Browsing articles from "July, 2010"
Jul 27, 2010
Center for Democracy and Civil Society

Unsolicited advice

I haven’t been able to follow the news much the past few weeks, but I did hear about the leak of classified reports stating the war in Afghanistan is going much worse than the Obama administration has publicly suggested. My first thought was “duh!” My second thought was that the administration might ¬†want to remember that “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.” Just saying.

Jul 25, 2010
Center for Democracy and Civil Society

Democracy in Africa

The Economist’s analysis sounds right to me. Vote rigging is pretty common in African elections, but that is not surprising in nascent/quasi-democracies. What seems more important is that Africans, by and large, see democracy as the only legitimate form of government. Even though the practice of democracy often falls short on the continent, it is more common for people to criticise the leaders of their country than their form of government. This was pretty much what I heard at the local government conference I attended in Zambia this week as well in Chatsworth last week. At the end of the day, I agree with The Economist’s optimism.

Jul 24, 2010
Center for Democracy and Civil Society

Method-driven policy

Just because one can’t measure the impact of a program is not a sufficient reason to end it.

Jul 24, 2010
Center for Democracy and Civil Society

Why develop rural Africa?

Northern Zambia doesn’t have a lot of people. The towns are small, and few and far in between. The land is not good for farming, in general, either. Nevertheless, foreign aid donors are spending lots of money in trying to “develop” the region. One thought that crossed my mind while I was there last week was whether this is a good use of resources. Like the rest of Africa, Zambia has been urbanizing rapidly and I doubt that there will be many people left in rural parts of northern Zambia in 20 or 30 years. So why are donors spending money there? At best, it is simply slowing urbanization. Wouldn’t it be more reasonable to accept the inevitable and pull aid from parts of Africa where people are leaving and putting more into where they are going?

Jul 24, 2010
Center for Democracy and Civil Society

Back from the bush

I haven’t been able to post recently as I spent much of this week in rural northern Zambia and did not have very good internet access. The most bizarre part of the week was the night I spent at Shiwa Ngandu. It’s in a very remote location, near the border of Tanzania and Zambia. About a hundred years ago, an eccentric Brit, Stewart Gore-Browne had the crazy idea of building an English country estate in this remote part of Africa. It took him about 30 years to build it and the renovations have been constant since. I haven’t read The Africa House, the history of the estate, but I will as soon as I can get my hands on it.

Founded in 2004, Democracy and Society is a biannual print journal published by the Center for Democracy and Civil Society at Georgetown University. The D&S Blog provides web-only content, including special reports and investigative series, on issues relating to democracy and development.

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