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Saving Africa through capitalism

That, in essence, is what Kenyan teacher James Shikwati is attempting to do, and in a smeartastic item in the New York Times it is made very clear that the American left does not like this one little bit. How many times have people seen 'groom' used in the context of child molesters? The sentence 'a case study of how the right grooms foreign allies' can only be intended to prompt thoughts of such procedures.

In among the smears and the innuendos, the Times notes "Mr. Shikwati’s group, the Inter Region Economic Network, or IREN, is part of a global span of policy groups that Western conservatives have helped build over the past quarter-century. Operating in as many as 70 countries, with varying degrees of outside support, these institutes push a wide array of free-market prescriptions, including lower taxes, less regulation and freer trade.They have strengthened property rights in Peru, aided the privatization of state-owned companies in Egypt, protested union power in France and led the way in halving the Lithuanian corporate income tax".

All sounds thoroughly laudable to me. As to the work of Shikwati's 'do' tank, it dismisses a malaria spraying for profit scheme as the sprayer recruited clients by giving first treatments gratis, and instances a cabbage growing venture that made a loss. Rather grudgingly it does highlight a successful IREN scheme: "[Africa Nazarene University] students then took them to an orphanage, whose dire conditions framed the aid debate in especially urgent terms. The St. Paul’s Children’s Home cares for 50 children, mostly AIDS orphans, in two small rooms, where some sleep three to a bed, and it lacks amenities as basic as running water and electricity. The students are teaching the orphans to recycle Christmas cards. The profits, about $115 so far, have helped pay one boy’s tuition at a private high school, since free education ends after eighth grade".

I will be keeping an eye out for Mr Shikwati in future, but in the meantime I consider that free market economics and liberty work, and are suitable for everyone, not just white people in suits. As I've noted before, the Left is always scandalised by the idea that anyone could do 'good' by pursuing self-interest and - shock, horror - profit, rather than by setting out to achieve 'good' in the first place.
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Blogger Rigger Mortice said... 1:37 pm

I think the left weill be dissappointed when Africans find their own way in life and don't need their patronising help.

they'll have nothing to feel terribly guilty about.Romanian orphanages can't be blamed on white male capitalist colonisers  

Blogger Peter Hitchens said... 3:24 pm

Mr Mortice I agree
leave em alone, black people aren't children they just get treated that way by bleeding heart arseholes and that keeps them in a state of dependency
Cut em loose they are up to the job, they just need to develop naturally as we did.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 3:31 pm


I'd recognise a quote from 'Withnail' several miles off, but can we please keep this civil?

I'm off out shortly and do not want to have to turn on comment moderation, but will do so if I do not get some indication in the next ten or so that peace and harmony have broken out chez Croydonian.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 3:37 pm

Moderation is, regrettably, on for two reasons:

1 - the outbreak of gratuitous language

2 - I strongly suspect that we have an imposter posting.  

Blogger istanbultory said... 4:24 pm

While Verity adopts a rigorous line in her argument and takes no prisoners in her comments, I can't recall her using the word "cunt" before.  

Anonymous verity said... 4:30 pm

You do indeed. Possibly someone who is already a known identity thief.  

Blogger Rigger Mortice said... 6:04 pm

comment moderation is dull.would whoever is impersonating whoever plese stop.it ruins it for us all  

Anonymous Colin said... 6:59 pm


Thank you for your excellent article clearly demonstrating two totally different approaches to help Africans, i.e. the governmental approach of the Left and the free market approach of the traditional conservatives. What is better for Africans?

Scott A. Beaulier, an economist, has extensively studied the economic development in Botswana and he obtained the following Lessons From Botswana:

"Many Westerners think that Africa is hopelessly lost...Botswana, the world’s fastest growing economy for over 30 years, offers important lessons for fostering economic progress throughout the developing world.

Botswana has averaged nearly 7 percent GDP growth per year since it gained independence in 1965. Its recipe for success has been fairly simple: a fiscally conservative policy of low taxes and little government spending. Botswana’s corporate tax rate—15 percent—is the lowest among all sub-Saharan African countries. And its highest marginal tax rate on income is 25 percent. Botswana has maintained a balanced budget throughout most of its post-colonial history and has shown a willingness to cut spending when revenue declines: In 2004, Botswana officials cut government spending by 18 percent in response to a revenue shortfall. Botswana’s relatively cosmopolitan attitude towards foreigners and migration has also kept it politically stable.

Other sub-Saharan African countries could enhance their economies if they adopted Botswana’s recipe for success by lowering taxes, balancing budgets, and becoming more tolerant of trade and foreigners.

Rather than base their policies on the successful development model of Botswana, African nations get policy advice from Westerners that relies on failed economic growth models and the unrelenting flow of aid that never seems to bring any development...

Until recently, I was an American idiot who thought that most of Africa was hopeless...However, what I found when I arrived in Botswana’s capital, Gaborone, were BMWs buzzing by on paved roads. The quality and variety of dining options was outstanding. The water was safe to drink in both the capital and in rural areas. Shopping malls in Gaborone were full of affluent Batswana (the proper name for citizens of Botswana) shopping for designer jeans and the latest Harry Potter book. Even when my team of researchers and I moved to the more rural country away from Gaborone, the overall size and variety of Botswana’s markets greatly exceeded my most optimistic expectations. My stereotypes and fears about Botswana were far off target."

Anonymous Anonymous said... 11:20 am

Hilary Benn was on Morning AM today spouting about how throwing money at Iraq and Addis Abbaba had made huge stepts forward.

Last time I looked both State's were in the midst of particurarly vicious civl wars. You could'nt make it up.

Very hard to prove anything to the Left when they insist on ignoring all facts and realities as a matter of course.  

Anonymous verity said... 2:19 pm

Stamboul Tory - Thank you. There's a apparently a destructive spirit abroad.

Re the point of the post, good for Mr Shikwati. The patronising "help" from Geldoff, Gordon Brown et al does nothing to elevate wellbeing in Africa. Indeed, as others have said, it reduces them to infant, dependent status.

I've long said Britain and Europe must take an axe to the EU agricultural cartel and let African producers in - for the good of everyone. And not in the twee, boutiquey manner of Fair Trade Coffee and similar. Let them try their hand at finding big markets in Britain and Europe (with no role for do-gooders) and develop in their own way. Human beings have the entrepreneurial gene across all races. Some of them will succeed and those that do will inevitably spread the wealth around.

As P J O'Rourke so memorably said, "When the water rises, everyone's boats go up."  

Blogger Croydonian said... 2:30 pm

Colin - thanks for the insight on Botswana. I might also add that it has been a clean democracy since independence.

Verity - Absolutely. We should give Africa access to our markets and give those folk a chance to earn a living, rather than shutting them out and keeping the Wa-Benzi in power over them through the occasional scattering of largesse.  

Anonymous Colin said... 5:59 pm


True: "Britain and Europe must take an axe to the EU agricultural cartel and let African producers in - for the good of everyone."

Well observed and expressed: "And not in the twee, boutiquey manner of Fair Trade Coffee and similar."  

Anonymous Anonymous said... 12:55 am

I'm going to coin a phrase here, as general as it may be:
The Left cares about intentions, The Right cares about results.  

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