1 Oct 2009

Hope for Africa

Here's the remarkable and uplifting story (how often do you say that about Africa?) of a boy, William Kankwamba, in Malawi who created electricity for his village:
We hear a lot about the need to eradicate poverty in Africa and elsewhere. And yet there are too many people who still cannot think critically enough about the most effective ways to do so.
Simply pouring millions of Western money into the country will never achieve the intended result. Enabling people to trade will.
A few years ago, the government of Tanzania, one of the world's poorest countries, recieved £30 million in aid from Britain. Not long after they purchased a military air traffic control system for around a similar amount of money, in effect British aid money. It is a classic example of how well intentioned aid simply does not work and can even makes things much worse.
The solutions to poverty in Africa and elsewhere will come from things like the freedom afforded by more accessible technology, particularly mobile phones and internet access. And also from the spirit of the people within the countries themselves and their determination in spite of their corrupt governments. We should be doing all we can to enable their efforts to better themselves by encouraging trade rather than containing them solely with corrupt aid.