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Africa raises questions

  • Written by Administrator

Nairobi transport 2015

Why is the relentless hard work and entrepreneurial spirit I have seen so much amongst poor people around the world still not enough to break out of the poverty trap? Hernando de Soto was called ‘the world’s most important living economist’ by former US President Bill Clinton when opening the 2004 World Economic Forum. In his book The Mystery of Capital, de Soto tells how 276,000 businesses operating in Peru’s underground economy, paying no taxes at all, were encouraged to voluntarily register their businesses, and four years later were bringing in tax revenues of US$1.2 billion. This is the clearest explanation I’ve heard yet of why we have global poverty and what we can do to level the playing field.

 

BOK mum Katie

Wee five-month-old Ethiopian girl, Kennedy, was abandoned at birth and severely malnourished. She died in 2009, breaking her adoptive parent’s hearts. Now their grief has turned into support programmes for some of the 5 million orphans in Ethiopia. Kennedy’s mum, Katie, took me to see one in Addis Ababa a few weeks ago. It was inspiring to see the cycles of poverty being broken through a little help and support and lots of self-determination against enormous odds.