George Ayittey has been included in "The Authors of the Week" By the Digital Freedom Network. He is listed among such notables as:
1. Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Nobel Prize winning author, anti-Communist
activist and survivor of Soviet work camps,
2. Bjorn Lomborg, a Danish political scientist, statistician, professor
and former member of the Green movement,
3. Fareed Zakaria, Newsweek International editor,
4. Friedrich Augustus von Hayek, an Austrian economist,
5. Gurcharan Das, author of India Unbound: The Social and Economic
Revolution from Independence to the Global Information Age is a leading
spokesman of the economic revolution India is currently experiencing.
The former CEO of Proctor & Gamble India is now a widely read columnist
for the Times of India, one of the country's leading newspapers, where
he writes about many aspects of Indian life, from the economy to
6. Henry Hazlitt, (1894-1993)
7. Hernando de Soto, the Peruvian economist.
In a number of installments, I will publicize the essays that brought him this distinguished honor. Here is one below.
Africa Needs Tough Love
By George B.N. Ayittey
Wall Street Journal | July 15, 2003
Just before President Bush left for Africa, the U.N. warned that at current rates it would take black Africa 150 years to reach the minimum development targets. Growth rates are negative on a continent littered with collapsed states.
Africa needs help but that help is not measured quantitatively by the size of aid packages or promises. When President Clinton visited Africa in 1998, his caravan was chock-full of promises and new initiatives. By contrast, the Bush trip offered substance and form: a $15 billion Emergency AIDS Relief package, 20% directed at prevention, and a $5 billion Millennium Challenge Account in aid to developing countries that demonstrate results in better governance. President Bush correctly recognized that what Africa needs is straight talk, tough love. Short of recolonization, there's only so much he can do to help unless Africa's leadership is willing to get serious about tackling its innumerable woes.
Africa's begging bowl is punched with holes. What comes in as foreign aid and investment ultimately leaks away. Foreign aid and investment into Africa amount to $18 billion annually. But current accounts are always in deficit and capital flight out of Africa exceeds $15 billion a year. Wars cost $10 billion a year in weapons, damage to infrastructure and social carnage. In 1991 alone, says the U.N., $200 billion was siphoned out of Africa by ruling gangsters and briefcase bandits. For Nigeria, the World Bank estimates that $250 billion flowed into government coffers between 1970-2000, but much of that leaked away. And Zimbabwe's economic collapse had caused more than $37 billion worth of damage to South Africa and neighboring countries. It defies common sense to pour more water into a leaky bucket. But African leaders are simply not interested in plugging the holes.
On his trip, President Bush correctly resisted calls for the insertion of U.S. troops in Liberia. The U.S. can help with the provision of military transport to West African forces. And Secretary of State Colin Powell has stated clearly that southern African leaders must do more to resolve the crisis in Zimbabwe. Such straight talk has already started producing some results.
Two days before Mr. Bush left Africa, the Economic Community of West African States announced it will take the immediate leading role of sending into Liberia a force of 1,000-1,500. What took them so long? Equally important was Kofi Annan's statement at the African Union's summit in Mozambique: "The U.N. and the rest of the international community can appoint envoys, urge negotiations and spend billions of dollars on peacekeeping missions, but none of this will solve conflicts, if the political will and capacity do not exist here, in Africa."
However, far more was achieved by President Bush on AIDS than can be measured in dollar terms. When the epidemic first erupted, African leaders were in denial. Many were reluctant to talk publicly about the disease and prevention. Only a few countries have made serious efforts to confront AIDS: Senegal, Ghana and Uganda. Most disappointing has been the failure of South Africa to provide leadership in the campaign against AIDS -- despite its 10% infection rate and its first-rate health-care systems.
President Bush's straight talk on AIDS will prompt African leaders to speak more openly about the pandemic. But just as Africa takes one step forward, it takes three giant steps back. On July 11, a day before President Bush left for the U.S., Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe was elected the new African Union vice-chairman. Imagine! Now, it will take Africa more than 200 years to attain minimum indices of development. And President Bush cannot be blamed for that.
Mr. Ayittey, professor of economics at A