How to help Africa in ten easy lessons


The Financial Times today shows why it has surged five places aheadof the New York Times, in rankings of the world's greatest newspapers. Maybe more accurately, the New York Times has surged five places behind. Whatever.

Michael Holman and Andrew Rugasira write

Africa needs more financial aid like an alcoholic needs a stiff whisky. Instead of Tony Blair, the British prime minister, and his Group of Eight colleagues providing more cash in Gleneagles, here are 10 ways to help Africa help itself that will cost little or nothing.

They follow with ten suggestions that are so bluntly sensible that no NYT editor would ever consider running them.

Regrettably, only subscribers can read the entire piece. Here are the ten ideas they explain:

1. Encourage ideas.

2. Charge for professionals' visas.

3. Require the use of more cocoa before chocolate can be called chocolate.

4. Promote Africa's music.

5. Encourage better marketing and packaging of Africa's products.

6. Make foreign non—governmental organisations competitive.

7. Enlist the private sector in build—operate—transfer infrastructure projects.

8. Make aid conditional on improving the business climate.

9. Abolish taxes on computer imports. Privatisation, deregulation, a strong private sector and democracy

10. Introduce a fair tax on coffee and encourage a fair return to growers.

Hat tip: Ed Lasky

Thomas Lifson   7 6 05

Clarice Feldman adds:

To your list I'd add dropping farm subsidies in the First World countries——and voila, that is just what the President did (bless him):

George Bush has thrown down a challenge to Europe on the eve of the Group of Eight meeting in Scotland: he will drop huge US farm subsidies to help Africa out of poverty if the European Union promises to do likewise.