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Why poor countries are poor

We still don’t have a good word to describe what is missing in Cameroon and in poor countries across the world. But we are starting to understand what it is. Some people call it “social capital,” or maybe “trust.” Others call it “the rule of law,” or “institutions.” But these are just labels. The problem is that Cameroon, like other poor countries, is a topsy-turvy place where it’s in most people’s interest to take actions that directly or indirectly damage everyone else.

Dear Bono…

I am afraid that your energies have been misdirected when they are used to advance an aid agenda that is based on two obsolete and counter- productive premises: first, that aid for Africa must be spent in Africa rather than outside it and, second, that we must work to increase aid flows to a target of 0.7 per cent of gross national product…

The West can’t save Africa

According to Bill Easterly in today’s Washington Post.

Economic development in Africa will depend -- as it has elsewhere and throughout the history of the modern world -- on the success of private-sector entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs and African political reformers. It will not depend on the activities of patronizing, bureaucratic, unaccountable and poorly informed outsiders… Development everywhere is homegrown.