Sunday, November 24, 2013

The problems of Africa...

 One of the development hurdles for the giant continent is to find ways to exploit natural resources and actually help their own citizens. Stuff like this shows that is hard to do:
In Kinshasa, Presidents Zuma and Kabila signed a treaty to jointly develop the $80 billion Grand Inga hydropower project. When complete, the dam will generate 40,000 Megawatts which is more than twice the amount of power produced by China’s Three Gorges Dam.DR Congo currently has an installed capacity of 2,400MW but only produces about half of that due to ageing and poorly maintained infrastructure; only about one in 10 of the 70 million people of Congo has access to electricity.Most of the power produced out of Inga will, however, be exported — to South Africa, other countries in the region, and possibly as far north as Europe. [More]

So this new electricity source will benefit SA and Europe - color me surprised. Undoubtedly as well, in the process of contracting and construction more than a little of the enormous sum will find its way into Swiss bank accounts or simply be squandered by anyone involved - it is the single most persistent attribute of African projects. 

But my objection is there seems to be no effort to find ways to promote economic development of a black middle class, only redistribution by governments to a permanent underclass of some portion of the profits of public investment. Not that I have any brilliant ideas myself, but efforts like this will not bring many positive results in ordinary citizen lives. 

And yes, that goes for every big ag development project I have seen too.

The Resource Curse is substantiated once again.

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