We are taking the Igbo Apprenticeship System (IAS) to Harvard Business Review – the world’s finest business publication – as a compelling framework for a more equal world in this age where stakeholder capitalism is emerging over the traditional shareholder capitalism. Yes, Adam Smith economics should adapt for Umunneoma Economics. In this video, I spoke with BBC on Igbo making the same case that Africa has a winning economic thesis on IAS, and we can advance on it.
The fastest wealth accumulation in African history happened in Southeast Nigeria. Any wealth held by any Igbo began with 20 pounds in 1970, after the war. Through IAS, those 20 pounds have grown to control Abuja real estate (more than 70%), industries, etc.
The IAS was propelled by Igbo leaders as young men began to leave home after the ruins of Biafra war. As the elders blessed them, they dropped a message: “onye aghala nwanne ya”[do not leave your brethren behind].
With that, as people made progress, they came back home to pick kinsmen, dividing and sharing opportunities in the cities. And with that playbook, a region that ideally should be the poorest region in Nigeria (they lost the war) is today regarded by the United Nations as the most secure on human development.
We need to modernize the IAS as it offers a playbook to advance Nigeria and broad continental Africa. Yes, that thing works and we can see the impacts across Nigeria. Put the IAS in Economics textbook in Nigeria!
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