Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity


Views from the Center


How can the rural poor of Uganda achieve lasting opportunity, health, and security?

One vision for this goal is the laudable enterprise of external charity, such as the efforts in Uganda encouraged by U.S. celebrities Tommy Hilfiger and Katie Holmes or the controversial work of Invisible Children.

A starkly different approach is described below by Ugandan entrepreneur Andrew Rugasira, speaking at New York University—on a stage once ennobled by Abraham Lincoln. Both of these conflicting visions of development deserve transparent, independent testing.

You’ve heard the arguments for charity before, but much of what Rugasira has to say might be new to you. It’s well worth 20 minutes of your time to confront your own thinking with Rugasira’s. I spoke at the same conference, but I can’t think of any talk I’ve heard on development—certainly including mine—that I found more thought-provoking than Rugasira’s.

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CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD does not take institutional positions.