Here is How Our Human Resource is Best Placed To Manage Our Natural Capital

Tan­za­nia has one of the fastest grow­ing pop­u­la­tions in the world. It is amongst eight coun­tries that will con­tribute to half of the pop­u­la­tion growth between now and 2050. It is because of such pop­u­la­tion growth that glob­al pop­u­la­tion hit the 8‑bil­lion-mark last week.

In 1974 when I was only five years old, the world pop­u­la­tion stood at 4 bil­lion. Less than fifty years lat­er, it has doubled.

In the wake of this land­mark, some are ask­ing – can plan­et earth with­stand 8 bil­lion people?

Is there enough food, water and shel­ter on earth for all these peo­ple? Mahat­ma Gand­hi answered this ques­tion by say­ing, “The world has enough for every­one’s needs, but not every­one’s greed.”

Greed speaks direct­ly to the mat­ter of unsus­tain­able con­sump­tion of our Nat­ur­al resources.

The US State of Wyoming has rough­ly the same pop­u­la­tion like Nairobi’s Kay­ole – just over half a mil­lion. How­ev­er, Wyoming emits almost four times the car­bon diox­ide that the entire Kenya emits. Sad­ly, this lop­sided con­sump­tion of resources extends to oth­er basic needs like ener­gy and water.

Accord­ing to the US gov­ern­ment, the aver­age Amer­i­can fam­i­ly con­sumes about 1,100 liters of water per day. Mean­while, mil­lions of Kenyan house­holds and indeed most African fam­i­lies sur­vive on less than 100 liters per day.

These two water sce­nar­ios in Kenya and USA exem­pli­fy the unsus­tain­able con­sump­tion that is ram­pant in parts of the world today. A world in which one Amer­i­can fam­i­ly con­sumes the same amount of water as ten African fam­i­lies, is one that needs fixing.

Accord­ing to the World Health Orga­ni­za­tion, the aver­age per­son needs between 50 and 100 liters of water per day. African gov­ern­ments must step up and deliv­er this water to all Africans as a mat­ter of urgency.

In 2006, UNEP released a report which revealed that Kenya was capa­ble of meet­ing the water needs of up to sev­en times its pop­u­la­tion through rain­wa­ter. Fif­teen years lat­er, we are yet to tap into this immense poten­tial. But before we cast all blame on the gov­ern­ment, we must ask our­selves if we have inte­grat­ed rain­wa­ter har­vest­ing into our hous­es. We must take indi­vid­ual and col­lec­tive respon­si­bil­i­ty since it doesn’t make sense for a water scarce coun­try like Kenya to waste rain­wa­ter every time it rains.

Last week on Thurs­day, my fam­i­ly and friends flew for one and a half hours across Lake Vic­to­ria to Buko­ba in north­west­ern Tan­za­nia to attend a bur­ial. It is locat­ed on Lake Victoria’s south­west­ern shores. Although this region is swarm­ing with fish, lack of trans­port infra­struc­ture between Buko­ba and Kenya means that it’s eas­i­er for Kenya to import fish from Chi­na than from Bukoba.

Buko­ba is cur­rent­ly Tan­za­ni­a’s sec­ond largest port on Lake Vic­to­ria, sec­ond only to Mwan­za. Imag­ine if there was speedy, reli­able trans­port from Kisumu to Bukoba.

Accord­ing to the Cen­tral Bank of Kenya, the Kenya-Tan­za­nia bilat­er­al trade was Ksh110.6 bil­lion between Jan­u­ary and Novem­ber 2021. This fig­ure can be much high­er if water trans­port on Lake Vic­to­ria is increased. That is what tak­ing respon­si­bil­i­ty for our own eco­nom­ic and social wel­fare entails.

Although con­sump­tion pat­terns in USA and Europe remain gross­ly unsus­tain­able, they shouldn’t become Africa’s scape­goat for our weak­ness­es and shortcomings.

Indeed, it may be nec­es­sary for us to con­duct a SWOT (strengths, weak­ness­es, oppor­tu­ni­ties and threats) analy­sis from the indi­vid­ual, vil­lage, ward, con­stituen­cy, coun­ty, nation­al and region­al lev­els. That will grant us a full appre­ci­a­tion of our pat­terns of use of our God giv­en nat­ur­al capital.

We must urgent­ly recap­ture a proac­tive approach that places the pow­er of our sus­tain­able devel­op­ment in our own hands. That way, the pop­u­la­tion growth that is par­tic­u­lar­ly vibrant in this region will end up being a bless­ing because our human resource will pro­duce and con­sume sus­tain­ably for com­mon good. Think green, act green.

About Dr. Kalua Green

He is the Chief Stew­ard of Green Africa Group, a con­glom­er­ate that was envi­sioned in 1991 to con­nect, pro­duce and impact var­i­ous aspi­ra­tions of human­i­ty through Sus­tain­able Mobil­i­ty & Safe­ty Solu­tions, Eco­pre­neur­ship & Agribusi­ness, Ship­ping & Logis­tics, Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Ini­tia­tives, as well as Hos­pi­tal­i­ty & fur­nish­ings sectors

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