Mwenda vs Bono in Tanzania

The great Easterley vs Sachs

debate on whether aid works has now travelled to Tanzania, home of TEDGlobal

2007. William Easterly and Jeff Sachs

weren’t able to make it, it seems, so the conference kicked off with Easterly-by-proxy

Andrew Mwenda. Ethan

Zuckerman was there to hear Mwenda run down the standard Easterly talking

points – but at TED conferences, the points have a way of talking back.

And when Mwenda challenged the audience to name a country where aid had led

to development, Bono, of all people, stood up and named Ireland,

in the days of the potato famine.

Bono was scheduled to speak on Day Two, and he devoted his time not to his

own ideas but to rebutting

Mwenda’s. He came with a video greeting from Angela Merkel,

and said that the Marshall Plan was hugely successful for both the US and Germany.

The same kind of thing can be done in Africa too, he said, getting a standing

ovation. Sachs himself would probably not have done any better.

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