Sunday, June 17, 2007

More Aid for Africa?

There is a huge and sometimes heated debate about whether Aid helps to create economic growth. The most well-known facet is probably the public debates between Jeff Sachs and Bill Easterly. One odd thing about this debate though is that it is largely conducted by rich country academics, with little input from the "beneficiaries".

However three recent African perspectives on aid can be found as follows:

(1) From today's NY Times "What does Africa Need Most: Technology or Aid?"

The article comes down in favor of technology and entrepreneurship. It also tells the story of the man to built the Congo's vast growing wireless telecom network.

Money quote: "What man ever became rich by holding out a begging bowl?"
(uh, I know this one, Lee Iacocca, right??)

(2) An older piece from Der Spegel (2005) interviewing Kenyan economist James Shikwati

Money quote:

SPIEGEL: What are the Germans supposed to do?

Shikwati: If they really want to fight poverty, they should completely halt development aid and give Africa the opportunity to ensure its own survival. Currently, Africa is like a child that immediately cries for its babysitter when something goes wrong. Africa should stand on its own two feet.

(3) The writings of George Ayittey, economics professor at American University in DC.