Sunday, April 27, 2008

Word of the Day: donor state

donor state (n.) – A donor state is one in which development aid plays such an important role in the national economy and state budget, that donors wield significant influence in the nations politics and economy. Symptoms of a donor state include large proportions of foreigners working in and for government ministries, a tendency to promote government programmes over private sector development, a high production of “sector studies”, high inflation and/or high interest rates, an impotent banking sector and a weak private sector. Countries that could currently be described as donor states include Rwanda, Afghanistan, (South) Sudan, Chad and many others. The long-term success of these countries' economies depends on their developing into independant economies and institutions before their dependence becomes institutionalised and permanent. Such quasi-permanent donor states are particularly prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Word of the Day: poverty tourist

poverty tourist (n.) – Not to be confused with a development tourist (who works in development), a poverty tourist is one who comes on a holiday to a development country to see how terribly poor the poor are, and how wonderfully helpful the development industry is. Some poverty tourism can definitely be classified as a cultural exchange and has merit for both the tourist and the visited community. However, the exposure to poverty and development is generally too short and superficial to communicate the complexities of poverty and development. Poverty tourism is often coupled with donations by the tourist which increase the degree to which he/she identify with the visited development projects. These projects can range from meaningful training and employment generation projects to useless showcase do-good initiatives.

Anyone interested in coming to Rwanda for poverty tourism can look at New Dawn Associates who, despite my reservations, do appear to be doing some good work.