I was among a group of bloggers invited to participate in a conference call with Bob Geldof to discuss his new African aid initiative Live8. Because I was in New York and missed the email (don’t ask!), I wasn’t part of this dialogue; but I don’t think I would have had much to add. Although I know the situation in Africa is disastrous, my specific knowledge in woefully inadequate.
Of course, I support what Mr. Geldof is doing, just as I support efforts by the G8 to improve the situation. But I wonder how successful they will be because in Africa there is always an elephant in the room (figuratively and literally) – political despotism. It’s no accident that much of the Oil-for-Food corruption emanated from Nigeria, just as it’s not entirely unrelated that genocide is occurring in Darfur. Charity is at best a patchwork answer to this and at worst another siphon for corruption. I suspect without putting an interrupt in these systems, nothing much will happen in the long run. The question is how to do that… I wish I had an answer.