via Spiegel via Marc Andressen
The Kenyan economics expert James Shikwati, 35, says that aid to Africa does more harm than good.
Shikwati: Why do we get these mountains of clothes? No one is freezing here. Instead, our tailors lose their livelihoods. They're in the same position as our farmers. No one in the low-wage world of Africa can be cost-efficient enough to keep pace with donated products. In 1997, 137,000 workers were employed in Nigeria's textile industry. By 2003, the figure had dropped to 57,000. The results are the same in all other areas where overwhelming helpfulness and fragile African markets collide.
This hit me like a pound of diamonds. We're destroying African markets with free crap. Let's build factories there instead- and then the people get the benefits of the infrastructure the factories require. Again, it's not that aid to Africa is bad, it's just that what we give them makes their economies worse. Ooops.