TED Global 2007 Musings: Session 1

My random musings….

- Euvin Naidoo: Good start…during his talk I was basically thinking -damn he has his speech memorized…I haven’t even finished my slides…I need to get my shit together. I’m also thinking all the stats he is citing about investing in Africa are great, but wouldn’t it be great to have a one-stop shop website or something where you can access stats and info about investing in individual African countries. I thought the Investment Climate Facility was supposed to be doing that, but it appears that they are focused on other things. Niche blog opportunity anyone?

- Andrew Mwenda: His talk ends of framing the debate at TED. Trade vs. aid (does it have to be versus?). Just as it’s easing to throw stones at Bono, it’s easy to throw stones at the aid proponents by pointing to the millions who will die without humanitarian aid. As others later argue, the debate is not that simple and Andrew makes the critical point that he is not opposed to all aid, just what Hash terms elsewhere “bad” aid. I think not enough of the analysis Andrew does exists – looking at the hard numbers and seeing just how aid props up non-performing governments. In my opinion, bad aid leads not just to the EMASCULATION of governments, but also of citizens. As long as bad aid is filling the gap, citizens do not feel compelled to press their governments (painful as the process may be) to implement better policies and be accountable. Governments also have no incentive to be creative and look for alternative revenue sources. It’s not rocket science really. What annoys me about the Bono/Sachs brigade is that they get so much airtime, whereas AFRICANS who are offering alternatives are not sitting (or even getting invited) at the table…isn’t it crazy, for example, that out of all the phenomenal African speakers at TED only Bono and Ngozi (by virtue of her previous position) have had the opportunity to speak for Africa at venues like the G8?

- Carol Pineau: Why did a non-African have to be the one to make this movie? I’m just saying… Hash, maybe we can have Afri-gadget the movie?

- Andrew Dosunmu: Wow! I had no habari about this guy. I just love his images…Africa like you rarely see it, people loving, living, enjoying, just being.

- Of course, it was followed by a presentation on how Google Earth is being used to highlight the crisis in Darfur. Important issue to be sure and I’m sure it wasn’t planned this way, I just thought it was so ironic that positive images were immediately neutralized by jarring images of Darfur.

More thoughts to come…

4 comments to TED Global 2007 Musings: Session 1

  • Ory:

    Great Points. By the way I saw you in the BBC Focus on Africa magazine last week and wanted to give you my congrats!

    As far as trade and aid goes, I think that what you are saying is really true. But without the structural policy to guide and support both trade and aid-both may tend to fall short of the needs of the broader populations of Africa’s growing economies.

    On the onestop shop-thats a great idea…
    Also, I’d love to see Hash do an Afrigadget video too!

  • Ory! I JUST caught this quote from you:

    - Carol Pineau: Why did a non-African have to be the one to make this movie? I’m just saying… Hash, maybe we can have Afri-gadget the movie?

    I’m with you on that… I’m now going to add it to my list of changes for AfriGadget. That’s brilliant!

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