Today, more than half the world’s poorest people live in sub-Saharan Africa. Why? Why is it that most of Africa stays poor, while other parts of the world prosper? People have lots of theories. Clean water is simply hard to find. The present day problems of the African continent are tied to its colonial history. But I say Magatte Wade’s explanation makes the most sense. African governments simply have too many rules. Once you hire someone good luck getting rid of them for any reason. Then there’s taxes. The tax code is so complicated. Some people say it’s worth at least two or three truckloads of paper. Wade started this lip balm company in Senegal. Some ingredients she needs are not made there, so she imports them, but the government makes that expensive. Some of them have a 70 percent import tariff on them. So it almost doubles the prices. Exactly. Many people, then escape the tax by paying bribes. We hear about African corruption. People complain about corruption as if corruption is a root problem I say no — Corruption is also a natural consequence of stupid senseless idiot laws. There’d be just as much corruption in America if we had these rules? Absolutely. The only way to fix corruption is to simplify. Wade’s business survived because she was fortunate to find a helpful bureaucrat. I went to see the Head of Customs and we started looking together. He didn’t demand a bribe. We found a clause in one of the binders saying actually if you’re exporting at least 80 percent of your products and if you’ve been in business for two years then you can ask for an exemption. You survive through a loophole but that takes connections and time Exactly. Exactly. I imagine the leaders of these countries mostly mean well. They see how damaging this is. Why do they impose all these rules? I am not so sure all of them get it. Look at the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The UN’s development goals includes things like “Inclusive and equitable education, climate change, and gender equality.” There is no mention of rules that kill business. We have chains around our necks. No one is seeing it. And then they want to come talk to me about inequality. We need greater economic freedom. Simple rules that everyone can understand. Yes. Yes. That diagnosis is known by almost no one. It should be known! If you just look at the rest of the world you can see what’s worked and what hasn’t. Wade just made this movie about that. Why is it that a couple decades ago you know China was at the same level as most African countries? Countries like Singapore made it. Countries like Hong Kong made it. Even a place like Dubai bare land of sand, desert sand and all of a sudden within 12, 15 years, Dubai – one of the financial centers of the world – and you’re like what? What happened here? They understood if we do not work hard to make it easy for businesses to set up and be ran no businesses is going to come But international aid organizations have a different solution. They say the nations of the world need to send more help. Governments already send $50 billion a year to Africa. And companies promote themselves by donating. What if I start a shoe company, and every time I sold a pair of shoes, I gave a pair away. These kids’ll have shoes for the rest of their life. Tom’s shoes has donated 93 million pairs of shoes. Do you know that we have two hundred thirty-two hundred thirty-two shoe making small businesses each one of them hiring directly at least 15 people In this little village. Yes. So when you buy your shoes in the US and pairs of shoes are being put in a container to be shipped over to my village. Shoemaker has now to close the doors because who can compete against free? This man is still in business, but it’s a struggle. I know it came from a good place. I get it. But can you just think further down the road unless you think that we really sincerely have nothing including even shoemakers! And I think that’s terrible! To give in such a way that has no end Yet Tom’s Shoes two-for-one deal is popular. One company started it did so well with it. With a buy one we’re going to give one for free to poor people. But now you’re seeing it with tampons you’re seeing it with soap, you’re seeing it with everything. It would be better, says Wade, if westerners encouraged African governments to stop strangling their own entrepreneurs. If I have a job then, guess what? My malnutrition problem goes poof! My even access to clean water goes poof. You know it just poof, poof, poof! But without jobs, millions risk their lives trying to get to richer countries. Some of my most entrepreneurial people who are right now serving us fish food at the bottom of the ocean because there is not enough jobs and why there is not enough jobs? Because the business climate sucks so much that people like me can’t do that work of creating companies and jobs. Many of those deaths would be prevented if Africa just didn’t have so many dumb rules. And that’s what inequality we should talk about. No one talks about it. An equal playing field of rules. Yes. Yes. Let’s create greater economic freedom in all countries so that all people everywhere get a chance to free enterprise.