Speak of the Devil!

In Governance, International Development, Technology on November 27, 2006 at 1:50 am

A couple of things that I’ve noticed since my last post below.

First – I came across this article about the Ibrahim Award. Mr. Ibrahim made millions, supposedly honestly – according to the Time article – developing the mobile phone market in Africa. He has created a foundation that would give a huge award, like $2 million, to African leaders who embody honesty and good governance, to be followed by $200,000/year for life, more if they commit to and run a good governance NGO or non-profit.

The authors make a good point – in the US, ex-politicians can make lots of money on the speaker circuit, in addition to the lifetime pension and medical care they receive – African leaders get nothing. This is an incentive to stay in power forever, or to steal their retirement fund from government coffers. I seem to remember Boston University, or some other university in the Boston area, hiring the ex-Zambian president, kind of as a reward for giving up power peacefully.

A hard-core blogger would instantly check this out, but I’ve got opinions, not too much time.

Second – Niger’s getting hooked up to the global Fiber Optics Network. This is great news for Niger and great evidence that high-tech companies of the developed world see value in helping develop African infrastructure. This will most definitely help Niger – they were already on their way to more widespread mobile phone use. The fiber optics can help connect Niger and it’s neighbors to each other and the rest of the world.


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