The role of country governments in championing apprenticeship and handholding models
Martin Ike-Muonso, a professor of economics with interest in subnational government IGR growth strategies, is managing director/CEO, ValueFronteira Ltd. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
July 20, 2020505 views0 comments
A matter of significant concern is the capacity of various African country governments to mainstream the apprenticeship and handholding models for prosperity creation effectively. The Igbo apprenticeship system has a compelling reputation for the compounded formation of employment and output at large-scale. Likewise, the handholding model of entrepreneurial growth orchestrates the sustained high profitable performance of businesses that adopt it. Consequently, it is without debate that appropriate policies, legislation, programs, projects and other relevant plans at community development levels that facilitate the apprenticeship system and the handholding model are critical for the mainstreaming of these models for the envisaged prosperity creation.
This process will have a good start with a mental and language shift recognizing the ‘creation’ of prosperity rather than alleviation of poverty as the underlying policy focus. Over many decades, documents, policies, and programs of government stereotypically use languages and terms that favour poverty alleviation and in some extended instances, the redistribution of existing wealth. This mind–language lock-in perpetuates the vicious cycle of poor economic performance. Government policy-ends dynamically reverberate prosperity when approached from a wealth-creation perspective. The combined models of the apprenticeship system and the handholding approach to entrepreneurial growth are proven efficacious drivers of this process. This change in orientation and the rethinking of policy-ends will invariably create much more outstanding entrepreneurial impact on real output and employment. So, the question for government in policy formulation should not stop at welfare creation but by the quantum of entrepreneurial mindedness in the deployment of the apprenticeship system and the handholding model buried into it.
The mind–language shift advocacy in favour of prosperity creation typically occurs across the three mainstreaming levels, namely the legislation and government policy development, organizations, and corporate institutions as well as the household and family. Although the government operates mostly at the first level, its mainstreaming influence can quickly cascade down to the second and third. Success in this goal would require an unclouded vision and strategic plan for prosperity creation through the mainstreaming of the apprenticeship system and handholding model. Secondly, multiple government institutions need to promote, produce knowledge on, implement, monitor, and evaluate programs on the promotion of entrepreneurial growth through these frameworks.
Be that as it may, a keen consciousness of the end in mind by the government is critical for success. In mainstreaming the twin models [the apprenticeship system and handholding framework], the government is interested in creating enormous economic opportunities and wealth for all and by all as opposed to the redistribution of created nationally owned resources. For instance, the focus in the apprenticeship model is to create opportunities for skill acquisition and almost immediate employment for the apprentice. In return, the apprentice helps the entrepreneur’s cost reduction as a cheaper human resource input. In the handholding model, the interest is to ensure the drastic decrease in the rates of business failures, while enhancing the profitability performance of the existing ones. Overall, it goes into the heart of actualizing the government’s macroeconomic goals of increased output, employment, and income. Again, it will reduce the size of social liability expressions among the young in various countries of the continent.
Governments do not exist to redistribute nationally owned resources. While it is necessary and part of the responsibility of the government that resource allocation is fair and equitable, it is noteworthy that the generation of these resources is preeminent. One can only allocate and distribute what has been created or produced. These two categorizations are essential to understanding the differences between policy focus on poverty alleviation and prosperity creation. While the former – “poverty-alleviation” – gains credence on the back of resource redistribution, the latter creates the distributable resources. The pursuit of each of them will yield different policy implications. Consider two new graduates that set different goals for themselves on succeeding in life. The goal of the first is to ensure that he never gets poor while that of the second fresh graduate is to create enormous wealth and become rich. Accordingly, the valid performance indicator of the first is to meet the minimum thresholds of survival while the second is interested in creating affluence. When interpreted differently, it will mean that while the first focuses on the maintenance of current status, the latter concentrates on breaking out of the same socioeconomic condition to make a positive difference. Countries that focus strongly on poverty reduction are likely to create more paupers. There is naturally a weak incentive for the rigour of entrepreneurial adventure for prosperity creation when the focus is on poverty alleviation. Poverty alleviation mindset is born out of the fear of falling back into poverty instead of the confident risk appetite of the entrepreneur that leads to net positive income. Countries in Africa must, therefore, walk away from the mindset of lack which accentuates the need for poverty reduction. They need to substitute it with entrepreneurial wealth creation which destroys poverty and creates prosperity in its wake.
A preferred choice, no doubt, is the pursuit of prosperity creation as opposed to the dominant poverty alleviation focus. Significant strides in mainstreaming the underlying drivers of the apprenticeship system and the handholding model will naturally start with the control of the process. Integrating target-oriented measures of entrepreneurial sensitivity, prosperity awareness, and the suppression of poverty alleviation mindsets on the one hand with the macroeconomic goals of the government on the other will straightforwardly provide the needed control. Entrepreneurial sensitivity gauges the level of attention paid to the pursuit of entrepreneurship through the vehicles of apprenticeship and handholding. The prosperity awareness indicator measures the deliberate net income creating objectives for every program and project of the government. The suppression of the poverty alleviation mindset aims at replacing policy intentions and initiatives that revolve around the minimization of poverty with more robust prosperity creating activities.
Being entrepreneurially sensitive in any program or project requires the satisfaction of at least 75% of the following two conditions. The first is to consciously position some persons to acquire skills and entrepreneurial aptitudes about the currently implemented program or project which they can potentially use to earn income in the future. The idea is to ensure that every program or project of government has interns or apprentices that are learning from it in a way that could help them to earn a living based on the new knowledge and skills. An attendant requirement, in this case, is that the positioned interns undergo a regular and rigorous evaluation of their progress in learning. The second is that the program leverages the handholding framework to achieve healthy and sustained profitability performance improvement as well as avoid possibilities of failure.
The prosperity consciousness, on the other hand, ensures that every program or project embarked on by the government aims at delivering net positive income. Where it is not possible to extract quantifiable monetary value, the net economic benefits should be substantially measurable. It is the deliberate pursuit of positive economic benefits or income that underscores the awareness or consciousness of prosperity. Prosperity thinking at the level of government programs and interventions will naturally shift the focus of policy designs from the alleviations of poverty to the creation of wealth. Prosperity consciousness is the positive side of poverty alleviation mindset suppression. Programs and projects should limit attention to poverty alleviation while recognizing full well that prosperity awareness mindset ideally crushes poverty and builds prosperity in its place. Rather than embarking on programs and projects with resource redistribution components, efforts should focus on replacing them with net income [or net positive economic benefits] drivers.
Regular analysis of prosperity creation through the channels of the apprenticeship system and the handholding model is also critical for their mainstreaming. In terms of structure, small units within MDAs with responsibility for systematically researching, documenting and understanding how best to adapt the apprenticeship system and the handholding model in every given context as well as how particular programs and projects or plans will affect the implementation and success of the models will suffice. Understandably, not all settings will be readily amenable to the adoption of both the apprenticeship and handholding models equally. In some instances, either of the two may be more relevant and will consequently receive more attention. In addition to that, such research and documentation efforts will in no small measure amplify the merits and demerits of the twin prosperity creation models concerning the issue in context. Where either of the twin models presents more disadvantages than benefits, it will naturally make more sense not to apply it. The reverse is the case. By doing so, this process of mainstreaming provides the basis for decisions that are critical for addressing disadvantages while devising remedial and preventive interventions.
In many other instances, the challenge is to identify those fillable gaps to make the twin models of prosperity creation work effectively. Ideally, every analysis of the prosperity creation process based on the two models should thoroughly identify the gaps and needs. Such knowledge rightfully facilitates better-informed decisions on how best to adapt and mainstream the models. Another crucial element in the mainstreaming process is responsive budgeting. Responsive budgeting is necessary for effectively responding to identified needs required for setting priorities for resource allocation. With an adequately articulated responsive budget, it becomes easy to address identified concerns in the adaptation of the two models of prosperity creation within a given context. It also helps in highlighting the differential impacts of resource allocation in various sectors as well as enable meaningful dialogues on ways to address those gaps.
Finally, the process must take into consideration the robust impact assessment of twin models in every program and project. Ex-ante the impact assessment process should investigate potential projects and plans for possible effects of the apprenticeship and handholding models. Evaluating the quantum of prosperity impact of the adoption of the twin models will be useful in deciding how, when, and where to apply the models in future instances.