Jul 09 2007

Sachs fixes World Bank

Category: Uncategorized<ADMINNICENAME> @ 12:43 AM

In a new essay in Fortune magazine, activist-economist-and-Africa-saving Jeffrey Sachs advises the new president of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, on how to handle Africa, which as the poorest region of the planet is allegedly the bank’s top priority. Sachs tells the bank to encourage two goals that I have often written about: raising food production by African farmers, and increasing electricity output through the sub-Saharan region. Sachs adds two other goals to his list of four: eradicating malaria and financing roads and railways. All four of these goals are terrific, though Sachs offers scant ideas — and no new ones — on how to either fund or manage the campaigns to achieve these goals. In my New York Times profile on the Aga Khan, who invests often in Africa, I describe one new power project — the $750 million hydro-system at Bujagali Falls on the Nile River. Sachs might draw some lessons from the Aga Khan’s experience in Africa. The Columbia University economist does justice to the potential of electrification in Africa — and the miserable failure of most African countries to master this hoary technology. “Rather than helping countries ship their oil abroad and then remain dependent on wood for energy,” Sachs writes in the June 9 issue of Fortune, “the [World] bank should be helping Africa develop its hydrocarbons to support regional power grids.”

Amen.


Jul 08 2007

Islam and Development in Africa

Category: Uncategorized<ADMINNICENAME> @ 6:54 PM

In today’s New York Times, I published feature article, “Do Business and Islam Mix?” in which I report on the leader of the Islamic Ismaili sect and his long engagement with African business, society and culture. As I write, the reason to look closely at the business activities of the Aga Khan is that “economic developments experts say the Aga Khan’s activities offer a useful template for others — including philanthropists like Bill Gates and George Soros — who are trying to assist the world’s poorest by marrying business practices to social goals, but whose foundation work usually stops short of owning businesses outright in poor countries.”


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