Tag Archives: gates

Business — the best way to help Africa?

I’ve had a heart for Africa for some time.  One of our World Vision sponsor children is from Kenya.  We’ve been writing Dennis for 10 years and I’ve been able to visit with him three times on mission trips there.  My wife and I are planning to go to Kenya on another mission trip in 2010 (this will be her first trip, so we’re excited about that).  We’ve found very effective ministries there and seen firsthand how far money goes in helping the poorest of the poor and how the hospital we support provides excellent care to people who would otherwise have none.

But even though I have no intention of backing off our personal commitments there, I agreed with the findings of The Business of Africa (Forbes.com).  If you aren’t careful with charitable endeavors you can do more harm than good.  Of course you want to help people today, but without good foresight and wisdom you may be hurting countless people tomorrow.  The Law of Unintended Consequences can be brutal.  In many areas these good intentions have just institutionalized poverty. 

I encourage you to read the whole thing, but here are some snippets:

$2 trillion (in today’s dollars) has been transferred from rich countries to poor ones over 50 years, with most of that going to Africa. The U.S. has spent $300 billion on Africa since 1970. The result: GDP per capita in Moyo’s home country of Zambia is under $500, less than it was in 1960. The most heavily aid-dependent countries, she writes, have negative or flat annual growth over the last 30 years. Moyo proposes that Africa be weaned off all aid in five years so that its economies can fend for themselves.

They propose that the U.S. government make direct loans to businesses and then direct the repayments of principal to host governments for use in building roads, electric grids, schools and the like. This was how the Marshall Plan rebuilt Europe after the war.

There are 1.4 billion people living on less than $500 a year–what the World Bank classifies as extreme poverty. It would cost $700 billion to double their incomes, assuming that all of that money would even get to the recipients. At $1,000 a year, the recipients would still be poor, and we’d have spent seven times the world’s current aid budget (and given the state of the global economy, richer nations are more likely to cut back at the moment).

In the original Marshall Plan, which cost just $115 billion in today’s dollars, the U.S. gathered all of the willing European nations and set up country-specific Economic Cooperation Administrations. These councils were granted money by the U.S. and operated as development banks. They loaned money to businesses that met with the board’s approval. Each ECA was made up of appointed business leaders from the U.S. and Europe. As the loans were paid back, the money was turned over to the government, which then used the money to build highways, phone lines and a regulatory apparatus for the business community.

Of course, a lot of African leaders will oppose the plan or refuse to go along. The original Marshall Plan offered assistance to the Soviet Union and Eastern bloc countries, but they declined. In the case of Africa, regimes have been propped up by the abundance of aid flows.

“To some leaders the system isn’t broken,” Duggan says. “They get their cut of the aid dollars, the big house, the Mercedes and the trips to Europe, so what’s the problem?”

Moyo writes about an African manufacturer of mosquito nets being put out of business by a charitable antimalaria campaign that gave away nets for free. Hubbard says that there will always be a need for charity and a human drive to give food and money to those who lack them. He’d like to see charity look more in Africa the way it does in America, where charities give to the poor but aren’t the first or only solution.

I encourage people to give generously and with discernment while at the same time promoting government policies that will have real and lasting differences to countless people.


Welcome to visitors from The Other McCain!  This post is just one of my (sort of) weekly summaries of great links.  Please browse around the other recent posts or categories and see if this spot is to your liking (or disliking).

Great fact-filled piece by Ann Coulter about the Professor Gates affair

Senate drops “death panel” provision — you know, the death panel that didn’t exist.

Barack, I know Abe Lincoln, and you ain’t Abe Lincoln

Another one of President Obama’s deceptions about his plans for abortion funding.  Here’s part of what he said two years ago:

Obama responded quite clearly he planned for abortion not only to be part of taxpayer-funded health care but also forcibly covered by private insurers. He added he thought it “important” for the United States’ largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, to be part of his plan.

“Well, look, in my mind reproductive care is essential care. It is basic care. And so it is at the center and at the heart of the plan that I propose. Essentially … we’re gonna set up a public plan … that will provide all essential services, including reproductive services.We also will subsidize those who prefer to stay in the private insurance market – except the insurers are going to have to abide by the same rules in terms of providing comprehensive care, including reproductive care.”

William Dembski answers the top 3 objections to intelligent design

The MP3 file is here.

Here are the objections he addressed:

  1. Just because something is unlikely doesn’t mean that it was designed because improbable things occur all the time.
  2. You can’t infer design if the object is sub-optimally designed, or exhibits evil
  3. But intelligent design is just re-packaged creationism


Must see: Cambridge cop says she won’t vote for Obama again after Gatesgate

If you’re looking for postracial America, you’ve found it.

Also, has anyone else heard much about Gates’ upcoming PBS special about race in America?  I’m not much for conspiracy theories, but does anyone else wonder if he might have provoked this a bit or milked it for see free publicity?

Make sure your kids aren’t by your PC when you click on this ==> No Nudity Crackdown in San Francisco – Police Again Allow Rampant Public Nudity, Sex Acts at Deviant ‘Up Your Alley’ Street Fair — That is, of course, unless you are one of the commenters defending the attendance of children at those swell gay pride events.  After all, you know the truth that people who object to things shown in the link are just bigoted homophobes who don’t realize how healthy it is for children to see such things.

Good quote on the global climate change stuff:

Sharp Americans are starting to understand H.L. Mencken’s observation that “The urge to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it.”