Beyond the Bike
Guilin, a premier tourist destination in Southern China has enjoyed double digit growth in the last 10 years. Chic residential tower block developments with exotic western names have sprouted up amongst the ancient limestone karst scenery, fuelled by cheap credit from China’s banks. We cycle into town on a drizzly mid-week May day along empty multi-lane highways. Cranes tower above nearly finished developments, with Starbucks and KFC advertising pathways to future obesity on the ground floor. But there is a eerie silence, exacerbated by the mist and spectacular scenery. The cranes are not working and many of the finished developments are empty….
Supply has exceeded demand in new residential development…
Should the UK (& other nations) be spending 0.7% of GNI on AID?
As I highlighted in my last blog, the aid debate is probably the most contentious issue surrounding Africa development, highlighted by the recent spat between Bill Gates and Dambisya Moyo. Since then, we’ve travelled through Rwanda into the DRC and are now in Tanzania. All three countries have been recipients of vast sums of overseas aid and I’ve met and spoken with many stakeholders, including several people asking me for money - “Mzungu - give me muni’ is the usual catchphrase that I’ve been trying to ignore. On a macro level, meanwhile, the UK has been leading the way in meeting the UN commitment for countries to spend 0.7% of their gross national income (GNI) on official development assistance (ODA). In the UK, the majority of this money is spent by DfID, the Department for International Development and we were lucky to be hosted by its Rwanda chief, the impressive Laure Beaufils and her lovely family in Kigali…..
Faisal sells ful (Arabic equivalent of baked beans on toast) & chaai (tea) in a windswept shack on the side of the desert road in northern Sudan. In his spare time he digs in the local area for gold…
Faisal with his latest find
"Mzungu, show me the muni!" is the constant request from kids that have greeted me on the side on the road in Malawi. Three questions spring to mind from these experiences: 1) Have all the kids been watching too much Jerry Maguire 2) What is money and what is its primary function in this part of the world? 3) Would giving the kids or anyone here money help them?