JACKSONVILLE — In a unique global business initiative, the Most Rev. Thabo Makgoba, Anglican archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa, has announced the launching of the Winds of Change Economic Empowerment Partnership.
The partnership involves the Royal Bafokeng Holdings, a $5 billion black-owned investment company in South Africa; N.G. Wade Investment Company, a Jacksonville-based family holding company with strong expertise in forestry, agriculture, dairy and real estate; and the African Business Development Group, which is implementing Makgoba’s initiative.
The announcement at a press conference at Environmental Services Inc. in Jacksonville coincided with the observance of Juneteenth which marks the final end to slavery in the United States.
“On this momentous occasion, we begin to forever change how business is done in Africa and with the Diaspora around the globe,” Makgoba said. “Stewardship of a community’s resources and engagement in entrepreneurship can lead to economic independence and a better quality of life.
Unfortunately, much of Africa has lacked the leadership and opportunity to accomplish this. We will use examples from successful communities to empower indigenous people across Africa and the world.”
The Royal Bafokeng Nation will serve as a model to roll out the initiative in other African countries. The self-governing monarchy in northeast South Africa has some of the richest deposits of platinum group metals —platinum, palladium, iridium, rhodium, ruthenium and osmium — in the world.
It has amassed considerable wealth through royalties from companies granted mining rights and has used some of the income to establish the Royal Bafokeng Holdings fund responsible for promoting its economic interests.
“Our faith-based company will bring leadership, technical expertise and financial acumen to the imitative,” said Julius Jackson Jr., executive partner of African Business Development Group. “We will create sustainable and profitable economic development through ventures with Africans and U.S. businesses first, which will help us accomplish the archbishop’s goals.”
“Community reinvestment through this partnership will enable poverty reduction, education improvement, improved health care and positive
social impact through job creation, professional development, business mentoring, and ownership opportunities,” Jackson said.
The member-organizations in the Winds of Change Economic Empowerment Partnership will initiate ventures using timber and agricultural land, along with other assets, harvesting, earning carbon credits through forest preservation and producing food. Profits will be pumped into business enterprises that provide jobs and meet social needs.
According to the statement, the Bafokeng's current operating and management system will serve as the model for expansion into other countries.
“The Winds of Change Economic Empowerment Partnership is an incredible opportunity to grow financial impact abroad and
empower communities to self-sustain,” said Rhodes Robinson, chief executive officer of Environmental Services Inc. “We look forward to joining Archbishop Makgoba and Royal Bafokeng Holdings’ efforts and encourage other U.S. companies and businesses to do the same.”
*Pictured above is Rev. Thabo Makgoba