Join us on our faith journey as we follow Jesus to Ghana, West Africa!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"Dead Aid"

Charlie writes: I've been reading a book that I had seen
in Schiphol airport on the way back from The Mission Society's
eastern hemisphere meeting. The author, Dambisa Moyo, is an
economist who was born in Zambia, but then schooled in the
USA and UK, later working for the World Bank and Goldman
Sachs. Her thesis is that the reason Sub-saharan Africa
has floundered for the past fifty years is the trillion
dollars that the World Bank and developed nations have
dumped on them. The insidious unintended consequences of
aid (dependency, corruption, opacity, etc.) have left
those countries in worse shape than they were before the
aid began.

The excerpt below really rung true for me this week:

Although Africa is at the centre of the universe in the
area-accurate Peters Projection Map (occupying a much-coveted
proximity to the industrialized hubs of Europe and America),
it takes way too long to transport goods on its
nonnavigable rivers, impassable bridges, and pot-holed roads.
Besides, to state the obvious, no profit-seeking company can
afford to bet on Africa's unreliable power and erratic
telecommunications as the source of its manufactured
inputs. Of course, were Africa's dire infrastructure predicament
remedied, its chance for higher-valued trade (thereby distancing
itself from the tag of commodity exporter) could dramatically

as Ashesi struggled today with limited electricity. There
were a series of strong rains yesterday, and the power was
coming on and off all afternoon. Apparently, the circuitry
connecting the four backup diesel generators to the property's
circuits require that fuses be physically removed to isolate
the generators from the mains. During the repeated ons
and offs something was ''spoilt'' on three of the four.

Since starting at Ashesi, I've really begun to depend on
Courseware, the Moodle-based LMS (Learning Management System).
It enables me to set and collect all the assignments as well
as posting all the lecture slides which Ashesi is trying to put
out there so that Google and webometrics will find them and
credit Ashesi with a variety of learning resources. Of course,
if the electricity is out, the server (and the phones, printers,
canteen cash register, projectors) will also be out. I lectured
using my laptop on battery to review my slides, but had to
do a lot more writing on the board than I typically would have.
And we resorted to ''sneaker-net'' to distribute Assignment 7 on
a pen-drive to all the student laptops.

Tonight, I was able to log on from Cantonments, so apparently
the lights must have come back on!