Thoughts on locally-driven development in Africa

The question of whether foreign aid is good for the African continent has seen a renewed level of interest as of late. Hotly debated in a number of new studies and books; it is the subject of a frenzy of discussions on twitter; and deeply contested by development professionals throughout the blogosphere.

In this video from March 2013, Andrew Rugasira, CEO of Good African coffee offers a a thought-provoking perspective on the realities of foreign aid, the ways in which it might actually hinder development rather than promote it; and discusses a viable alternative (trade) that could propel Africa’s economy into the future. The video continues to circulate the internet, developing a significant following at a time when the question of aid could not be more relevant or more pertinent.

I’ve long shared the perspective that aid for Africa should be on its way out. Andrew Rugasira, founder of Uganda’s Good African Coffee, does a great job of laying the case why trade should be the new norm instead of continued reliance on aid. Establishing this practice of trade that many of us advocate for, is not easy. It is one thing for an international company to come in and establish extortive industries, (designed to benefit them as opposed to local communities), and another for African-driven initiatives attempting to create socially-consious enterprises (designed to benefit local communities).

Read the complete article at TMS Ruge.


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