About

WHAT THE BLOG IS ABOUT

This blog is written with the assumption that African Development is an important issue for global stability in both political and market terms. Development itself is a complex process made up of 54 different national narratives that share to a greater of lesser extent a set of crucial themes. Within the various national contexts and within each thematic context multiple dialogues are underway. Out from that Babal, and somehow born of both disagreement and consensus, the way forward emerges. Its direction is the result of intent, circumstance and chance.

The voices taking part in those dialogues are to a great extent African voices. But as a result of the inequalities of history, of economy and of cultural ubiquity the Western response is often the one most clearly heard by the wilder world. Perhaps for the global audience it rings more true, perhaps the emerging Africa is still finding its own true voice.

But the Western voice is shaped by a market dynamic in which the price of being heard is related to the degree to which listeners find the message interesting, agreeable, sensational or titillating. As information flows, it pools and collects were the weight of agreeability or sensationalism have deepened the apatite. Round about, other interpretations are left dry and unheard.

The true state of Africa and the mechanics of African Development often find themselves in this unheard desert. Western democracies don’t operate that efficiently outside of paradigms vetted by this dynamic. Economists and Aid practitioners call the resulting situation Supply Driven. That is that the countries that supply aid, and who are trying to bring Africa into the Global system, make their plans based on what they want for their constituencies rather than what is actually required for the beneficiaries, which is to be Demand Driven. In colloquialism: the tail is wagging the dog.

A Congolese girl is raped by soldiers. NGOs broadcast their abhorrence and raise money. The notoriety of the campaign results in a new battle tactic. In the next battle the order is given and all the girls are raped. The tail is wagging the dog. The soldiers need to be stopped but the more the NGO and its audience understand their participation in the cycle the easier stopping them will be.

I am a Canadian that has lived in Africa since 1984. I am writing this blog which I primarily address to a western audience to try and help create a different perspective and how a westerner might see these processes and these developments were they here to see themselves. I hope I have been around long enough and seen enough to be able look at issues, and describe problems, that connect them more immediately to the human result.

I also write on development strategies and Agricultural strategies because it’s the world I have been living in and I would like to share and contribute.
____________________________________

I have been an observer of the difficulties faced by "the West" to come to grips with African realities for some time along the lines of these two articles written in 1994: Tribalism and
What is a Hutu or Tutsi?