Thursday, August 30, 2007

Development beyond criticism

A UNDP report says: "... Rwanda has achieved remarkable results in areas such the access to education, gender equality and democratic governance. ...
...the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) can still be achieved in Rwanda, even within reasonable assumptions about economic growth and development aid. However, achieving this will require us to break with the “business as usual” approach to development assistance, and create a mutually accountable partnership for human development. ...
...The report reveals that soaring inequality is threatening poverty reduction and economic growth. ..."

The Rwandan government's response to this constructive criticism is in a local newspaper article entitled, "Now Finance ministry probes staff over UNDP devt report ‘mistakes’." In which, "Days after he launched the 107-page report dubbed ‘‘Turning Vision 2020 into Reality: From Recovery to Sustainable Human Development’, the Cabinet asked [Minister of Finance and Economic Planning] Musoni to refute it."

In response, UNDP published a 5-page addendum. This addendum apologises for the tone of various sections of the report and the way the figures were represented.

But consider the resident UNDP representative's comment in an earlier press release: "The report constitutes a rigorous and objective piece of research, which takes a hard look at the facts, as they are, without trying to embellish them or tweak them to suite one or the other interest. This independence is key to the credibility of the analytical findings and the value of the report for strategic planning purposes".

I guess UNDP needs to sacrifice a little integrity to be able to continue to operate in a country like Rwanda.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The stone crusher with the pink hat

Rwandan fashion is a fusion of European clothes donations and an African love of bright colours.

These guys are crushing stones that they sell as construction material to one of our on-going micro-hydro projects here.