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Commentary & Opinion

Wall Street Journal Essays Examine Differing Views on African Development

November 30, 2010

In a Wall Street Journal essay exploring various ideas presented in the book, "The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves," by science writer Matt Ridley, Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, writes: "Development in Africa is difficult to achieve, but I am optimistic that it will accelerate. Science will come up with vaccines for AIDS and malaria, and the 'top-down' approach to aid criticized by Mr. Ridley (and by the economist William Easterly) will fund the delivery of these life-saving drugs. What Mr. Ridley fails to see is that worrying about the worst case -- being pessimistic, to a degree -- can actually help to drive a solution" (11/27).

In a response to Gates also published in the Wall Street Journal, Ridley writes: "I think that we agree on the most important point, namely, that Africa can have a good future. ... Far from saying that aid 'doesn't work, hasn't worked and won't work,' I actually say this in my book: 'Some of the most urgent needs of Africa can surely be met by increased aid from the rich world. Aid can save lives, reduce hunger, deliver a medicine, a mosquito net, a meal or a metalled road.'" Ridley goes on to write: "Now here I admit that Mr. Gates does have a point. Unintentionally, I have given him and perhaps other readers the impression that, in my view, combating malaria or AIDS does not pay economic dividends. It does. What I do take issue with is economic aid designed to stimulate economic growth" (11/27).

Back to other news for November 2010


This information was reprinted from kff.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery. © Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.



  
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
 
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