Dear Development Finance Institutions, Consultants et al pay your African Experts …..

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This blog is inspired by my own annoyance, a couple of emails sitting in my inbox, on LinkedIn and a few tweets  

It typically starts like this:

I get an email with this type of content: “We are research firm/consultant given a contract to implement a project in Africa by a development finance institution etc.

We are told you are one of the foremost experts in the field and have vast knowledge and network, our research would also greatly benefit from your insights on the ICT sector.

We would like to ask you to spend 1/2/3 hours answering our questions on the top maybe taking  the time out to introduce us to folks in your network we can do the same thing to them”


When I ask for their budget for my time? I am told we don’t have a budget, we just hope you believe enough in this work to support women/tech/startups/innovation in Africa  and we will make sure we put your name at the back as contributor  and paying for my lunch is not payment .


Early on my career I was naïve enough to be flattered by people reaching out to me and would spend the time downloading my knowledge and expertise

These days I have criteria for responding and it ranges from not responding at all to evaluating:

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  1. Will the research be freely made available and useful to my community and is not a copy of the same research done by 100 other institution before then I will give up to 20 minutes of my time.
  2. Is this a smaller institution that does not have the capacity to pay for my time but doing valuable work then I give 30 minutes of my time?
  3. Otherwise I am sending my consulting rates.


For context I am not the only one complaining, this has become a common complaint across industrise across Africa as evidenced by the tweets below:


Rebecca  is Tech entrepreneur. Founder CEO AppsTech ,The  Board Chair  of Afrilabs (AfriLabs is the foremost  network organization for the growing number of Africa based technology and innovation hubs) and   Vice-Chair  of  the World Health Organization Foundation

She tweeted this


Kingsley Abrokwah is an emerging powerhouse in the African fintech sector, he is the founder of Kudigo which bridges the gap  last mile access to retails  , 12,000 users and 8.9 million USD  payments pass through the platform annually

He tweeted this


And as a last point…

If DFI’s, Consultants and other institutions  care about doing meaningful work to grow Africa , I think the least they can do is ask the folks implementing their projects to make budgets ready to pay for the experts and people who have amassed knowledge and networks that they leverage on .

Pass it on ..