So Gordon Brown made his political re-appearance here in Kampala. It’s an interesting speech in which he says some things that I absolutely agree with, see below, and sort of wish he might have been more vocal about the same whilst he was UK Prime Minister. You can download the full speech here.
To help economies develop across Africa, he said nations needed to increase access to broadband internet, which he said less than 1% of people currently had access to.
Agreed, I’ve seen the huge difference that fast internet has made to life and business in the UK; so badly needed here in EA.
Turning his attention to the developmental aid given to Africa, he said this needed to increasingly focus on private sector wealth creation, and not just providing services for the poor.
“The job of aid is to kick-start business-led growth and not to replace it,” he said.
“And so I believe we need to focus not just on poverty, but on wealth.”
I agree and that’s what we’re looking for; developmental aid that will help the private sector to grow and expand its services. This sector already provides more than 70% of healthcare services in Uganda and could do a lot more, better and faster, with adequate and appropriate funding (long-term loans not hand-outs).
We must of course maintain the focus on what matters, saving and improving lives:
After the speech, Bernard Aryeetey, from the charity Save the Children, said a long-term growth strategy for Africa was vital but should not be to the detriment of investment in health systems and education.
“Making sure that children are able to go to a clinic when they are ill and get a decent education must be tackled in parallel with a drive to increase economic growth through technological advance.
“Saving children’s lives does in fact contribute to economic growth.”