Monday, 26 November 2007
Greed among Professional and Business Malawians
Partnership and collaboration are two of the most common words I have been hearing recently since I have been attending several meetings here in London and everywhere else.
But are these two words applicable to professional and business Malawians at the moment?
To me partnership involves two or more organisations/bodies/firms/businesses/institutions (you name it) who have a memorandum of understanding to work together (lawyers may know how to really define this) under one umbrella.
Collaboration on the other hand as described by my colleagues involves two or more separate entities willing to work together but each one still operating other their mother entity. For example a University in UK may collaborate with a University in Malawi to do joint research but each institution continues to have its own values and virtues.
Malawians do not want to go into partnership because of greed and luck of trust .Do you know how many lawyers are practising in Malawi? To have a rough idea ;just count the number of lawyers you know in Malawi and that will roughly give you the number of legal firms available for them. Each one has their own legal firm named by their difficulty surname( Kalua and associates , chekacheka legal firm ;e.t.c) and situated in an old debilitated building somewhere in Blantyre. Why cant these lawyers come together and form one good posh legal firm and share the profits. Its all not possible because of greed( according to a lawyer friend of mine operating his own legal practice in Zomba).
What about in Health (my field)?
Each Doctor practising n Malawi has their own clinic; and claim to be specialists in everything .Why cant they come together and form one good clinic ?Greed again.
I was in a vibrant private clinic a few years ago but left after we could not agree on the percentage of share holding by each stakeholder within the clinic. Its really sad that even at a higher professional level we still can not agree to be partners.
This is evident in all other areas in Malawi ( accounting firms, construction companies, estate agents, car dealers and many more).
A few people I have spoken to say they can not trust a fellow Malawian to be a partner as Malawians are usually greed and steal from our own business.As a result each one wants to do business on their own but this becomes very hard when you experience some emergency situation. Recently I saw a vibrant legal firm closed down after the owner died as there was no one to take care of business. This could not have happened if there was a business partner involved earlier own.
Partnership is mainly a problem among the indigenous Malawians; However Malawians of Indian origin usually have a partner (or at least family members fully involved in business);and no wonder they excel in all business in Malawi.
The world is changing and business in the future will mainly thrive because of partnership and collaborations. Evidence is already available in Malawi where the new Game and Shoprite stores have taken over all the business from the common Malawian.
In Health ;its worse .If you are refusing to collaborate no one will give you any money for research or service delivery.
Collaborating and partnership promotes accountability (which most Malawians do not want).
Next time you think of starting business, seriously think of partnership or collaboration.
What do you think?