Social Capital from the Perspective of the Individual and Society

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Social Capital from the Perspective of the Individual and Society
Belay Gezahegn, Director, Ethiopia

Personal relationships an individual established with other people may expose him or her to different opportunities. The saying "It is not so much WHAT you know that matters but WHO you know" - although not necessarily true - means that people with a wide network have more and better opportunities than those with a high level of proficiency or knowledge, but less social capital.
Often, knowledgeable people are not very good at building social capital networking to let others know their talent.

From the perspective of the society, social capital may be expressed as the ability to work together, have common objectives to achieve and share, and exploit whatever wealth is under their disposal. In a nation where the social capital is not well developed, citizens may not be able to exploit their natural resources and benefit from it. Countries in Central Africa, like Congo, can be cited as an example of the above.
Like with individuals, building social capital at the society level also requires effort and talent from the side of nations. In some instances, social capital of a nation could be depleted or rebuilt as a result of political agendas of politicians. Rwanda was in a terrible situation years ago which put citizens' survival at stake. Now all that has changed and people are working for the common goal of nation building.



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