Nwamaka Agbo: The Road to Restorative Economics – Community Ownership & Community Governance [Ep. 105]

If you only have two minutes, click here for a highlight from the interview.


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As a restorative economics practitioner, Nwamaka Agbo brings a solutions-oriented approach to her project management consulting work with community-owned and community governed projects. With a background in organizing, electoral campaigns, policy and advocacy on racial, social and environmental justice issues, Nwamaka supports projects that build resilient, healthy and self-determined communities rooted in shared prosperity. Her current portfolio of projects includes supporting organizations and initiatives like Restore Oakland, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Restaurants Opportunities Centers United, Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, Democratizing Capital East Bay and others. In addition to her consulting practice, Nwamaka is also a Senior Fellow at the Movement Strategy Center. Prior to joining MSC, she served as the Director of Programs at EcoDistricts leading their Target Cities – a pilot program designed to support 11 neighborhood-scale sustainable urban regeneration projects across North America committed to equitable economic development. As the Director of Programs at Transform Finance, Nwamaka helped to design and launch the inaugural Transform Finance Institute for Social Justice leaders. The Institute was created to educate and train social justice community leaders about how to best leverage impact investments to deepen their social impact for transformative social change. She currently serves as an Advisory Board Member to Oakland Rising Action and a Board Member to the Thousand Currents, Center for Third World Organizing and the Schumacher Center for New Economics. She graduated from UC Davis with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and African American Studies and holds a Master’s of Public Administration specializing in Financial Management from San Francisco State University.


Some highlights from Ryan’s interview with Nwamaka include:

  • While in college, Nwamaka, a first generation Nigerian American, discovered the role of economics, imperialism, and colonialism in impacting the ability of communities of color to access dignified livelihoods through an international campaign to support African countries working to cancel their debt bondage to western countries

  • Inspired by community self-determination and resilience mechanisms, models, & strategies, Nwamaka’s work in restorative economics centers community ownership & community governance as a pathway to self determination

  • A review of the historic Powell Memo and how it relates to redistribution of wealth & power

  • Nwamaka shares how she had to challenge some of her own assumptions about finance and capital in her work with the Thousand Currents on the Buen Vivir Fund where collateral is based on the integrity of social rapport rather than asset-based

  • Appreciating resistance work in addition to building of the next economy








LIFT Economy is an impact consulting firm whose mission is to create, model, and share a locally self-reliant economy that works for the benefit of all life.

Andrew Baskin, Partner & Executive Producer at LIFT Economy, specializes in regenerative ag-related enterprise and impact investing that advances the health of our soil, food-system, and climate.  You can email Andrew at andrew@lifteconomy.com.

Ryan Honeyman is a Partner at LIFT Economy and author of The B Corp Handbook: How to Use Business as a Force for Good (Berrett-Koehler Publishers). You can follow Ryan on Twitter @honeymanconsult or email him ryan@lifteconomy.com.