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Magatte Wade's Exploration of Market Capitalism in Africa
The Monetary Wars Part XIV
"I get dizzy with hope." Magatte Wade
When I opened a school in Plano in 2013, Magatte Wade, who hails from Senegal, and her husband, Michael, visited their school en route to Austin, where they moved. Magatte's husband was, like me, a school builder. While I'd talked with him several times, I'd not talked with or met Magatte. What I immediately noticed about Magatte is that she is one of those people with high energy that is crisp. And also warm. I showed Magatte and Michael around my school, and Magatte spent time looking through one of my 40 or so curriculum binders while we all discussed principles and strategies of education.
Recently, I found Magatte's interview with Lex Fridman.
One of the things I like most about Magatte is that she promotes and participates in the positive aspects of market capitalism while pushing back against the terrible aspects of corporations and their relationships with corrupt governments. Listen to her break down what goes on in wealthy nations such as those in Scandinavia, regardless of the labeling of government ideology. She wants economic freedom for Africa so that Africans can generate prosperity of their own.
She also keeps an eye on how Bitcoin might help Africa leapfrog an era of development. I agree that there is a very good chance that this is the case. When Zimbabwe's currency devolved in a mess of hyper-inflation, the discussion began about using phone minutes as a more stable (essentially digital) currency. Cell phone minutes even became the practical currency of welfare in some places in Africa. Economists even used airtime credit and mobile phone datasets to map wealth in some African nations (Guierrez et al, 2013), and Pew Research sought to study the phenomenon of African cell phone proliferation.
Zimbabweans are more likely to reach for Bitcoin this time around because the digital currency can be trustlessly exchanged both within and outside of local economies than cell phone minutes. More than 140 million Nigerians have mobile phones, and Nigeria has one of the world's highest Bitcoin adoption rates as entrepreneurs there use Bitcoin to dodge Chinese trade hurdles. We may then expect Bitcoin to proliferate in Africa even under the adoption of a BRICS currency in some nations there.
In this interview, Magatte explores many other aspects of good business economics, including the role of courage. She critiques the Black Lives Matter movement and "the Marxist-socialist train" as the solution to what's wrong in the world. She looks instead to a progression in which Africans reach a critical mass of wealth necessary to establish its own economic engine. She believes this can happen in our lifetimes (I do too).
What world would not want Magatte building businesses?