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May 30, 2006

To Understand Africa, Is To Understand Its Culture

Topics: Africa

A. Nany Moose posted an important comment that helps explain much about Africa, and which I did not pay enough attention to in my series on Mortacracies, most of which are in Africa. Because of its importance, and as a way of indexing it for search engines, I include it here.

Moose wrote:

Culture accounts for so much when we consider the problems of contemporary Africa. I was intrigued by this comment from Friday's blog:
"What evidence is there that any sort of humanitarian aid will ever do any good in Africa? If you read books like Michael Maren's 'The Road To Hell,' it becomes clear that it's no use giving a man a fish or even teaching him to catch them if his fish are merely going to be taken away by the next gunman to come along."

This comment made me think of a story told by friends who recently visited Africa. They stayed with an American couple who own a successful chicken farm in Zimbabwe. Most of the farm staff are tribal folk, and the American couple have, on several occasions, tried to set up the more promising staff members in their own chicken farming businesses. On these occasions they offered space for the chicken coops and runs at nominal cost, provided chickens on loan, and taught the staff members standard business practices. In every case the operations were successful--they became profitable nearly immediately, and everyone was delighted for a short while. Nevertheless, the new chicken farming entrepreneurs invariably failed within a year or two.

(Continued here)

Posted by Rudy at May 30, 2006 10:01 PM

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