Category: In Pursuit of Development

I recently had the pleasure of riding the Madaraka Express—a Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project that connects Nairobi to the port city of Mombasa. It gave me a first-hand experience of how a Chinese “mega project” works, and how it is being financed, maintained and expanded to other parts of Kenya. The Nairobi terminus, where…

When government agencies struggle to provide efficient and reliable services, an important group often steps in to provide some form of relief to affected citizens. These are the middle-men, variously known as “brokers”, “fixers”, “touts” and “dobadobas”. For a fee, they help facilitate various tasks—application for a driver’s licence, authorisation for building construction, settlement of…

Like millions of people all over the world, I love coffee. And after numerous visits to Malawi over the past decade and a half, I have become a huge fan of Malawian coffee. Last week, following my most recent visit, I returned home to Oslo, Norway with several packets of Satemwa Espresso and Mzuzu coffee,…

A most interesting success story in the realm of health comes from Uganda, which in 1982 was the first African country to identify Aids. By the mid-1980s, Uganda had one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the world, which continued to rise in the next decade and a half. In the 1990s, however, remarkable…

At the start of the New Year, I was giving a set of talks in Beijing on poverty, foreign aid and sustainable development. It gave me an opportunity to renew my interest in better understanding China’s impressive achievements in lifting more than half a billion people out of poverty within two and a half decades.…