Another reason I have questions about aid is that it too often leads to "donor dependency." An acquaintance of mine in Nairobi told me a story about a trip she'd made to a rural area where she'd had a conversation with a group of farmers about their need for mechanized equipment to make their farms more efficient. Why, she asked them, don't you get together and save until you can jointly buy a tractor? No, was the reply; we are waiting for the donors.
Yes, I support "gender equality" and "youth empowerment," but it seems to me it's far more important, in a country where many parents can't afford to take their children to a doctor or to educate them beyond primary school, to concentrate on creating jobs.
A few years ago, at a gathering at Harvard's Kennedy School, a young graduate student working on a master's degree in international development told me she wanted to "help" Kenya and asked what I thought would be the best way. I suggested she quit her program, get an MBA, and start a company in Kenya that in time might employ hundreds of people. She looked shocked, then disapproving, and quickly moved away.
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