Thursday, May 14, 2009

THE DANES DON’T WEAR SHOES...This Story is actually about Aid in Africa..Believe me.

Of course they do, silly!

But that’s my excuse for not buying a single pair of shoes while I was there. But I did get some leggy treatment. I bought a pair of grey leggings, the cold made me do that.

But this blog is not about shoes.

I went to Copenhagen for work. I am a business reporter and this time round I played the role of camera person as well, oh, the joys of working for TV. Ask a stranger to press the record button, count yourself down ,say take one, spell out your script, then wait for another stranger to record yet another piece to camera.

I managed, and packaged a 5 minute feature on the report of the Africa Commission, which runs on this weekend's East Africa Business Report on CNBC Africa

Just today I was reading a piece on the business daily written by Rwandan president Paul Kagame, titled ‘Africa must find its own road to prosperity. Question is: do we as a continent need foreign aid? The president says “no one should assume they know what is good for us better than we do so ourselves’

The Aid debate rages on, and I what I think is that aid is like a drug. Addictive. The more you have it, the more you want, and slowly priorities and the mindset take on a new thinking, and you begin to askask why work hard to achieve something when you can get it for free? Governments like the Congo have learnt to survive on gifts, better known as Dead Aid. Dambisa Moyo's book, Dead Aid stirred a cord in many of us who always wondered why “development partners” would rather give millions to feed the hungry other than spend less than half of that on sustainable development.

That’s one reason that made the African Commission of great interest to me, is that I was thinking; yet another development partner, setting up yet another commission to eradicate poverty in Africa.

But they got it right in a couple of ways. They engaged the Africans that are in the know. From young Africans through the African Youth panel, to Business leaders and the president of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete all served as a resource to advice the Danes on the best way to maximize the impact of aid.

Let’s get to the basics, the SME sector is the backbone of the Sub Saharan economy, and empowering this sector, is in fact building the economy by creating jobs and offering sustainability, something the aid culture in Africa has lacked in the past.

With a guarantee fund from AFDB, SME’s will be able to access funds to start up or expand their businesses. This now means that after the funds are gone; these private business owners will confidently carry on, and cement their position as the building blocks of our economies.

Other initiatives of the African commission include provision of energy in partnership with AFDB, helping to improve Africa’s competitive edge, ensuring higher education and research is available to Africa’s Youth.

This 200 mill Kroner fund is focused primarily on Africa’s young, who make up more than 60 % of the population. Another tick from me, as African governments have forgotten that their young exist.
When all is said and done, we, as Africans need to chart the way forward for our economies my take is that yes, we do need development partners, but only those who are ready to work in the way we say is best.

Those that want it their way, should hit the highway..oh and in Nairobi, it’s really smooth now to the airport


  1. You and your readers may be interested in a recent interview I conducted with Dambisa and one of her critics, an African student attending college in Canada.

  2. isn't it amazing how far she has come now! A thought leader I highly regard. Thanks Dave.