Credible, Pointed, Relevant, Useful, Essential | The Trouble with Africa: Why Foreign Aid Isn't Working | Robert Calderisi
The Trouble with Africa: Why Foreign Aid Isn't Working
, 2007 - 256 pages
average customer review:
based on 25 reviews
view larger image
for more information click here
Enjoyed the honesty
I recently had a client that moved here from Nigeria after living in various places in
for 12 years. She had some very eye opening things to say about the state of things on that continent, and it got me curious to know more. I enjoyed the honesty, though I see where it might raise eyebrows. His experiences come across vividly and he shares many personal and specific anecdotes to illustrate his points. Africa seems a little less mysterious, if not a little more contradictory. A good read.
Robert Calderisi is someone who has lived in
and worked at the World Bank. He has the personal/professional experience to speak as an expert on the subject of Africa's political and economic problems. I think it's about time someone speaks to Africa's problems honestly so that hopefully Africa will finally be able to get on board with all the other developing nations. Africa is a diamond in the rough and it's time for her brilliance to finally shine...
for more information click here
Credible, Pointed, Relevant, Useful, Essential
I read in groups in order to avoid being "captured" or overly-swayed by any single point of view. The other books on
that I will be reviewing this week-end include:
Aid Is Not
and How There Is a Better Way for Africa
The Challenge for Africa
Africa Unchained: The Blueprint for Africa's Future
Up front the author stresses that since 1975 Africa has been in a downward spiral, ultimately losing HALF of its
market for African goods and services, a $70 billion a year plus loss that no amount of foreign aid can supplant.
The corruption of the leaders and the complacency of the West in accepting that corruption is a recurring theme. If the USA does not stop supporting dictators and embracing corruption as part of the "status quo" then no amount of good will or aid will suffice.
The author emphasizes the pettiness and egotism of African leaders, another recurring theme distinct from their corruption. He praises Nelson Mandela, Leopold Senghor of Senegal, and Julius Nyerere of Tanzania as wise men and models.
He also emphasizes the need to eliminate monopolies, and I have for myself a note, "need to map monopolies--governmental and corporate as well as religious and tribal--down to the district level."
Opening quote (p 7):
"...most not ... aware that Africa has steadily lost markets by its own mismanagement; that most countries--including supposedly "capitalist" ones like the Ivory Coast--have been anti-business; that African family loyalty and fatalism have been more destructive than tribalism; that African leaders and intellectuals play intentionally on Western guilt; that even Africa's "new" leaders are indifferent to public opinion and key issues like AIDS; and that, in recent decades, Africans have probably been more cruel to each other than anyone else has been."
The author is also optimistic, observing as so many have the richness of Africa in talent, resources, and tradition.
In the author's view, aid works best when the government and society are already moderately effective, and a new approach for Africa might start with Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique [this was written before the recent implosion of that country], Ghana, and Mail. He praises Botswana and Mauritius as success stories of lasting importance. I am reminded that four countries have 50% of Africa's population: Nigeria, Congo (CD), Ethiopia, and South Africa.
Practical impediments to African develop identified by the author include a lack of deep-water ports (to which I would add multiple land-locked countries); a failure to achieve unity as a whole and even unity at the sub-region level--he spends time on the collapse of Central Africa.
Highlights from this book, which "tells a story" in a very credible way and also improves my appreciation for the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, both of which I have considered part of the problem for over a decade:
+ Home-grown corruption & despotism is the leading cause of decline.
+ The greatest need is for open debate, a free and informative press, a full disclosure to the public of public information about problems, programs, incoming aid funds, and the contributions of outsiders as well as the negative impact of insiders. On page 55 the author is eloquent in condemning "the ignorance, uncertainty, dishonesty, and insecurity that rule African lives."
+ Core issues include the importance of primary education, family planning, giving women access to credit, fighting corruption, and opening internal markets for farmers and workers, not just business.
+ A full chapter discusses culture, corruption, and correctness, and here I learn more about the connection between the family tradition and corruption, the fatalism and acceptance of hardship, the community culture that discourages individual imitative (which is successful is drained by family claims for "sharing), and so on. I am especially impressed by the author's urgency in condemning Western acceptance of continued corruption at all levels of any government.
+ I learn that racism is alive and well and that hypocrisy runs deep in Africa.
+ Only one aid program has truly worked in the author's view, the fight against river blindness.
+ If the World Bank annual budget for Africa were given directly to the poor, it would last ten days (this is one of the reasons I believe we must empower the poor with cell phones and access to information so they can create infinite wealth on their own).
After case studies of Tanzania, Ivory Coast, and Central Africa (region), the author concludes with ten recommendations that I find gripping in their practical value:
01 Introduce mechanisms for tracing and recovering public funds [i.e. from Switzerland, Caymans]
02 Require all Heads of State, Ministers, and Senior Officials to open their bank accounts to public scrutiny
03 Cut direct aid to individual countries in half
04 Focus direct aid on four to five countries that are serious about reducing poverty
05 Require all countries to hold internationally-supervised elections
06 Promote other aspects of democracy including a free press and an independent judiciary
07 Supervise the running Africa's schools and HIV/AIDS program
08 Establish citizen review groups to oversee government policy and agreements
09 Put more emphasis on infrastructure and regional links
10 Merge the World Bank, IMF, and United Nations Development Programme
As something of a bottom line, I conclude from this book that decades of Western tolerance for massive corruption and ineffectiveness at the leadership level in Africa, combined with aid generosity lacking in practical direction has allowed Africa to rot from within.
A final quote from the last page (230):
"Only those familiar with the human beauty, potential, and suffering of the continent will dare hope for breakthroughs in the next ten years. More than others, they know that only Africans can break the cycle of terror, poverty, and mediocrity that keeps them subdued."
Other books I recommend with this one:
Deliver Us from Evil: Peacekeepers, Warlords and a World of Endless Conflict
Breaking the Real Axis of Evil: How to Oust the World's Last Dictators by 2025
The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It
The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits (Wharton School Publishing Paperbacks)
A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility--Report of the Secretary-General's High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change
The leadership of civilization building: Administrative and civilization theory, symbolic dialogue, and citizen skills for the 21st century
How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas, Updated Edition
My take-away: Africa is an Information Operations (IO) challenge; create a regional Range of Needs table at the household level that the one billion rich can plug into while also harmonizing the giving and the investments of organizations, and Africa can be the first Smart Continent that uses information as a substitute for violence, corruption, time, and space.
for more information click here
After years of frustration at the stifling atmosphere of political correctness surrounding discussions of
, long time World Bank official Robert Calderisi speaks out. He boldly reveals how most of Africa?s misfortunes are self-imposed, and
the world must now deal differently with the continent.
Here we learn that Africa has steadily lost markets by its own mismanagement, that even capitalist countries are anti-business, that African family values and fatalism are more destructive than tribalism, and that African leaders prey intentionally on Western guilt. Calderisi exposes the shortcomings of
and debt relief, and proposes his own radical solutions.
Drawing on thirty years of first hand experience, The
with Africa highlights issues which have been ignored by Africa?s leaders but have worried ordinary Africans, diplomats, academics, business leaders, aid workers, volunteers, and missionaries for a long time. It ripples with stories which only someone who has talked directly to African farmers--and heads of state--could recount.
Calderisi?s aim is to move beyond the hand-wringing and finger-pointing which dominates most discussions of Africa. Instead, he suggests concrete steps which Africans and the world can take to liberate talent and enterprise on the continent.
for more information click here
What's your opinion?
Write a review and share your thoughts!
Foreign Aid and Africa
My African Education
Books to Read
The Land Between: Finding God in Difficult Transitions
The Power of Praying® for Your Adult Children Book of Prayers (The ...
Nadia G's Bitchin' Kitchen: Cookin' for Trouble
The Berenstain Bears and the Truth
Branded as Trouble (Rough Riders)
A Foreign Heart (The Inner Seas Kingdoms Series)
The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, ...
Foreign Enemies And Traitors (The Enemies Trilogy)
Foreign Faction - Who Really Kidnapped JonBenet?
Foreign Policy Begins at Home: The Case for Putting America's House ...
Top 30 Quick Vegetarian Breakfast Recipes for Busy Women: Never Miss ...
Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site
The Mark of Athena (The Heroes of Olympus, Book Three)
Of Windmills and War
search for books
The Visible Employee: Using Workplace Monitoring and Surveillance to ...
impressum - about us