Sadio Mane is a genius, and not just on the pitch. He is providing an $85 monthly basic income to people in a poor region in Senegal, direct from his own salary.
In Senegal, as in most of West Africa, people are getting by on very little. The average wage is $150 a month, and many people don't have even that as unemployment is stuck at nearly 15%. Many people work in agriculture, which - despite providing one of life's most vital necessities - unfortunately (and unfairly) just doesn't pay.
Sadio Mane, now an international football star playing for Liverpool FC, had a normal Senegalese childhood. He explains, "I was hungry, and I had to work in the field; I survived hard times, played football barefoot, I did not have an education." Now he has a footballer's salary, and he is not about to waste it.
As well as paying to build a school, a hospital and a stadium, he has created something unique: a one-man basic income scheme in a region of Senegal.
According to news reports, he pays 50,000 CFA ($85 dollars) a month, unconditionally, to every family in the region. That represents more than a 50% boost to someone earning the average wage. For the half of people earning below the average, this money will be particularly transformative, bringing opportunities and a quality of life that would otherwise be completely out of reach.
Of course, people in Senegal should not have to rely on the genius of people like Sadio Mane. Basic income should, and could, be provided everywhere as a matter of right. World Basic Income is campaigning to make that happen.
In the meantime, we give thanks to Sadio Mane, for just getting on with what clearly ought to be done. Let the world take notice.
The WBI Blog
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Title photograph by Koustav2007 (Own work), CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons