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Saturday, September 29, 2012

“Why Africa is Poor” – some quotes

beggingafricaI have started reading Greg Mills’ book, “Why Africa is Poor: and what Africans can do about it.” It is a very insightful book and I would like to give you some quotes from the book.

“The way in which the world has preferred to deal with Africa’s poverty and development challenges has been with increased volumes of aid. As will be seen [in this book], no country has developed solely through aid. Most of the donors themselves did not develop in this way. To the contrary: aid can have a rash of unintended and negative consequences which make development less, not more, likely. ... Not only was aid not working; aid was doing harm across the continent and further afield.” (p7,8)

“Yet no amount of money was going to ‘fix’ African states if their leaders continued to make wrong development choices. Very few Africans (or other recipients) will admit to making big mistakes. This might be because of Africa’s turbulent and painful colonial history, when the sort of development plans attempted by colonial powers were really little different in practical (as opposed to political) terms to those tried today. As Easterly observed in his development tour de force, The White Man’s Burden, while there was a shift in language from ‘uncivilised’ to ‘underdeveloped’ and ‘savage peoples’ to the ‘Third World’ as part of a ‘genuine change of heart away from racism and towards respect for equality ... a paternalistic and coercive strain survived’. As a result, ‘Soon was born the development expert, the heir to the missionary and the colonial officer.’” (p9-10)

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