Phi Beta Cons

No Help from the Left

Mo Ibrahim, the Sudanese Muslim billionaire whose mobile-phone company made cell phones cheap and widespread in Africa, and who gives a $5 million reward to African dictators who are elected to office, promote democracy, do not steal from the people, and cede power peacefully, is emphatic that Africa’s problems are due to corruption and poor leadership, not to poverty and colonialism. Quite a contrast to left-wing economists, such as Columbia University’s Jeffrey Sachs.

Ken Auletta sums up the difference between the two in a long article on Ibrahim. Sachs recommends more foreign aid, and has written, “Africa’s governance is poor because Africa is poor.” Ibrahim says the opposite, in Auletta’s words: “Africans are poor because their governance is poor.”

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