26 August 2009

Not Poor, Poorly Managed ~ Africa's Plight

Why is the African continent poor? asks Mark Doyle, seasoned BBC world affairs correspondent, who investigates...
"...why it is that the vast majority of African countries are clustered at or near the bottom of the United Nations Human Development Index -- in other words they have a pretty appalling standard of living. [One element:] War makes you destitute. [And yet...] "Tremendous land! Very fertile, enormous rainfall, tremendous agricultural resources. Minerals! We have oil and many other minerals -- go name it!" The paradox of rich resources and poor people hints at another layer of explanation about why Africa is poor. It is not just that there is war. The question should, perhaps be: "Why is there so much war?" [Partly colonialism and plunder, but also...] Almost every African I met, who was not actually in government, blamed corrupt African leaders for their plight. [...] Even President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia came close to this when she told me she had underestimated the level of corruption in her country when she took office. "Maybe I should have sacked the whole government when I came to power," she said. "Africa is not poor," President Johnson-Sirleaf added, "it is poorly managed."
See also the ongoing blog follow-up discussion on this. (And everyone should read the Frontline interview with Mark Doyle about his experience reporting from Kigali during the Rwandan genocide.)

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