Sunday, April 18, 2010

Africa Reboots: Forces rally against poor governance

Dearest readers,

I ran across a great article: Africa Reboots, by, of all people BONO.

It stresses the idea that two forces, normally opposing, are rallying around poor governance and weak institutions. Both feel that they suffer from corruption and that weak states negatively effect their respective flocks.

I think this is an interesting and valid point of view. I do, however, think that at least the corporate interests have created much of this problem. Bribing from the low to the high becomes the norm, when all parties allow it to occur. Cops don't become corrupt by themselves. Neither do presidents, ministers or anyone else.

"Entrepreneurs know that even a good relationship with a bad government stymies foreign investment; civil society knows a resource-rich country can have more rather than fewer problems, unless corruption is tackled." This is a pretty accurate description.

So, can civil society and business unite? Can these two forces push governments to be more accountable, less corrupt and to think of the bigger picture?

Some interesting figures were introduced in the article, described by Bono:

John Githongo, Kenya’s famous whistleblower, started a group called Inuka.

DJ Rowbow: His station, Ghetto Radio, was a voice of reason when the volcano of ethnic tension was exploding in Kenya in 2008.

Youssou N’Dourmusician in Senegal who best exemplified the new rules. Maybe the greatest singer on earth — owns a newspaper and is in the middle of a complicated deal to buy a TV station.

Luisa Diogo, the country’s former prime minister, who is now the matriarch in this mesmerizing stretch of eastern Africa, leads Activa, a women’s group that, among other things, helps entrepreneurs get seed capital.

Mo Ibrahim, a Sudanese entrepreneur who made a fortune in mobile phones.

On another note, President Goodluck Jonathan seems to have his thoughts together on his interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour this past week. I think his statements about political opponents 'let them come! anyone who wants to, can come!' is an excellent attempt to undermine opposition--if you seem like they can't ruffle your feathers, that President Jonathan has nothing to fear--is more effective than just bluster and criticism.

I read a few articles analyzing the interview, but I think it's worth watching in its own right.

Hope all is well with you.

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