How can the European Union help Africa? It turns out that the only effective weapon Europe can sell to Africa is mechanism for the creation, accumulation and utilization of Knowledge. Yes, Africa is not building Mines of Knowledge, making it harder to have tools to create a predictable future.
The centerpiece of new changes in Africa is the realization that mines of knowledge will always triumph over mines of gold or crude oil, in enabling sustainable economic developments. When the Rwandan government embarked on a mission to provide fast internet services via fiber-optic cable, it was working to tap into the ingenuity of its citizens. As the engineers dug the land to lay the cables, and not explore minerals, the country was extending the reach of its marketplace, not just within Africa, but internationally.
As I explained on Tekedia Mini-MBA Live this morning, the native orthopedic “surgeon” in my village had died with her knowledge. And the only woman who knew the best herbs to cure snake bites also went with her knowledge. They all went with the knowledge, leaving the community barren.
How can you grow without building on previous knowledge? Go back to your university, they might have burnt your thesis to make space in the library. We must master how to preserve knowledge.
The first thing to do is to learn how to calibrate and assign value, from there, we will be able to know things that are sacred and treat them as such.
Why do schools burn most of those works? It’s largely because they meant nothing to the custodians, they were done simply to get the grades, and never to advance the society; there’s no need to be delusional here.
It’s our inability to calibrate and assign value that causes us to keep teaching things we cannot defend their relevance, yet we keep doing them.
Knowledge Management is not a new domain, it has been around for a while, but you must first make sense of what you really want to preserve, else you fill up everywhere with worthless and irrelevant things.
Why are we afraid to retire professors even when they are in their seventies? Because we do not have a Knowledge Management system that codifies every useful work and processes the older fellas had done, so no way for the younger folks to quickly grasp decades of works and improve on them, instead they are always starting afresh.
Updating curriculums and pretending to teach what seem to be trending doesn’t mean we are preserving knowledge, doing the latter requires something more nuanced and intentional too.