Africa is in the news. I lived in Madagascar and then Kenya from 1985 through to 1992.
Here I am in in the far south-west of Madagascar in about 1986,
Jen stopping for lunch.
This was one way of getting about in Madagascar in the mid 1980s,
by taxi brouse.
Taxibrouses would run the more common form of transport off the road,
the bullock cart .
I read about the planned Live 8 Concerts for Africa last week and I was sceptical. I thought of the proverb, “Give me a fish and I eat or a day. Teach me to fish and I eat for a life time”.
“Forgiving debt, or giving money, is not going to do much more than reward bad management,” were my thoughts.
Others had similar concerns. According to ABC Online,
“Some aid workers and Africans worry that the Live 8 initiatives will only serve to bolster corrupt regimes while scepticism persists that rock stars can change anything.
“I don’t believe it will do any good,” said 18-year-old Nir Livneh in the London crowd. “It won’t stop poverty in Africa.”
In Johannesburg, most of those interviewed among the crowd of 10,000 had never even heard of Geldof but Edward Romoki, yelling over a booming hip-hop act, said: “Maybe a concert like this can put Africa in the news and change things.””
How might putting Africa in the news change things?
I read today that Bob Geldof asked for more than just debit relief, he is asking for three things:
1. Action to wipe out Africa’s debt,
2. Double aid, and
3. The scrapping of trade barriers.
According to theSydney Morning Herald one million people attended the 10 free concerts in Europe, North America, South Africa and Japan, while an estimated 3 billion watched on television.
Bob Geldof, brought the computer billionaire Bill Gates to the Hyde Park stage, introducing him to the crowd of 200,000 as “the greatest philanthropist of our age”, who had given away $US5 billion.
Gates believes in technology including biotechnology (GM food crops). He believes in not only teaching people ‘how to fish’ (remembering the proverb) but also in providing them with the best technology. Towards this end he is supporting the work of a woman I once met, and admire immensely, Florence Wambugu. And you can find more about Florence at
Some of the projects supported by her group and that will be given a kick-along by the funding from Bill Gates can be found at