One of the “unfair advantages” of being an African founder of Hiinga is that I intimately understand the problems we are trying to solve. I have lived in poverty, faced hunger, lived in the poorest of the villages and I do understand the local market. According to Muhamma Yunus, the grandfather of Microfinance, the 3 great characteristics of a Social Business Entrepreneur (I don’t understand the difference between this term and just a Social Entrepreneur) are 1. Passion (I have more than I need), 2. In-depth understanding of the local community and market (I am a poster-child), and 3. Ability to attract talented people to work with them (we are working on this!).

And yet, it seems, at this early stage of our venture, one of my biggest disadvantages has been being African. Unfortunately, most of Africa in general has a bad reputation for corruption that pervades all spheres, from politics, to the police, to the church, and even the media. So many times it does not help that I am Christian, therefore I am called to the Christian standards and ethics. For even Christians fall, whether in Africa or America. The perception from a lot of people that all Africans are corrupt leaves a sour taste in my gut. And yet, the fault is ours, as Africans, as a people. This reputation is from the endless corruption that plagues our systems, whether its in Uganda or Nigeria or Kenya or Angola. The richest black woman is from Africa, with a net worth estimated to be around $3billion. She is the daughter of the president, and the levels of poverty in her country are appalling.

Still, for the west to blanket every rest of us as corrupt and thieves is not only wrong but prejudiced, just as its wrong for Africans to assume that every successful entrepreneur on the continent is connected to echelons of power. Before you invest in any organization, before you entrust them with funds that you have worked so hard for, do your due diligence as is expected of any wise person. You will be pleasantly surprised by how many African organizations out there are doing the right thing, not because they want to please you, but merely because they are called to higher standards.