Beyond the Bike

Stories from Stuart and Claire's original & recent journeys….

“Mzungu – Give me Money…” ($138bn please)

With Laure

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…..

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Introducing Dutch Disease (& other development themes!) in Uganda…


Is the discovery of Oil likely to be a blessing or a curse?

We finished our European cycle in Amsterdam, capital of the Netherlands, a city with a rich economic history built around strong trade links over the centuries. One concept famously associated with Europe’s 5th largest economy is the dreaded ‘Dutch Disease’, coined by the Economist newspaper in 1977 to describe the negative impact of the discovery, in 1959, of natural gas reserves on the rest of the economy. I flew from Amsterdam to Uganda and started the African leg of the Economic Cycle in Kampala with a visit to Makerere University. Here I met with two budding economists to discuss whether Dutch disease was a threat to Uganda as well as other challenges for African policy makers….

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Goldigging in Sudan...

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

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