Good commentary on yesterday’s festivities from the Business. Here’s an extract:
“The real question is: why are some countries rich and others poor? To the Make Poverty History crowd, the answer to this question, by far the most important in economics and all of the social sciences, usually lies with Western exploitation, insufficient aid and the alleged ravages caused by free trade or greedy multinationals. This conveniently omits to explain how so many poor nations in Asia have got rich; and many economists in developing countries no longer agree. Even more so than most westerners, they desperately want to conquer poverty but years of bitter disappointment as billions of dollars of aid did nothing to stem Africas descent into squalor and chaos have forced many to think again. The result is a growing backlash against the new Gordon Brown-Tony Blair-Make Poverty History view that when it comes to Africa, foreign aid is the answer to all the questions. Wearing a white wristband and calling for hand-outs or debt relief is not the answer, says a growing band of young and educated Africans. The money will merely be frittered away, diverted into the Swiss bank accounts of a corrupt ruling class and do little or nothing to bring about prosperity, they say. While still a minority view, these African pro-capitalist rebels are the voice of the future; one of the leading lights in this movement is June Arunga, a Kenyan law student currently based at the University of Buckingham in the UK. The African dissidents even held a well-attended conference in London last week, adding their voices to a growing chorus of Western analysts who argue that there is no robust statistical or economic evidence that aid boosts growth.”
Read the whole thing.