Dead Aid Debate II: Interview with Moyo

Radio journalist Dave Lucas sent me this link to an interview with Dembisa Moyo in where she gets to explain her argument. She is well-spoken and lays out her arguments clearly. A man from Nigeria also voices his critique against the book and interestingly also talks about how to reverse the brain-drain out of Africa which I have touched on in these posts. Moyo then replies to the critique.

The interview is a 12 minutes I recommend to everyone interested in the aid-debate.

Dead Aid Debate

Surfed into Guernica Magazine ( a wonderful web based magazine on art and politics!) and saw this interview with writer and economist Dembisa Moyo.

Moyo has recently written a book, "Dead Aid". Her agument is that aid dependence is doing more to hurt than to help Africa. And that aid is being sustained not because there is evidence of progress, but because of the 500 000 people who work in the "aid industry".

At the same time African governments are not taxing their people and hence people also expect little of them. Opaquness rather than transparancy, corruption rather than efficiencly describes governance in Africa.

Some people, like her teacher at Oxford and Harvard
Paul Collier, feel she is mostly correct and that her wishes of slashed aid will come true because of the current economic downturn.

Others like writer Madeleine Bunting thinks Moyo's liberalist views are poorly underpinned and wonders what will happen to the poorest people, like the HIV infected, if aid is terminated.

The other day I met a fellow who works with the Millenium Challenge initiative to build roads and make agriculture more efficient in Ghana. A project costing USD 547 million. Some of the projcts he described, like facilitating the supply of vegetables to Accra and the harbor in Tema, is something I have never heard the Ghanaian government(s) suggest.

Then the question is why, is it because someone else is already doing it?

The Perfect Picture : Film Review

So I have now been to see the wholly Ghanaian produced film, The Perfect Picture, I wrote about earlier here.

Shirley Frimpong-Mansu is the super-woman behind script, directions, casting and editing. And it was perfect! I went with my husband and some friends and we all had our laughs and loved the high audiovisual well as the story line. Three good friends - so good you wish you were one of them - are looking for love. One gets married in the opening scene, one is a man-eater and the last one says she will never marry. Here the intrigues start.

The film held a high tempo and included a entertaining and believable characters, references to daily life in Ghana "you make it sound like I could just go and pick up a baby at Koala!" (Koala supermarket being a popular supermarket in Accra) or "I'm not a fan of weddings, but you my friend make it worth every pesewa!" (pesewa being the Ghanaian equivalent to cent, penny or öre) and even a fun, feminist take on car chase.

The film also contained obvious product placements that were acceptable only because we have never seen Ghanaian ones before. For instance, one can only feel excitement when the three friends even went to see a film in the same cinema complex we were watching them in!

And then sex. Appearantly, the film set itself apart from all other Ghanaian productions EVER when it showed a kiss on the lips between the newlyweds in the first scene. After that, we got both scenes from different bedrooms (see the trailer above) as well as "sex-and-the-city"-kind of girlfriend talk on the topic. I think the Ghanaian audience was shocked at times (even though the scenes never really went beyond regular Hollywood steam) and at one point a woman sitting close to me in the dark exclaimed:
Oh, will we watch just kiss-kiss-kiss?

Guest Blogger: Voting Experience in South Africa

To highlight this week's election in South Africa, I have decided to let a South African citizen share a voting experience here on my blog, the text is borrowed from The Good News South Africa, an interesting initiative that I have been thinking about copying for Ghana. So this is what happened in South Africa the other day:

Early yesterday morning I took my coffee out on my balcony, and bristled against the chill. It's suddenly winter in Johannesburg; the trees are all amber, the sun is weaker and that white-blue light has found the horizon. This change in seasons caught me off guard, just like the national elections. I felt unprepared, I felt like I needed more time. As a journalist you would imagine that I'd have my ducks in a row by now; I'm well informed on party policy, events and personalities, but never has this experience been personal, and what could be more personal than deciding the future leaders of my country? So I sat, as a South African, deciding on who should get my vote.

I made a decision to walk this time. The idea came to me as the first sound bites from polling stations around the country started coming in on my radio. My polling station is seven kilometres from my home, so I put on my best walking shoes, placed my Yankees cap on my head, filled a bottle of water, pocketed my iPod and started trapping.

For two hours I wandered through the leafy streets of Johannesburg, greeted friendly folk and stopped to have a cigarette with a newspaper vendor; this is the only place in the world that I want to be right now. There is no vibe like this anywhere else, of that I'm certain.

Instead of thinking about who, I spent most of the frosty morning interrogating the reasons why I should vote. I appreciated that I had a right to vote, but I also had a right not to vote. What I saw was that underpinning my rights, is a responsibility. I am responsible for the leaders I choose, and I have a responsibility to be a participant in this democracy that was so hard fought for and won.

I queued for an hour and twenty minutes to cast my ballot, and as I left the polling station, my mark made, I turned back toward home thinking on the future of my motherland, and my part to play in it.

The election was, as expected won by the ANC, however, not with the same huge marginal as last time.

Picture from a trip I made to the beautiful South Africa in 2005.

Socialist Sweden part 2 incl. IKEA and ABBA

In this next episode, a socialdemocratic MP (also a former minister) is asked to apologize for the socialism he has been a part of creating. IKEA, ABBA and some surprised Swedish blondes also are used to explain the awful word s-o-c-i-a-l-i-s-m.It doesnt go too well...

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
The Stockholm Syndrome Pt. 2
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic CrisisPolitical Humor

Yngvild, don't believe in everything you hear on The DailyShow.

Socialist Sweden

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
The Stockholm Syndrome
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic CrisisPolitical Humor
Ok, now I owe two blog posts in a row to my friend Sarah, you need to have your own blog so I can link to you!

Here is anyways a hilarious clip describing my horrible HORRIBLE home country - the socialist nightmare (for the US), I give you Sweden.

Return to Ghana

Bronx Princess Trailer from Yoni Brook on Vimeo.

So, I have been back in Ghana for a few days and already experienced horrible traffic, ants crawling on me in my bed and power black-out(s) - as well as a lovely high-life concert, seeing friends and eating a lot of sweet-tasting tropical fruit(s).

Sometimes, especially when outside of Ghana, it is difficult to believe that I acctually do live here. It is hard to explain how life in Ghana is like, it is hard to remember what the heat feels like, what it means to be a foreigner here, how much one can miss foods and items just because they are not available. How wonderful it is to greet your wide-smiling neighbor.

I got a tip today about a documentary film, The Bronx Princess, about a girl in the US who goes to see her father The Chief in Ghana over the summer after graduation. The trailers available (I posted both above) look really promising, I wish I could see it (lucky people in Sweden can see the whole documentary here).

Without even knowing what the documentary is like, I am guessing it will be hard for the Bronx Princess to choose where to live when her summer comes to an end and how to explain her time in Ghana to people who havent been here yet.

ps. I love the music sung by Akua Taylor in the trailers. Ghana's next international star?

I'm Back!

Here's some photograpic evidence of that I am now back in Ghana.

Pic taken yesterday on our terrace, wildly growing garden in back. Husband had prepared a good fish stew with boiled plantain. I had put on my beautiful print dress and pulled out a plastic chair.

So, yeah, I'm back in Ghana and I'm back on the blog.

Water Problems in Ghana

Sitting here in efficient Sweden and reading about the things that grinds on my blogger friends' nerves, like water shortages. How can a country like Ghana, with so much water fail to provide its citizens with this important service?

When my husband and I moved into our first home in Ghana's harbor city Tema, one of the first things we bought were buckets to store water in for the days when the tap doesn't flow. Later I have come to understand that that is most days for those who live in Accra. How the capital can be worse equipped than other cities is another question for the leaders of the green country I now call home.

As it is now, entrepreneurs charge poor people large shares of their daily earnings for small bucket fulls of water. It should be the Government's highest priority to solve this problem, to make sure clean and safe water is provided to all.

Accra's serious water problems have been reported again and again, but nothing seems to change. Abena writes that there has been no water for a week. I don't want to think about what can happen when the distribution fails for more than a week...

In the pic, an empty swimming pool.
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