Thursday, January 18, 2007

Friends of African Business Profiles-Phillip Nganga

Recently, I have had the pleasure of meeting someone really special. His name is Phillip Mungai Nganga. He is unique in that he is involved in two really huge projects, at the same time. There are many things which make Mr. Nganga
unique, but I suppose what strikes me the most about him is that he is doing
both jobs extremely well.

This gentleman is a social entrepreneur, bridging the gap between government, businesses,
and children in need. He also maintains an active role as a coordinator for the Kenyan government's Ministry of Youth Affairs Steering Committee for the National Youth Council.

The reason that I invited him for a Q & A on The Benin Epilogue is that although he is not a for-profit entrepreneur, his work for both offices helps Kenya in the area of regional economic development. The other reason that he is here is that starting a non profit company is also a form of entrepreneurship, it just so happens that we haven't really discussed it much here,
until today. Below is the transcript of our question and answer session. By the way, I owe
the pleasure of meeting this gentleman to my very thoughtful wife, who introduced us.
Mimu-Asante sana, mpenzi!

. What are your actual job titles?

1. CEO, Vizazi International, Kenya and Germany
2. Coordinator, National Steering Committee on the Kenya National Youth Council and
the Youth Council formulation process.

Q. What aspects of your two offices relate to economic development?

A. Vizazi International is bringing into the country foreign currency, and investing into
the social development of Kenya’s young ones, which is a path to a future economic independence for the children and youth, who would otherwise lack such an

. What part of Kenya are you from, what was your childhood like, and how did it
influence you?

I was born in Central Kenya, in a small agricultural community, where I learnt to work in
the farm, to graze and to milk the cows at the earliest opportune time. To me, it was not
child labor…it was what I had to do to earn an education and a better life. As my parents
would put it, only education would liberate me. It made me a strong person, it made me
build a spirit of determination, it made me want to better my position, it made me want to
break out of that cycle of lack, and be able to give back to the people. Many times, I would
fold my arms, put my face to them and cry. It is hard to say why I did that, but now when I think back, I had a passionate anger about my condition, and my tears were tears of anger, which motivated me. Yet, my parents were not the poorest in the village.

Q. How did my family affect my career goals?

My father wanted me to be a lawyer. I wanted to be more than just a lawyer. I did not
want to one day leave this world and have a plaque on my grave saying, “He was a
lawyer”. I wanted something different from life. And so my father and I didn't agree
most of the time. But, my father gave up so much for the community, and that has taught
me a lot. However, many times when we were young we wished our father was
not a pastor but a hot-shot businessman. When I look back now, I am proud of who
he is and who he was then. Recently, he told me am just a preacher man like him, only
that we have two different types of congregations. He is right.

Q.What are your short term goals?


1. Help our government complete the it's work in progress-the National Youth Council
2. Set up an international network of professionals working together for a
better Africa.
3. Build a village of Hope for Kenyan Orphans, through the family model.
4. Educate the world on the positive sides of Africa.

Q. What's your long term goal?

My long term goal is to help lead Africa into a new social and economic promised land.

Q. What is your outlook on Kenya's youth, do I think their conditions will change,
and why?


Kenya's youth are amongst the some of the most learned in Africa; they have what
it takes to be agents of change in our country. All that they need is a visionary
master plan, and a great inspiration, which I believe we are helping to facilitate
right now.

Things are changing in Kenya. There is a new awakening for the Kenya's youth.
They have realized they need to rise up to claim their position in helping to develop
our beloved country. The national Youth Policy is the blue print for youth development.
Our government has recognized the role the youth play in the political and socio-economic dynamics of our country. The government is very serious on Youth Empowerment,
hence the setting up of the Youth Development Fund.

Q. The biggest obstacle I have had to overcome to bring change to Kenya’s youth.

Many people thought that what we are doing would never happen, because the
process took so long. But with resilience, and determination, we are making change and
it has happened. It hasn't just been myself, these accomplishments have been brought
about by a team that worked tirelessly, even before we had the ministry of youth!
Now people are happy that we did not give up. So, looking back I would say that our
biggest obstacle has been pessimism, but now that's starting to change people are
seeing a difference.

To learn more about Mr Nganga, Vizazi International, or Kenya's Ministry of Youth Affairs
click [here].

Of course, I love your comments. But, if you can't comment at this particular time- but would like to let us know that you were here; please sign and View my guestbook


Odegle said...

thats a very good interview. it captures the ideas very well. however i am not sure if the comments on education are true since education facilities have not been expanded in kenya for quite a long time. i hope to get in touch with Nganga to see if we can work together on the vizazi thing as well as the professional network. the site you have given is in a language that apears to be german and so am locked out! does he have an english or swahili version?

pesa tu said...

How come he seems to have a lot NGO speak? on what they will do?

Benin "Mwangi" said...

Pesa tu & Odegle:

Thank you both so much for stopping in and commenting. It's wonderful to hear from two traveled and well versed business persons' from Kenya, such as yourselves. You each have really in depth info on your blogs about macro conditions and investment markets in Kenya-with your own nice twist on it.

As for Mr. Nganga, he and I spoke again over the weekend. He has just left the States and is now in Germany for a little while and he informed me that he does plan to drop by and address each of your comments.

Otherwise, let's continue "making it happen"!

philip said...

Odegle and Pesa tu...thanks for taking your time to comment. Odegle, I am back in Kenya, and looking forward to hear from you. Pesa tu, sorry that i sounded NGO-like, maybe it has rubbed on me. I always try to sound "normal".

Benin, asante many people have viewed the interview on the epilogue and have called or just commented on one on one. The work continues. Thanks. Hope to catch you again soon.


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