From William Easterly’s paper, “Can the West Save Africa?” [PDF]
Most of the emphasis in project-specific efforts has been in addressing problems of illiteracy, disease, low agricultural productivity (possibly linked to land tenure practices, to be discussed more in the “institutions” section below), and poor social and physical infrastructure. These efforts have a long history. In an extreme example of the recycling of aid ideas across generations, a 1938 survey of colonial Africa commissioned by the British (the “Hailey report”) covered some of the same problems and even proposed some of the same solutions as the 2005 UN Millennium Project that comprehensively surveyed aid interventions, as shown in Table 5. It would be hard to argue that Africa’s development problem is missing technical knowledge, as some transformational approaches claim, when some of that knowledge has already been around for 70 years. For example, why is there still malnutrition in Africa due to lack of vitamin A, when this problem and its solution has been well known for 70 years?
(Via: Marginal Revolution)