18 July 2009

Mwenda on Obama

Andrew Mwenda, a big critic of aid, the Ugandan government and editor of Uganda's quality news magazine The Independent, is not impressed by Obama's speech. This quote is bang on:
"He thinks that Africa has failed because its leaders – either out of stupidity or bad judgement – made wrong choices. In focusing largely on the personality of individual presidents, Obama misses the incentives that make Africa's rulers make choices that harm/hurt their citizens. From this wrong premise, Obama proceeds, thinking that Africa's rulers can change their ways through moral exhortations."
Of course, leaders can choose to make good decisions, but why should they when all their incentives point them otherwise? The challenge is fixing those incentives.

HT: Blattman

1 comment:

Matt said...

I don't think Obama was saying that the main problem with African leaders was stupidity or bad judgment, but that the leaders were, as Tim Besley would say, "bad" of "incongruous" - not out there to help their average citizen, concerned more with patronage, personal gain and the ego of being the big bwana.

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