Ghana, meet Obama

ghanaobama

It’s very likely that if you follow this blog (or if you, y’know, read) you’ll have heard about Obama’s speech in Ghana. You can read the full transcript here on the New York Times website. I might find time for my own comments later (in short I was pleased, it’s nice to hear a Western politician say “fix yourself” for a change – although it is just a speech).

In the meantime you should check out Chris Blattman and Bill Easterly’s respective gradings of the Obama speech, here and here.

3 thoughts on “Ghana, meet Obama

  1. Ranil Dissanayake

    July 14, 2009 at 8:02am

    Collier’s take on it: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jul/14/aid-obama-africa-accountants

    Interesting that Easterly picks up on the ownership aspect (basically that the most important changes should be domestically driven), while Collier focuses on the Governance issues.

    personally I think Collier’s blog is weak. He seems to be saying that if you fix the Governance issue, development will follow, or at least the West’s interest is reduced. Based on what? Africa’s main problems are not all of its own making (centuries of under-development brought on by slaving and depopulating the continent were not only driven by Africans though they definitely participated); though the solutions are probably still going to be primarily domestic. Africa is playing catch up for extremely complex reasons, and focusing narrowly on one aspect won’t help. Even if they fix governance, the problems remain complex and may require innovative solutions; these solutions may not depend on good governance or even benefit from it; after all plenty of countries developed with corrupt and unfair institutions elsewhere, didn’t they?

  2. Ranil Dissanayake

    July 14, 2009 at 8:10am

    post-script: just read blattman’s blog on this. Easily the best piece of the three.

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