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A HUMANISTIC APPROACH TO SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT AND THE AFRICAN DILEMMA.

ISOCHUKWU NWOSU Written by ISOCHUKWU NWOSU · 1 min read >

There are always certain poor neighbourhoods in every area but Andreas Widmer strives to correct our perception of how we help these people. He identifies the two traditional approaches to helping the poor. The first is the bureaucratic approach and the technocratic approach. The former targets poverty as it’s object and involves charity and alms giving whilst the latter regards poverty as a phenomena / concept to be managed. He then goes ahead to suggest a better approach to truly eradicating poverty.  That approach is the Humanistic Approach which is people-centred and seeks to build people-centred solutions and organizations[1]. This Humanistic Approach can be seen in Social Entrepreneurship.

He further explains this Humanistic Approach by using the concept of “the missing middle”. The “middle” include Small and Medium Enterprises which leads to the creation of jobs and, according to Adreas, the “middle” constitutes the engine of prosperity. According to him, the middle is missing in poor and developing communities being less than 20percent when compared to the “middle” in developed countries which usually exceed 70 percent in the cumulative job and enterprises provisions.

Andreas points out that (rather than giving alms) efforts should be channelled towards increasing the “middle” in these poor countries where the inhabitants are poor because they have not been provided with the tools of productivity neither have they been allowed to fulfil their potentials. The establishment of businesses in these regions for example, will lead to prosperity and leave a better impact than alms giving. According to him, Africa needs more businesses not alms or charity. He further found that people flourish when they are placed in an enabling environment and this will allow them to grow their company to critical mass.

Some practical solutions towards encouraging human development include; the provision of fair loans to SMEs; establishment of businesses in the poor neighbourhoods; provision of business training; intentional variation of import and export duties and regulations to favour commerce and development; to

To advance his discovery and cause, Andreas established the SEVEN fund.

Truly, Adreas’ findings reflect the African proverb;

it is better to teach a man how to fish than to give him fish. For several reasons, attracting sustainable investment is a major concern in Africa which faces its peculiar challenges. First, while all nations will be affected by climate change and the physical dangers that go along with it, Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to experience some of the hottest temperatures. The region is also directly and indirectly at risk from the hazards of transition brought on by climate change, which are made worse by the dependence of various economies and employment sectors on mining, energy, and minerals. All businesses who are a part of supply chains that cross with African nations will also be impacted by financial sector laws that are swiftly being implemented in the European Union and harmonized globally. It is therefore important that we switch from the donation mentality to the investment mentality to foster greater collaboration with Africa.


[1] Andreas Weidmer. Economic Freedom, Social Entrepreneurship and Poverty Intervention, 2016 International Congress Business Initiative in the Fight Against Poverty. http://centesimusannus.org/convegno/docs/final-paper-by-andreas-widmer—7-giugno.pdf. Accessed 22 October 2022.

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