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Manual on investment for Community Based Organisations

Organisation Development and Community Management Trust (ODCMT)

November 2004

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Why a manual on Investment?

This Manual on Investment for Community Based Organisations joins two others we have developed under this series. These Manuals are important because they attempt to tell the story of each topic simply and in a readable manner for the ordinary person.

The Organisation Development and Community Management Trust (ODCMT) has embarked on developing and producing manuals on various issues as advocacy tools in disseminating information to poor farmers in rural areas. Other manuals already developed include the Manual on Trade and the Manual on Pesticides.

The question why should there be a Manual on Investment can be answered by looking at the issues that involve money. We all need money to buy and sell or to invest in a house or a farm or a shop. Said differently, we all use money in our daily lives. In fact it would not be wrong to suggest that money is at the root of all human activities, including buying and selling of goods and services.

Thus in investment, movement of money to seek out opportunities for profit is at the heart of modern debate on trade. Much talk about the benefits of “free trade” is an argument to persuade us that it is good that governments liberalise trade. But the language used causes confusion because much of what is said to be trade is actually about opportunities for large companies, called Transnational Corporations (TNCs), to invest and move money and earn profits around the world without public accountability.

Under the debate of “free trade” a change has happened in the world, a change known as globalisation. In this period of “free trade” debates governments of developed countries and big transnational companies have responded to declining profit rates in the 1970s by seeking new areas for profitable investment. They have sought new ways for governments to help big businesses make profits. It is for that reason we need to know and understand what investment is all about. We need to understand too, what lies behind the rhetoric of “free trade” and investment and a Manual on Investment is not only critical but necessary for the ordinary person to know and understand what is involved.

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