August 26, 2012
The African diaspora intellectual gets a two-second mention in reporter Jina Moore’s recent admonition to Western journalists to, “tell the Africa story differently”–or better yet, tell Africa’s stories. Note the plural form. Moore bemoans journalism’s contribution to the dominant image of Africa as suffering from, well, everything. Her solution to this persistent and persistently warped narrative: nuanced story-telling and, she asks that journalists take a leap and re-imagine Africa.
What isn’t needed, she adds, is what many African diaspora intellectuals and activists, among others, have suggested: “taking the mic away from foreigners” altogether. It’s a curious non-option, made even more so by the poverty of her rationale. But I suppose it’s no more curious than the fact that Moore’s essay, provocatively titled, The White Correspondent’s Burden, essentially decries racism and white supremacy without ever mentioning those words. This do-si-do dance of the colorblind is fascinating, and, absurd. An essay calling for an end to the erasure of complexity from African life, erases, too.
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December 18, 2010
Haitian diaspora gathering in Washington, DC, March 2010 -- was that the last one?
Editor’s Note: You require transparency from us but none from yourselves. That’s the charge leveled at USAID by Liberia’s finance minister (and a couple of other people), at a recent Brookings Institution panel on the lack of transparency among aid organizations. Haiti’s finance minister probably feels the same way. As poorly as Haiti ranks on the corruption index the US ranks near the bottom in international aid transparency. And what comes out of this panel is that while we’re great at measuring other governments’ corruption, we apparently suck at competently measuring ourselves, the donors. Read on for the Liberian minister’s edited remarks, which also raise the question, is the Haitian diaspora lobbying Congress to improve USAID?
Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan, minister of finance, Liberia I concur fully with the assessment … that aid transparency is a necessary condition for effectiveness…. Liberia is a highly aid-dependent country. I don’t want to go through the history of civil war, the destruction, and the reconstruction efforts. As we speak we receive more flows to the country through aid than even our domestic revenue. [And] although the amount of [aid passing] through our budget [had] been very insignificant–around 2-5 percent–it has gradually gone up to 15 percent. We are hoping that as we improve our country’s systems, more donors can use them.
Now, [however]… we have a situation where most donors want to use parallel [NGO] systems [and not] government systems. [But] the parallel systems [have to] give us better development outcomes … otherwise, the moral justification of using the parallel system does not exist.
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June 20, 2010
TMS Ruge, co-founder, Project Diaspora and senior product manager, Uganda Medicinal Plants Growers (UMPG)
Editor’s note: part of DH’s mission is to model for Haitians and Haitian-Americans, the best efforts/practices of diasporas worldwide. Introducing the first in what will be a regular series:
TMS (Teddy) Ruge is on a mission to mobilize the African diaspora to invest in Africa. That’s not a hard sell these days, considering some countries’ annual growth rate hovers around 10 percent. After living in Kenya and then the United States for 18 years, Ruge now spends half his time assisting indigenous farmers and women refugees in his native Uganda. He spoke with DH via Skype one Sunday afternoon about his entrepreneurial venture, Project Diaspora, partnering with the Ugandan government and his diaspora-led vision for Africa.
DH: What are you up to in Uganda?
A: At the moment I’m managing two pilot projects—one deals with helping 19 refugee women in Kireka get their products to market, the other, we’re organizing 1,500 farmers to produce agroceuticals. Hopefully the pilots will teach us a few lessons about the in’s and out’s of community and economic development from a social entrepreneurship angle. And … within a few years, we can show the results of what can happen by thinking broadly … instead of simply relying on remittances to your family.
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