Here's Louise Fox, who we heard from in the opener.
Louise Fox: An economist would define employment as any economic activity where you're trying to make money. So a subsistence farmer is employed. They're just not productively employed. They're not earning very much.
Justin Norman: While formal job creation is of course a long-term aim, given the characteristics of the African market today, a significant percentage of the population will remain in less formal employment.
Louise Fox: Yes, it's a good idea to focus on formal jobs, but we need to understand that not everybody's going to get one. Somewhere between 25 and 50 percent of the new entrants, depending on the country and the context, are gonna get one. You have 50 percent of people who will be employed working for themselves and their families in what we call household farms and firms. And it's just going to take maybe one or two generations for that to change and not be the majority. So we need to focus on that.
Justin Norman: Because as Louise says…
Louise Fox: Informal will be normal for a long time.
Justin Norman: And the informal sector can and will produce growth for the countries in question.
Louise Fox: When I first started working on the informal sector in Africa, somebody said, “But this is not going to produce growth, Louise.” And I said, “What are you talking about? If 50 percent of the country makes 10 percent more income, I call that growth.”
Justin Norman: So this is where growth is going to come from. If more than half of the people are employed in the informal sector, in what Louise calls household farms and firms, then the biggest boost to employment is going to come from productivity increases in household farms and firms - in agriculture and in the informal services sector. And as Louise argues, we can't overlook the role of agriculture in particular.
Louise Fox: In terms of farming, there is in some countries in Africa, an agro pessimism. There is a sense that agriculture is the past, not the future. But I do know that there is a lot of evidence that countries can get rich on agriculture.
Justin Norman: Indeed agriculture has actually been a stabilizing force for many countries of late, and particularly through the pandemic.
Louise Fox: Some of my recent research, which is not even yet published, suggests that over the past 30 years in Africa, the agricultural sector has been less volatile in terms of economic growth than the non-agricultural sector. It can actually create macroeconomic stability, investing in agriculture. And the agriculture sector was the stabilizing sector for most African countries during COVID.
Justin Norman: And when agriculture is more productive, which is in and of itself an impactful outcome, it also comes with second-order benefits.
Louise Fox: Take a country like Tanzania, where agriculture has become more productive. Well, two things are happening. One, people are leaving agriculture. So the subsistence farmers who really maybe don't want to farm, can't make a living in agriculture, have a small plot are not in a good area, not in a very productive area, they're leaving it and they're able to leave it because there's more productivity. So their children could then move into urban areas or towns or even within rural areas, into supporting upstream or downstream production.
Justin Norman: When agriculture becomes more productive, it affords less productive farmers the ability to go do something else, and there's often an opportunity to do something else that's adjacent to farming.
Louise Fox: So it sounds odd to invest in agriculture in order to have fewer jobs, but actually better agriculture creates better jobs downstream.
Justin Norman: Now if we're following a traditional development playbook, we can look to Asia for inspiration. And in particular, their work to create conditions for small farmers to thrive.
Louise Fox: All of the Asian tigers started out with a land reform and land markets and clear land title. And I have to say the land issue in Africa looms large.
Justin Norman: Addressing this issue is important for multiple reasons. Especially in countries where a majority of the population is farm labor, giving these farmers ownership obviously has positive implications from an income generation and equality perspective, which also leads to better crop yields. And addressing these land issues also has positive implications on willingness to invest in agriculture.
Louise Fox: There's clear evidence that people don't invest if they don't have clear land tenure. And then the people that invest in bringing the technology and bringing the goods from the farm to the market don't invest. So this land issue really looms large, I think. But the countries that are working on it are doing better.
Justin Norman: Then the economic development playbook says once land issues are addressed and agricultural yields increase, countries should invest the proceeds from those surpluses towards manufacturing and export-oriented manufacturing, in particular.
Louise Fox: You think about Vietnam and Thailand, agriculture created the exports that they used to bring in the machinery and the capital investment they needed to become upper-middle-income countries. So I think you can easily underestimate the importance of agriculture.
Justin Norman: But there's an open question from a timing perspective around what the manufacturing sector might look like in the African context today.
Louise Fox: Manufacturing is something that has economies of scale and many African countries can't get that economy of scale. It would take a lot of investment. So manufacturing is much more capital-intensive. Second of all, manufacturing has turned a lot to automation to raise quality. And so if Africa's going export manufacturing, it now faces a much higher quality standard.
Justin Norman: So this is where questions are being asked around what African countries might then manufacture. The Brookings Institution, for example, has conducted research around so-called industries without smokestacks in which industrialization in Africa is reconsidered based on the realities on the ground.
Louise Fox: There are a lot of reasons why manufacturing is a big hurdle for Africa, but I think what my colleagues at Brookings in developing this industry without smokestacks idea have really focused on is that there are sectors where they have the same characteristics of manufacturing, in terms of bringing in new technology, allowing learning while doing ,et cetera, but that don't run up against these obstacles. Now, one of the sectors they focus on is agri processing.
Justin Norman: When we come back we're going to dive deeper into agri processing and what investment looks like across the agricultural value chain. But before we do, here's another word from our sponsor, MFS Africa.
Earlier in the show, we heard from MFS Africa’s Dare Okoudjou on their acquisitions of Baxi and GTP, and the work involved to make payments more interoperable. So from mobile money interoperability to interoperability with offline agents, to interoperability with cards - what's next?
Dare Okoudjou: So layer one mobile money, by and large, is the most relevant form of payment method across the continent. Layer two for me will actually be the offline. And then the card being layer three. Especially when we are looking at inter-Africa payments a lot of it is still relative to trade. Over the last 12 months one of the notable introductions is around crypto and the on- and off-ramp which is growing, and will continue to grow. But a good portion of that, at least clients we’ve spoken to, was still related to trade. And it has more to do with someone wanting to import something and needing to make a payment to Turkey or needing to make a payment to Hong Kong, and using fiat to buy stablecoin to make this payment. Over the last 12 months, it has been a really fast-growing use case that we see across the network. But crypto is maybe its own stack. Obviously, it needs, you know, money's still physical, so you need the on-ramp, off-ramp in somehow. But crypto may just be a completely different network. And we are keeping our minds open for that possibility.
Justin Norman: Last season we published an episode called From Farm to Table - season three, episode seven - in which we explored the agri sector in more detail. In that episode, we spoke about the gaps across the agri value chain. There's this apocryphal statistic that Nigeria is one of the largest producers of tomatoes in West Africa, and also one of the largest importers of tomato paste. While increasing productivity at the farm level is an important part of the development story, increased productivity, as we heard from Louise earlier in the show, ultimately leads to less jobs on the farm and more jobs downstream along the value chain. And that's where a big growth opportunity exists, to add and capture value from a processing perspective and to create thousands of new jobs along the way.
Jerry Parkes: At the moment, we're capturing probably about 4 percent of the value. I'd love to make it more of a superfood by capturing maybe 50 percent of the value in Africa.
Justin Norman: That's Jerry Parkes. He's the CEO of Injaro Investments.
Jerry Parkes: Injaro Investments is a private capital investment firm that invests equity and debt in SMEs across Africa. Our track record to date has mainly been investing in agricultural SMEs.
Justin Norman: If we agree with the premise that agriculture is an important sector to invest in from a development and job creation perspective, it's important to get Jerry's perspective as a PE investor, primarily backing agribusinesses. In our conversation, Jerry and I talked about African superfoods and he offered an alternative definition of African superfoods: that African superfoods are that which create employment opportunities for the continent. But the biggest opportunity is capturing more value locally across the value chain.
Jerry Parkes: Based on my definition, cocoa is a superfood already because it's consumed everywhere in the world and it's creating millions of jobs in West Africa. We can probably make it more of a superfood if we could capture more of the value of the end product, which is chocolate. In Africa, at the moment, we're capturing probably about 4 percent of the value. I'd love to make it more of a superfood by capturing maybe 50 percent of the value in Africa. This would involve investing in a lot more downstream processing so that we are only exporting higher-value intermediate products, maybe even the final chocolate.
Justin Norman: This, of course, involves investing in processing and production.
Jerry Parkes: Why don't we have Cadbury's chocolate factories in Ghana at least? Why couldn't they put 20 percent of their capacity in Ghana, 20 percent of their production capacity in Ivory Coast, to actually add more value locally and create more jobs in this market?
Justin Norman: And this question gets to the heart of the opportunity in agri processing and is indicative of the commercial opportunity on the ground.
Jerry Parkes: From a returns perspective, there are still opportunities that one can invest in because they're very clear value-creation opportunities that agribusinesses can target. So for instance, Africa still imports between $50 and 60 billion worth of food every year. So that means there are established local markets that are willing to pay hard currency for these imported food products. So clearly anyone who plugs into that demand by substituting those imports stands to make significant profits. There's also certain products that Africa produces almost exclusively, things like shea butter, cocoa, fonio, and a few other things, where if we actually do a good job of value addition locally and do some active marketing in international markets, we can actually extract some pretty good value over there, as well.
Justin Norman: For Jerry, this is what drives his firm's focus on agribusiness - the commercial opportunity, as well as the impact created by a more productive and robust agriculture sector across the continent.
Jerry Parkes: As a son of the continent, I had to be part of the solution towards pushing for economic development. Recognizing that this is not something we could leave only to our governments or to donors and recognizing that we as citizens of the private sector have a very core part to play in developing our economy.
Justin Norman: And this informed the firm's sector focus.
Jerry Parkes: One thing that is very obvious once you start thinking about economic development is that small businesses are actually the economic heartbeat of any nation. They drive the growth of any economy anywhere in the world. We wanted to do this in a way that would maximize benefits to the SMEs that we engaged with, but also the broader population within Africa. So which businesses could we invest in that would benefit the largest number of people? And it took only a cursory Google search to realize that between 50 and 70 percent of Africa's population earns part of their livelihoods from the agriculture sector.
Justin Norman: So how does this macro context inform investment strategy here?
Jerry Parkes: With agribusiness, I think probably one way to look at it is to look at it via the two extremes. On the one extreme, we have a big productivity gap in primary production on the continent, especially in Western Africa, and solving this problem will take time. To increase the average productivity of West African farmers from, let's say, taking in the case of maize from say, one and a half metric tons a hectare to an average of say, seven or eight metric tons a hectare, it's going to take a systemic, large-scale project backed by governments, NGOs, and the private sector. And this is something that might take about 15 years. Now, it doesn't fit very neatly into the mandate of an investment fund or a classic investment fund that has a 10-year life, but it is very important work that needs to be done.
Justin Norman: And there are other investment strategies that fit better into private equity mandates, for example.
Jerry Parkes: Now, on the other end are the investments closer towards the tertiary side of the value chain. So packaged food, value addition, where the focus isn't so much on optimizing primary production. An example you can give of this is a tomato paste production business in West Africa that imports concentrate from China, adds water to it, and sells it to the local market. You can make money doing that all day long. But is that really helping to develop the local agricultural productivity? So for those who are interested in agribusiness and financial return, you could probably make that type of investment in a certain type of fund. But then there's a whole range of other opportunities in between where you have to constantly optimize between financial and developmental impact.
Justin Norman: And for Jerry, he has ideas about what a high-return and high-impact fund strategy could look like in the future.
Jerry Parkes: We don't actually have one like that at the moment, but we'd love to have a lifespan of 15 to 20 years where we can really build an integrated business across a value chain, from primary production all the way to packaged fruit. So that would be one type of product.
Justin Norman: And here's another example.
Jerry Parkes: What an integrated value chain approach does is that it leverages the power of the markets. And I'm a big believer in markets being a driver for development. So to give a concrete example, Ghana, my country, is a big importer of broilers, or poultry meat, into the country. And this is a country where fundamentally we have all the elements to produce the raw materials that go into feeding a chicken and also building a downstream industry. And in this case, there's at least $300 million worth of demand per annum in Ghana alone for broiler meat.
Justin Norman: So this is what the solution, a fully integrated job-creating solution - what the investment strategy and what the future of work in Africa ought to look like.
Jerry Parkes: Now, how do we convert this into a market that creates a hundred thousand jobs across the value chain? Starting from the production of high-yielding seeds for maize, the production of high-yielding seeds for soy, then moving downstream to the primary production of maize at a reasonable cost, and the production of soy at a reasonable cost. Then, a poultry feed business that produces the feed based on these raw materials such that the price of broiler becomes competitive with imported broilers. And then going beyond that to even have abattoirs where you can kill and dress the birds, cold rooms where you can actually store these birds, and then actually have a whole value chain that feeds into supermarkets and all the way to the tables of our local consumers. And I feel like a coordinated effort between the private sector, donor partners, and governments to redirect the resources that in the past have not been coordinated as well, could in the space of about 10 years, actually restructure this market such that these imports will dwindle down to a very small amount. This also solves the problem of using foreign exchange or hard currency to import fruit, which could actually have been produced locally.
Justin Norman: And as a result…
Jerry Parkes: And I think in the process of doing this, we could be looking at creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and really transforming the economy in a way that can credibly improve Ghana's foreign exchange reserves, and change its currency depreciation trajectory over the long term. So from my perspective, this is how I see the potential for agriculture being used as a force for change, but in a way that is driven by consumption that we already have locally within the countries in which some of these integrated businesses could be built.
Justin Norman: Now in discussing this sort of integrated approach, Jerry alludes to the coordination problems that exist in getting various stakeholders, governments, donors, private sector, to redirect resources in one harmonious direction.
That's one topic of several that stood out when my b-mic Sayo Folawiyo and I sat down to reflect on this episode.
Justin Norman: When we think about the future of work, our mind immediately goes to gig economy platforms, remote work, the digital economy…
**Sayo Folawiyo: **Maybe your mind goes there…
**Justin Norman: **Many people's minds go there, right? But before we do that, I think the conversation about where the income-generating opportunities are gonna come from has to start locally and has to start from more of a traditional development perspective. So that's why I wanted to start with this episode. And the traditional development playbook says it starts with agriculture, it moves into export-oriented manufacturing.
Sayo Folawiyo: Yeah. I think it was the perfect place to start.
Justin Norman: And then the question, or the challenge, I suppose, is this idea about actually executing on a vision, and to what extent are we - and even us as a sort of tech-focused podcast - you know, all of this tech-related stuff, when really a lot of our attention should be focused on this agriculture question.
Sayo Folawiyo: Yes. The striking thing from that episode, that was the first thing I wrote, I was like, should we just end the season here? I totally get the setup. Yeah, cool. Cute that you guys all wanna talk about the tech stuff and da da da la but like, we're all fucked if we don't fix the fundamentals. And then a few questions came up. So, number one, the thing that came really clear, especially from episode one, is that it's a coordination problem, right?
Justin Norman: It is possible, right?
**Sayo Folawiyo: **It's possible. I don't think there's a conceptual difficulty here. I think the answers everybody alluded to are really obvious, I think the question is about coordination and I probably would've liked to understand a little bit more great examples of coordination. We referenced Asian Tigers a little bit. I really like the first step being around land titling. But like just the points that we need to talk about and understanding case studies, especially on the continent for people who are solving the coordination problem.
Justin Norman: In the case of traditional development stories and success stories, like Asian Tigers, it was government-led stuff. And it's interesting because I've always sort of been of the belief that like bottom-up approaches - and in the context of high decentralization and fragmentation - those approaches work really well. But it has been, we're going to give land titles, we're going to make everyone more productive, we're going to create government-led industry and policy that supports it. And to what extent is it just that that is what it takes and, to the extent that governments can do that, the answer right there?
Sayo Folawiyo: For sure, a lot of my infra, agri, manufacturing guys are always laughing at me cause they're just like, “yo dog, if you're not kind of in that government space…” they're just like, “nothing's going to get done without that." Without that, that's the limiting factor that everything else just becomes a little bit futile. I think there's an interesting, I don't know that I believe it, but I think we have to maintain some level of, what do you call it? Like, not ignorance, but you know what I mean, when you just pretend… to get stuff done.
**Justin Norman: **Willful ignorance.
**Sayo Folawiyo: **Yeah. Willful ignorance to be able to get more and more done. But there's an interesting thing I was thinking about: coordination and coordination problems are actually problems that technology is very good at solving. If we agree that this is a coordination problem and we also agree that we have willful ignorance about the value of technology and our kind of vibes in this space, what role may technology play in helping solve the coordination problem, if not the fundamental problem?
Justin Norman: In that case, I was saying like a lot of this traditional development story stuff was a top-down approach. So the bottom-up approach also can change some hearts and minds.
Sayo Folawiyo: With willful ignorance.
Justin Norman: The problems are still there, but this is a model that's working in this context for these reasons...
Sayo Folawiyo: And then you pull the top-down guys down. And also, I might be part of the problem, right, which is like, thinking too hard outside of the existing things we know to be true and things we know to work. It's just, I think that we have seen too much of a failure in the top-down approach that it's like, okay, what else can we do? What is the alternative, or how might we influence the top-down approach enough that it comes to the table?
Justin Norman: But I suppose then if we agree on that path to success the important thing for me is just that we are being intellectually honest about how jobs are created, right?
**Sayo Folawiyo: **A hundred percent.
Justin Norman: So we're not saying, yeah, everyone is just going to be a remote worker sort of thing, because first of all, the scope of the problem is huge, that it needs to be solved from an all-of-the-above perspective.
Sayo Folawiyo: That's why I say I really dig how we started this season. Cause it's just like, okay guys, let's just be real for one second. We'll be a little bit willfully ignorant going forward, and maybe a bit optimistic, but if we're being real, the answer's actually easy. Well, conceptually, the answer is easy. The coordination to actually practically make it happen is very hard.
Justin Norman: But just taking a step back for a second, do you agree with the premise also from a development perspective obviously we need to create more local jobs, right? Local jobs need to, it's just like the nature of the markets and I guess how economies work - need to focus locally.
Sayo Folawiyo: Yeah. I mean, I don't really understand the local jobs thing. Like why do we hold it in contrast to remote jobs? In fact, why don't we get remote jobs right first, earn in dollars, then consumption's going to increase. And naturally, local jobs will actually just by virtue of the fact that people have more money to spend on stuff and will demand higher quality of life, local jobs follow.
Justin Norman: Do you actually think, though, that it's a remote or let's call it like export-oriented, whether goods and services, like export-oriented first? I mean, as a matter of fact, that was the traditional development story was export-oriented manufacturing, right? And now we're just saying export-oriented services, and then that stimulates local consumption.
Sayo Folawiyo: Right.
Justin Norman: Because what we've been talking about all this time is a market size question, right? So all of these fintechs or whatever are constrained by the local market size, and so what I'm saying is in order to stimulate these economies, or in order for these businesses to reach their full maximal potential, the local consumption needs to grow. And you're saying yes, take advantage of that, but as much as can be exported should be exported, and that's how local economies are going to grow, as well.
**Sayo Folawiyo: **Yeah.
**Justin Norman: **And if that is the traditional development playbook, it was just that they were doing it from a manufacturing perspective instead of a bits perspective.
Sayo Folawiyo: Yeah. And it's also a question of trade-offs and strategy, right? What is more important?
Justin Norman: Is the question actually more important though? Because what I'm trying to say is…
Sayo Folawiyo: What is more important now?
Justin Norman: Is sequencing important to you?
Sayo Folawiyo: I think yes. I think it's really important that we have a point of view. I do think the sequencing is super important. It's a strategy, but then this is when coordination problems start to come as well, right, because we're both chasing the same money. You understand?
Justin Norman: But, so that's actually what's happening is.. so then I'm saying we need to focus on all of the above. And the money’s getting…
**Sayo Folawiyo: **One person’s saying here, one person’s saying here… and, you know, what is that allocation looking like in a way that is maximally impactful?
Justin Norman: Yeah. Back to this idea of the traditional development playbook. In Asia's context, so the sequencing was create opportunities for smallholder farmers to increase their yields and use that agricultural surplus to stimulate the development of an export-oriented manufacturing sector, that's really heavily supported by government policy. What you're saying now is, perhaps, let's call it like the African development playbook, could be the same: start with agriculture, stimulate development, especially in the context of just how many people are employed in the agriculture sector across the continent right, and then if and when that surplus, the production can increase and create surplus, is that surplus can be used to then what? Stimulate the development of an export-oriented services sector? Like everyone then is gonna be a remote worker?
Sayo Folawiyo: Yeah. I dunno that I'm saying anything. But, yeah.
Justin Norman: Yeah, okay. So then what we're actually saying is all of this foofy remote work stuff that we're talking about is actually really important, right? It's like the remote work, the services, export-oriented services is going to take the place of export-oriented manufacturing, in the context of…
Sayo Folawiyo: That is like a hypothesis that I would explore very strongly.
Justin Norman: Yeah. But to some extent, it is like, to what extent are the markets in question more capable of spinning up export-oriented services industries versus export-oriented manufacturing? Especially in the age of sort of precision manufacturing and automation and all of that stuff.
Sayo Folawiyo: Exactly.
Justin Norman: Yeah. So that's the question I guess is kind of what we're exploring this entire season is: is the second step of the development playbook export-oriented services?
Sayo Folawiyo: Yep.
Justin Norman: And then that's going to be the next part of what we talk about is the Andela-style and all these other sorts of things.
**Sayo Folawiyo: **Yeah, for sure.
Justin Norman: Interesting.
Sayo Folawiyo: Mm-hmm, that was really interesting.
Justin Norman: What we just landed on…
Sayo Folawiyo: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Justin Norman: That was good. Yeah.
Justin Norman: That's it for this episode of The Flip. If you enjoyed this episode, we'd be very grateful if you considered sharing with a friend or a colleague who you think may enjoy it as well. For more from The Flip, you can follow us on social media @theflipafrica or subscribe to our newsletter at theflip.africa.
Thanks as always for listening. And we'll see you next time.