Honeyman Submits Book Manuscript to Stanford University Press

posted Jun 12, 2014, 1:19 AM by Catherine A. Honeyman
Responding to an expression of interest from Stanford University Press, for its forthcoming series on Anthropology of Policy (see http://www.sup.org/anthropolicy/), Ishya Consulting's Managing Director Dr. Catherine Honeyman has submitted a book manuscript based on five years of research on entrepreneurship education in Rwanda. The manuscript, tentatively titled Educating the Orderly Entrepreneur: Creativity, Credentials, and Controls in Rwanda's Post-Developmental State, is currently under editorial review.

Following is an excerpt from the book Preface:

    "After sunset, when Kigali comes alive with all of the people returning home from work, there is always a group of women waiting in the shadows at the major intersection closest to my home. Standing outside the shops, they search for clients among the people and vehicles that fill the streets.
    But before you jump to the wrong conclusion, I should clarify—these women have quite an innocent occupation. They sell fruit: pineapples with juice dripping down their sides, neatly tied bags of passion fruit and tree tomatoes, shiny green imported apples, golden-skinned finger bananas…
    Except that, these days, these products are rarely visible at the intersection.
    Linger in the crowd with me for a few minutes when the local police are around, and this is what you will see: with empty hands, these women dash to each car that pulls up, asking if the occupants would like to buy their fruit. If they find a potential client, they dash back through a worn-looking door, tucked back in the shadows beside the more-established shops. A few moments later, they emerge again, running with fruit in hand, hoping to make their sale before the buyer loses interest and drives on. Along the way, these women often glance over their shoulders for the police.
    This is not how it used to be. At one time, the side of the road at this intersection was crowded with women carrying their sweet-smelling merchandise in wide baskets atop their heads and in woven bags slung over each arm. Near them, you could always find a young man or two selling sweets and biscuits from a cardboard box. Needed to clean the dust off your shoes before venturing into town? Someone was always carrying around packages of tissues for 100 francs each.
    Once a characteristic image of street life just about anywhere on the African continent, this sort of scene has almost disappeared in Rwanda. Street businesses have been tidied up, brought into the formal market, and are required to have a fixed and formal place of business. Prepared foods must be properly labeled and inspected for consumer safety; motorcycle taxi drivers must belong to a cooperative, wear numbered uniforms, and provide helmets; all businesses must register, obtain a license, and become part of the tax system.
    These are all sensible regulations, arguably modeled on the way things work in many developed economies. And in Rwanda, they are enforced with increasing effectiveness each year. This is Rwanda’s contemporary aesthetic of entrepreneurship, of national progress: clean streets, orderly businesses, everything registered and known—an orderly and regulated form of self-reliance from the broadest policies down to the tiniest details.
    In Rwanda, in other words, the streetside “lemonade stand” wouldn’t be considered an iconic and positive image of the youthful entrepreneur—it would just be disorderly conduct, plain and simple. And yet the Rwandan government is in favor of youth entrepreneurship. Highly in favor, in fact [...]"
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