June 09, 2008

White Man's ideas

Last week's editorial in Science puts forward a couple of ideas for Africa. The authors, Calestous Juma and Elisabeth Moyer, are not white men but reason like the legendary ones whose not-so-brilliant ideas have helped Africa become the not-so-prosperous continent that it is.

Juma and Moyer want "to bring affordable [Internet] connectivity to Africa in general, and to its universities in particular."
[L]ow-cost university access should be secured by making subsidized rates for universities a condition of any license granted to new cable operators.
This, while being good for universities, would result in less "affordable connectivity" to Africa in general.
[H]elping to underwrite the costs of infrastructure should be a central goal of international development cooperation.
This will be as successful as previous "central goals of international development cooperation" have been.

Juma and Moyer address their pleas to next month's G8 summit. Instead I would ask the G8 to let the citizens of rich countries buy African products and hire African workers without the hindrance of tariffs and immigration barriers.

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