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KCSU News: Dr. Woldezion Mesghinna


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KCSU News: Dr. Woldezion Mesghinna

By Laurelle Turner | October 24, 2016

Dr. Woldezion Mesghinna is the President of NRCE, based here in Fort Collins. Due to his origins in Eritrea and personal passions, Dr. Mesghinna has published a book addressing the development of sustainable food security in Sub-Saharan Africa titled, “How Sub-Saharan Africa can Achieve Food Security”. 

Often, we find ourselves in the midst of life riddled with whether or not our sports team will win, whether or not our crush will finally notice us, whether or not we can afford the whipped cream on our daily double macchiato. This life we enjoy as modern, middle class Americans affords us the luxury of narrowly focusing on ourselves. We become completely consumed by trivial pieces of everyday life. And it’s something we all do.

What is rarer, however, is the ability to sit and have a deep, meaningful conversation about how a continent like Africa could feasibly change its future for the better.

It’s no shocking secret that Africa encompasses a remarkable portion of the world’s most extreme poor. Nearly all of us have come to the point where seeing stunted, starving African children no longer shocks us. In fact, it is estimated that, since 1990, 63 million more people living in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) now fall below the poverty line. That’s 20% of the U.S. population. And for the folks at home who may not understand the full impact of that number, find 9 other people around you, wherever you are. Imagine 2 of them cannot feed themselves for more than one meal per day. This will biologically halt their growth physically and mentally.

As an agrarian society, SSA is well behind other developed continents. But that does not mean that their future has to follow any predicted negative trend. Believe it or not, SSA has the capability to achieve several sustainable, lightly industrialized modern economies within her many countries.

Or, at least, so proposes a Fort Collins local by the name of Woldezion Mesghinna.

Dr. Woldezion Mesghinna is the President of NRCE, based here in Fort Collins. Due to his origins in Eritrea and personal passions, Dr. Mesghinna has published a book addressing the development of sustainable food security in Sub-Saharan Africa titled, “How Sub-Saharan Africa can Achieve Food Security”.

Wold makes a key connection as the foundation of his book: extreme poverty in SSA is a direct result of the lack of sustainable food security. So all we have to do is solve a food production crisis, right? Wold would argue against that.

You see, over production of food is just as bad as under production of food in any society and culture which lacks a fully developed, diverse economy. If everyone in an agrarian society, or in SSA’s case over 20% of the population, is a farmer and food is over produced to the point of being cheap, suddenly more than 20% of that society’s population finds itself in poverty.

And it would be short-sighted to see that as a bit of a “perpetual problem”. As demonstrated by Wold’s book, and as any good engineer will know, you simply need to redesign your system. Proposed in the book is the idea that food security can simply be broken down into categories of fixable causes:

1. Rapid population growth

2. Lack of knowledge growth

3. Lack of proper resource management

4. Lack of well-designed educational systems

Implementing the solutions to any and all of these involves cooperation from governments. But the main idea to take away here is that with improved education, modernized understanding on how to work land and water resources (of which, Wold is an obvious expert), and with deeper understandings of how societies grow over time, rather than overnight it is not at all impossible for SSA to rise to a position of development.

And people like me; people who hope and wish that we can see the beautiful, ancient cultures of the many countries found in SSA like Senegal, The Congo, Eritrea rise to a place of development; people who know full well that depictions like those found in “Heart of Darkness” belong to the past…well maybe this offering from Dr. Mesghinna can inspire our generation and the next to not be so helplessly buried in our cell phones.

Woldezion’s full interview with me is featured below. It and its News Feature are both available on SoundCloud and will be available via podcast on iTunes.