Six men, six pairs of socks, one private sector

Published: 06 December 2010

You don't really believe that I am going to talk about the panelists' socks, do you? Now that I caught your attention, let's talk business. I bet this is what the speakers said in their minds, after showing us their socks in a variety of shades of black.

One idea was that we need professionals to make aid more effective. But how? I mean, where do you get those professionals from in developing countries and just ask them to give a knowledge transfer for free? I understood that in France there is an association of french-speaking mayors who give pieces of advice just like that, but we forget that France cannot be compared to Kenya or Mozambique or any other African country. Not even to South Africa, which is supposed to be the richest african country. Because we are here, you need to know that South Africa is also the main african donor for the rest of the african countries. Then how come Africa receives money from everywhere but does not absorb anything? Leaking money is not the answer, but the poor management of the private sector.

You see, if we increase the role of private sector (says the European Commission), we will have development, therefore a competition between regions appears. This is the answer why only some african countries succeed in having more than $1 per week and others don't. Do you see this as a convenient thing? Actually it's not, because now you have one almost-developed country pulled back by its poorer "sisters".And the circle closes when the almost-developed country becomes poor yet again.

The conclusion from this session is that, as Manish Pandey, the Regional Director of Swisscontact South Africa said, "we need to put the private sector in the driver's seat". The governemt should be just an enabler, nothing less, nothing more. Isn't it?