2 minute read

I’ve been pondering what I /really/ care about in terms of international development. Why is it that the global community is pouring billions of dollars over the past 50 years into “international development” with such … non-results?

There’s a few easy targets here, of course – corruption of recipient governments/institutions, mindnumbingly bad development decisions to give grants/loans to said govts and institutions, protectionist trade barriers (on the part of the wealthier nations) [1], structural adjustment requirements for loans based on unproven theories, development projects which give more money to Western contractors than the recipient country, and a lot of Big Ego work from major development institutions that presume we can go in and fix things the way they work in the Western world now without realizing the path we took ourselves (attempts at imposing intellectual property law are a great example of this hubris).

Fine. If you can think of a way to get the US and EU to drop agricultural subsidies, or for USAID and the Bretton Woods folk to stop drinking their own kool-aid, that’d be great – but I don’t see that happening any time soon.

Mobile banking security: https://www.nextbillion.net/blogs/2008/03/06/new-report-how-to-make-mobile-phone-banking-securejo

Branchless banking https://www.eldis.org/go/display&type=Document&id=35594

[1] “Free” trade is something that I do believe is important long-term, but forcing a developing nation to drop all trade protection, while the US and EU still have high NTB / subsidy walls around industries where developing nations could compete - like agriculture - is at best counter-productive and at worst plain evil. Creation and then careful, slow reduction of barriers, like South Korea did with their high tech and auto industries, has worked fantastically.