Some sad sentences about Africa
From Paul Collier in the Guardian:
"The global commodity boom that ended abruptly in September was the second since African independence. Africa has yet to diversify from dependence on primary commodity exports, so these booms were huge opportunities, pumping far more money into some governments than aid will ever do. Last year, Angola alone received from oil and diamonds more than double the entire aid inflows to Africa."
Why is this sad? Well (1) it is a very sorry state of affairs when aid flows are the benchmark of size for an entire continent. And (2) Collier thinks these booms were a wasted opportunity for development because they pumped so much money into some African governments (which is apparently a necessary precondition for development?)!
In my opinion, one of the biggest problems with traditional aid flows is that they are government to government (or multilateral bureaucracy to government).
Collier lists Botswana as a country whose government used commodity boom money to "lift the society out of poverty", but if you look at the graph in the post directly below this one you can plainly see that Botswana is one of the few countries whose Human Devlopment Index score is way worse than what its GDP per capita would predict.
The rest of the article doesn't get any better, but is well worth reading.