CRG Seminar: Kindred Based Economic System for Inclusive Economies: Lessons from Imo State, Nigeria

Many economic policy interventions are top-down in approach and based on colonial structures. These unsuitable interventions, which have persisted unchallenged over time, ignore indigenous social and governance structures. The downgrading of indigenous social structures in both policy and practice has continued to haunt many initiatives in Africa, consequently leading to failures and frustrations. But a pilot project amongst the Igbos of Nigeria, based on local socio-economic structures, has the potential to put indigenous cultures at the forefront of economic development in Africa. Imagine an approach to economic development where the smallest units of society can effectively collaborate for collective economic empowerment. In Igboland in South-East Nigeria, there is a unit of social organisation known as the kindred or Umunna system. In this setting, extended family, or kindreds, perform unique functions in the social lives of their members. They offer each other spaces for communal projects, the administration of social welfare, and resolution to interpersonal conflicts. This paradigm is at the heart of the One Kindred One Business Idea (OKOBI), whereby kindreds create and finance their own communal businesses. These businesses reflect the interests, passions, and resources of the kindreds. The primary element of this arrangement is that the business is kindred-owned, led, and controlled. This approach, which is in line with the original social structure of the Igbo people through the “Umunna” and “Umuada”, has a significant potential of addressing the issues of unemployment and poverty from the grass root level upwards. This seminar explores how OKOBI is deployed creatively in Imo State, Southeast Nigeria, to address the challenges of unemployment and foster inclusive economies.

Register for this seminar by sending an e-mail to Prof. Chibuike Uche.

This seminar is organised by the CRG 'Governance, entrepreneurship and inclusive development'.

Photo credits: Juju Films (via Flickr).

Kenneth Amaeshi is a Professor of Sustainable Finance at the School of Transnational Governance. He is currently on leave from the University of Edinburgh, where he is the Chair in Business and Sustainable Development and Director Scaling Business in Africa. He is also a Visiting Professor of Leadership and Financial Markets in Africa at the London School of Economics and an Honorary Professor of Business in Africa at the Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town, South Africa. In addition to his academic roles, he is the Chief Economic Adviser to the Imo State Government of Nigeria.



Date, time and location

18 October 2023
15.00 - 16.30
Pieter de la Courtgebouw / Faculty of Social Sciences, Wassenaarseweg 52, 2333 AK Leiden
Room 1.B53