How You Can Lobby Governments

(Eric Halsey) #1

In the last lesson, we looked at how Teddy Ruge deals with regulations in Uganda and the wider East African region. Key to his long-term goals in dealing with regulation better is developing effective lobbying strategies.

##What Is Lobbying?

Lobbying, put simply, is when private companies or individuals try to influence governments. That could mean working with regulation agencies to help them understand how to best enforce their regulations or it could mean building a relationship with a politician to influence their votes.

##How Can You Lobby?

If you think you or your company are too small to be able to do this, remember that lobbying is often done by organizations which represent large groups of people or companies. So participating in lobbying for your own interests can also happen by finding the right organization to represent you.

For Teddy, that organization is the Afrilabs Network.

“Hive colab is a part of the Afrilabs Network, something like this would be a great chance for us to take this on and influence regultory decision making across the continent.”
-Teddy Rouge, Founder of Raintree Farms, Co-founder of and Hive Colab

Understanding that technology labs and co-working spaces want many of the same things from their governments, Hive Colab uses this organization to press for smarter regulations on its industry.

“The immediete body is the EAC (East African Community), as you’re building this economic region can you bring down those barriers. It’s starting to happen, Safaricom and MTM have cross border agreements for remittances.”
-Teddy Rouge, Founder of Raintree Farms, Co-founder of and Hive Colab

The question then is who to lobby? You can lobby a local government, a national government, or a supranational organization. For Teddy, the most efficient method is to go straight to the top and lobby the EAC. But ask yourself and any organization you want to lobby through where you think your efforts can have the greatest impact.

##The Importance of Lobbying

“In order for our economies to scale I need to do business with a Nigerian, to Côte d’Ivoire. Right now, I can’t acquire those customers because Orange Uganda is a different company than Orange Kenya. Those digital roadblocks need to come down. As hub founders, we need to come together and build a collective voice influencing and saying these are the numbers which say we need to move in this direction.”
-Teddy Rouge, Founder of Raintree Farms, Co-founder of and Hive Colab

But why lobby at all? Teddy explains it clearly here. Good regulations are essential for his businesses to grow. He can’t simply sit around and hope that governments around Africa will make the right decisions for his businesses. For Teddy, getting involved in lobbying is the right business move, as well as a way for him to make Africa better.