The best thing about that article was the criticism it
generated. Bureaucrats may still be inclined to fund white elephants,
but judging from the postings there are enough people who are highly
I wonder, is there really a shortage in Africa of people who can teach
first year calculus? I doubt it very much. Most countries probably
already have graduates who get A+ in calculus and then go on to be
traders or sit around because there are no scientific/technical
jobs. Yet some aid projects seem to be designed with the assumption
that Africa suffers from a shortage of neurons, rather than hardware.
A good measure of the project would be the ratio "new bandwidth going
out"/"new bandwidth coming in". By this measure, the benefit from the
$1.2 million investment is dangerously close to zero.
Why don't they just put that money into a fund, and universities can
apply for money to lease lines, buy servers, routers, interface cards,
LAN hubs, workstations, modem pools, and to pay for training of system
admistrators. The money would only be granted to those who can prove
that they will make good use of it.