Saturday, September 17, 2005

Trade not aid (revisited)

For those still convinced that the best way to help Third World countries and Africa in particular is to send truckloads of dollars, this article by Mamadou Koulibaly, president of the National Assembly of the Ivory Coast (and leftist intellectual, I might add) could prove illuminating. Excerpts:

We would do well to question some of the irrelevant assumptions of those calling for an increase in the volume of aid. Numerous World Bank and IMF analysts, among others working at major research centers on international development, question the effectiveness of the policies adopted so far. Research increasingly shows that economic prosperity is primarily generated by private investment when states can stimulate economic freedom.

The main challenge we face is to develop the capacity to open up our countries to international actors who can foster prosperity for the poorest amongst us. We also cannot shy away from our responsibilities as Africans.

Farmers, often the largest social and professional class, are still amongst the poorest in Africa countries when they live off of lands that are not governed by precise ownership rights.

There is now a good opportunity to begin advocating for freedom, democracy, and the enshrinement of clearer and more precise property rights regarding common goods that are all too often considered in Africa as state property.

Don’t tell Mugabe.

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