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The aid world talks incessantly about “sustainability” in Africa, especially in reference to setting up businesses. Isn’t that the least we would expect from a business in the West? If I operated a business in Nashville, TN, it’s unlikely I’d consider myself a success if I merely kept the doors open year after year. Yet this seems to be the most we expect of Africa.

I feel that this is yet another great injustices we have imposed on Mother Africa.

Why don’t we expect greatness? And what might happen if we did? John Steinbeck once said, “It is the nature of man to rise to greatness if greatness is expected of him.” Is it possible that a people group might rise to greatness if it was continually expected of them?

If we desire to empower Africa to pull itself out of poverty and achieve economic independence from aid agencies and government, we must set the bar higher. We cannot settle for sustainable businesses; they must be sustainable at the very least with the ultimate goal of profitability.

If we expect mediocrity, everyone involved is set up for failure and disappointment. Might we be contributing to the problem with these low expectations? We’ve got to strive for better. There are many components that will contribute to Africa’s success, but I believe this is integral to sending them in the right trajectory.

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