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Harambee Business Model

Harambee Business Model ll – Synopsis

By John Morris

15th December 2012 (Revised 19th August 2018)

The original Harambee Business Model was a gift for the citizens of the Republic of Kenya on the 50th Anniversary of Independence from colonial rule. As a British citizen, I wish to give Kenyans a model for development that allows sustainable development to emerge. The Harambee Business Model ll is a revision to facilitate Kenyan empowerment to realize the potential. John Graham Morris

The content of this document is the intellectual property of John Graham Morris.

It gives a general overview of the intrinsic elements of the Harambee Business Model stating the reasoning and graphically summarizing the content.

 The Harambee Business Model is a proposal for self-sustainable development in Africa with integrated Corporate Social Responsibility.

The Harambee Business Model is a concept based in principle on a business syndicate model which will be introduced and applied in the context of existing communities and/or cooperatives in Kenya, East Africa. Kenya has been selected to act as an epicenter for further development of the model in other regions of Africa. Self-sustainable development and sound economic growth is seen as essential for robust development of regions across Africa and beyond.

The Harambee Business Model differs from the simple Business Syndicate Model in that distinct Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) components are integrated into the Business Model. These CSR goals are designed to be agreed upon by members of the cooperative and their community to ensure local ownership and with this achieve an active stake holding and in turn facilitate a higher probability that the outcomes will be realized and sustained. These CSR components focus on Excellence, Empowerment and Environment. These are key to the long term development.

Harambee quite literally means “all pull together” in Kiswahili, and is also the official motto of Kenya and appears on its coat of arms.

Following Kenya’s independence in 1963, the first Prime Minister, and later first President of Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta adopted “Harambee” as a concept of pulling the country together to build a new nation. Kenyatta encouraged communities to work together to raise funds for all sorts of local projects, pledging that the government would provide their startup costs. The idea had limited effects at the time as it was used by wealthy individuals to accrue politically advantageous positions and the concept therefore was not sustainable in this form. It also failed to gain significant Kenyan Government commitment at the time.

However, the tenants of Harambee were fundamentally both sincere and desired values which basically only required application in a systemized professional business approach that conformed to the Harambee philosophy itself. This was the missing link in the past. Its now time to learn from this and take the positive attributes and allow a smart alternative business model to emerge which echoes the spirit of Harambee whilst ensuring sustainable and professional business strategies at the same time.

The Harambee Business Model is the Intellectual Property of John Morris and has been constructed to take the intrinsically good points of the original Jomo Kenyatta Harambee concept with modern inputs so that it conforms to international standards and aspirations concerning human rights, fair trade and best practice and consequently applying these professionally so that these values can be effectively and efficiently implemented.

In short, the Harambee Business Model is business which pulls together for the “Greater Good” of Kenya and beyond serving as an example and inspiration.

 US President Barrack Obama recognized the importance of Jomo Kenyatta’s concept in his speech at Nairobi on 26th July 2015, “Tragically, just under a decade ago, Kenya was nearly torn apart by violence at the same time that I was running for my first campaign for President.  And I remember hearing the reports of thousands of innocent people being killed or driven from their homes.  And from a distance, it seemed like the Kenya that I knew — a Kenya that was able to reach beyond ethnic and tribal lines — that it might split apart across those lines of tribe and ethnicity.

But look what happened.  The people of Kenya chose not to be defined by the hatreds of the past — you chose a better history. (Applause.)  The voices of ordinary people, and political leaders and civil society did not eliminate all these divisions, but you addressed the divisions and differences peacefully.  And a new constitution was put in place, declaring that “every person has inherent dignity — and the right to have that dignity respected and protected.”  A competitive election went forward — not without problems, but without the violence that so many had feared.  In other words, Kenyans chose to stay together.  You chose the path of Harambee”.

The Harambee Business Model is of Kenyan origin for all Africans.

Harambee Business Model Concept

The Business Syndicate Model is a market driven model. A syndicate is a collection of individuals or stakeholders who come together to combine their skills, talents or wealth towards commonly held goals or outcomes. This is at its strongest in the form of a “Purchasing Syndicate” which procures the members significant savings when purchasing services and products.  A business syndicate is a syndicate focused on professional business outcomes.

Business Syndicates are usually managed by a team of professional managers with an operative CEO and having corporate hierarchical structures for all operations. These can take various forms according to the nature of the core business and division of labour required to run an efficient and effective professional business. The syndicate itself is often inactive as an entity in terms of day to day operative issues, but can either serve as a governing body of preferential shareholders or simply ordinary shareholders who gain returns according to the performance of the business itself.

Business Syndicates are not entirely new. The “Genossenschaft” concept was devised by FW Raiffeisen in the 19th Century and is based on the business syndicate idea. The cooperatives that emerged had moderate success but were unable to compete in the market place due to their inflexible structures. However, the Business Syndicate concept continues to have strong merits when applied in specific sectors of the economy. The hallmark of modern Business Syndicates is that it is MARKET driven and not driven by the COOP. The members are therefore SHAREHOLDERS as opposed to a traditional union type model. The Raiffeisen Bank continues to be a “Genossenschaft” to this day.

A Harambee Business Syndicate differs subtly in that the Business Syndicate from its onset has distinctive Corporate Social Responsibility components ingrained in the corporate philosophy designed to enhance both the business and the community served by the Business Syndicate itself. It follows that issues of Fair Trade, Best Practice and support of social economic programmes conform to national and international standards and beyond these, the community has the power to influence and decide CSR programmes which meet the specific needs and desires of the local community in question. It ensures that surplus is fashioned by the community who owns it for the “good” of the community.

Harambee Business Concept is also “inclusive” and allows the Business Syndicate to engage professional external consultants and mentors to guide and facilitate the community’s decision making processes without abandoning or corrupting the fundamental ownership of the business itself.

The Harambee Business Concept is first and foremost a professionally managed business operation and as long as the business operations conform and comply with ISO 26000 and local demands, the management remains autonomous in its daily operations with periodic formal reporting to the stakeholders as agreed.

The Harambee Business Syndicate Model

This diagram shows the initial proposed corporate structure for a syndicate. The exact configuration of the Business Syndicate must be agreed upon by the community itself so that full ownership is attained.

 

“Business Syndicates can facilitate Empowerment!”

John Morris

 

Empowering Communities through the Business Syndicate Model

The Harambee Business Syndicate differs subtly in that the Business Syndicate from its onset has distinctive Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) components ingrained in the corporate philosophy designed to enhance both the business and the community served by the Business Syndicate itself. It is designed to EMPOWER members of the syndicate and the community it serves. Compliance is fundamental to the model. It follows that issues of Fair Trade, Best Practice and support of social economic programmes conform to national and international standards and beyond these, the community has the power to influence and decide CSR programmes which meet the specific needs and desires of the local community in question. It ensures that surplus is fashioned by the community who owns it for the “good” of the community focusing on self-sustainability as a priority. However, the Harambee Business Syndicate Model is fundamentally Market Driven. It is squarely based on SUPPLY and DEMAND.

Diagram of the Core Principles of the Harambee Business Syndicate Model

 Harambee Business Syndicate is also “inclusive” and allows the Business Syndicate to engage external consultants and mentors to guide and facilitate the community’s decision-making processes without abandoning or corrupting the fundamental ownership of the business itself. For this purpose, a professional training and mentoring system is incorporated in the plan. This will be achieved through close collaboration with already established Agricultural Training Centres which will act as Strategic Control Centres offering both professional training and mentoring of all projects in the form of Pastoral Field Schools directly at source and according to needs, supported by Strategic Mobile Units which can undertake detailed analysis on site with direct contact with the ATC/SCC. For most start-ups, training and mentoring are key and seen as essentially mandatory to stimulate success over time.

The Harambee Business Syndicate is first and foremost a professionally managed business operation and as long as the business operations conform and comply with ISO 26000 and local demands, the management remains autonomous in its daily operations with periodic formal reporting to the stakeholders as agreed.

This restructuring of the communities into professionally managed syndicates allows risk to be managed thus facilitating lower credit interest rates which hinder the emergence of successful businesses in many developing countries. In developed countries, syndicates give marked advantages through the savings on products and services that can be procured by wholesale acquisition.

Role of the Professional Management Team

  • Asset Management
  • Stewarding Investment
  • Executive decision making
  • Reporting to the Harambee Board of Directors
  • Operational Management
  • Human Resources
  • Infrastructure

Role of the Business Syndicate

  • Ownership of business
  • Appointment of Syndicate Board of Directors
  • Non involvement in daily business operations and decisions
  • Counsel in case of macro strategic issues
  • Distribution of dividends to facilitate sustainable community projects as desired

Role of the Syndicate Board of Directors

  • Appoint Management Team
  • Accountable for Harambee Charter (Philosophy)
  • Accountability for corporate business plan
  • Responsibility for Syndicate Treasury
  • Non involvement in daily business operations and decisions
  • Counsel in case of macro strategic issues
  • Distribution of dividends to facilitate sustainable community projects as desired

A Proposed Strategy to Pilot Harambee Business Model in Agriculture

Proposal

To establish Harambee Business Syndicates as a facilitator for empowerment and food security in Kenya’s Rift Valley.

 Goal:

The Harambee Business Syndicate will create self-sustainable businesses. These businesses will profit and grow gaining 20-30% savings through reduced costs and more effective and efficient management of resources and services for the benefit of the clients, owners of the farms and allows the cooperative as a unit to be more competitive in the market.

 Targets for Pilot Project

One or Two Rift Valley Communities or Cooperatives

16- 30 Farmers in each community

 The scale of 16-30 farmers make cooperatives in this size ideal for piloting the Business Syndicate Model starting with a “Purchasing Syndicate” to procure significant savings on irrigation products and services.

 In close collaboration with specialists in Kenya’s Rift Valley, two suitable existing farmers’ cooperatives are being selected as the pilot project simultaneously with a third parallel pilot project at a managed private area of farm land of comparable size and in the same locality.

 Both pilot projects will be 20 Ha and these will be installed with identical drip irrigation systems to enhance crop production. The Private farm will be managed by a professional management team whilst the cooperative will be allowed to continue with their current business set up with only technical support for the irrigation system itself.

 The yields and all issues and other relevant observations will be collected and analyzed and the results of the two pilot projects compared professionally. It is anticipated that the professionally managed pilot project on the private land will accrue higher yields and therefore act as a stimulus for the cooperative to embark on a business syndicate model with in the philosophy of the Harambee Business Concept already described.

 This pilot project and the results will serve as a model for other cooperatives and private land owners in Kenya’s Rift Valley Province so that scaling up of the idea can be facilitated as quickly and effectively as possible.

 The design is to achieve 1000 Ha of Harambee Business Syndicated irrigated land within 3-5 years with the active support of leading agricultural stake holders.

 The initial proposal will be to hold workshops in full collaboration with Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture and the County XXXXXXX, Kenya.

 The body initiating the workshop and responsible for directly working with the local communities is SCEP, a registered NGO in Kenya. External consultants will be contracted according to demand.

 SCEP requires sponsorship to finance the workshop and pilot projects.

 The Harambee Business Syndicate requires support from professional mentors.

 Additional note: Due to issues with pastoral and agricultural communities which are being exacerbated by climate change in arid and semi-arid regions, a new proposed pilot project is being devised to accommodate these needs. This involves using Pastoral Field Schools to stimulate self-sustainable development and new innovative solutions.

On-Going Program

The success of the Harambee Business Syndicates will in large part be linked to development support which facilitates capacity building allowing Kenyans to learn the essential skills and have access to professional experts who are obligated to serve the syndicates. To this end the Strategic Control Centre (SCC) with Strategic Mobile Units (SMUs) will be integrated. The SMUs will act as Pastoral Field Schools (PFS) with specific pastoral communities. This concept is used by FAO.  The SCC, SMUs and PFSs will be compliant to Government norms and closely linked with educational establishments and/or agencies to ensure on going expertise which is efficient and effective. The SCC, SMUs and PFSs will be tasked with capacity building on location and give University graduates work experience towards future careers. SCC, SMUs and PFSs must be equipped with top analytical personnel and equipment with first class communication links to remote stations to ensure effective and efficient consultation and advice.

Compliance is essential and all local and international standards must be complied to so that all produce can be marketed according to all norms thus optimizing quality.

Branding all compliant produce with a clear mark of excellence is seen as key to success.

The Three Birds Brand will be incorporated on all packaging to show consumers that the product conforms to all standards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By John Morris

External Consultant, advocate and founder of Harambee Business Syndicate Model