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Monday, January 25, 2010

Views on Haiti's long term viability...

Cool article in the FT about Haiti's re-development, by Paul Collier and Jean-Louis Warnholz.

They lay out three essentials for Haiti's recovery: Money, better governmental management and procurement systems and, first and foremost, an economic strategy that both of the former points and their agents can work with and have something that which it will be mandated to manage.

This is one of the best thoughts on Haiti for the long term I have read during the aftermath of the quake.

The article acknowledges the faults, the issues as it relates to the lack of vision and the series of corrupt regimes that have caused country systems to be in a state of disarray.

One the other hand, the article also quoted another article from the Wall St. Journal- a media outlet I highly respect- which was a little too dark for the moment.

The author, Brett Stephens, asks for the amount of foreign aid going into Haiti to be stopped.

He cites that, in a nutshell, it only goes to the corrupt people and politicians for their own selfish needs.

While that may be so, stopping the aid, will ensure that no assistance reaches the country at all.

Even if it goes out as political favours and engenders patronage- and as he even admits through other local economist's in Africa who say the same thing that he does- puts local farmers at jeopardy, when we talk about direct food assistance going on the black market, depressing national prices and putting pressure on local farmers, the "commerce" is something any country can ill afford to lose- especially a country as disrupted as Haiti or some of the other African countries.

What needs to happen, as the authors from the FT point out, is a better management strategy to go along with the aid that Haiti most desperately need.

Former President's Clinton and Bush should take a strong, commanding- even a domineering imperialist- role in Haiti to ensure that things are done right.

Clinton on the side of better governmental systems management and Bush, with regard to spurring the private sector and having them work in sync- as paradoxical as that sounds- with the government.

What would also work well with both of those efforts, would be a leader who is dedicated to overseeing the civil society and social sector development.

Perhaps we can bring back President Carter? Or, former Vice President Gore to lead that charge?

Perhaps that is too much wishful thinking on star power. But, the social sector and civil society needs leadership, as well.
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