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Not for the first time, the World Bank has reminded me of NBC’s America’s Got Talent, the hit TV show where judges Mel B, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel, and Howard Stern rate amateur singers, jugglers, and comedians.
As we’ve shared the idea of Oil to Cash—that a portion of resource revenues be given directly to citizens in a regular, transparent, and universal dividend—we’ve heard a lot of concerns, such as that it’s impractical or that it’ll make people lazy.
Donald Kaberuka, the President of the African Development Bank and the leading voice for forward-leaning economic policy on the continent, has come out publicly in favor of paying some portion of natural resource windfalls as a direct dividend to citizens. We’re pretty excited about this policy idea at CGD, and have been thinking through some of the pros, cons, and practicalities of what we call Oil-to-Cash. Watch this space for our Oil-to-Cash book later in 2014.
We’ve been surprised at all the attentionTodd’s new fridge has gotten recently—including comments saying the comparison against African per capita electricity consumption isn’t fair because many of those people don’t have refrigerators. Exactly our point!
It’s only a matter of time before Nigeria passes South Africa as the continent’s largest economy. At one level, this is an irrelevant technical exercise and I’m sure Morten Jerven will (rightly) point out that the numbers are all wrong.
In February 2012, I finished the first draft of my debut novel about an imaginary coup in Mali and American diplomatic efforts to reverse it in the middle of a terrorist attack. My fictional junta in Bamako called itself “The Council for the Restoration of Democracy” and my fictional terrorists were Ansar al-Sahra. Six weeks later, Mali had a real coup when the “National Committee for the Restoration of Democracy and State” seized power and, a few days later, the northern half of Mali was overtaken by militant groups including a never-heard-of-before Ansar al-Dine.
I’ve been frustrated with this Administration for dropping the ball on Africa policy for five years, but I am borderline-ecstatic about Power Africa, the new White House electricity access initiative announced by the President on June 30.