Wednesday, August 10, 2005

More sweatshops please

As news of the famine in Niger emerges, some African economists are blaming foreign aid for the problems, or at least for the lack of incentive to solve the problems that are evident.

"When aid money keeps coming, all our policy-makers do is strategize on how to get more," said [James Shikwati] the Kenya-based director of the Inter Region Economic Network, an African think tank.

"They forget about getting their own people working to solve these very basic problems. In Africa, we look to outsiders to solve our problems, making the victim not take responsibility to change."

Moving the aid can be nightmare in itself. Africa's good roads are few, and often pass through the front lines of civil wars. But Shikwati notes an additional problem: Even African countries that have food to spare can't easily share it because tariffs on agricultural products within sub-Saharan Africa average as high as 33 percent, compared with 12 percent on similar products imported from Europe.

"It doesn't make sense when they can't even allow their neighbors to feed them. They have to wait for others in Europe or Asia to help," he said. "We don't have any excuses in Africa. We can't blame nature. We have to tell our leadership to open up and get people producing food."

Meanwhile Arnold Kling at Econlog suggests what the third world needs is more sweatshops. He's a few weeks behind. :-)

[Hat tip Stephen Hicks.]

1 Comments:

Anonymous Ruth said...

I'm pleased Shikwati seems to be getting some traction. Don Luskin has linked him in the past as well.

8/10/2005 11:58:00 am  

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