Posted on September 26, 2012


Yesterday, the BBC Newsday program featured Jeffrey Sachs.

“On Newsday we are going to be interviewing American Economist and United Nations advisor, Professor Jeffrey Sachs, of Columbia University. Professor Sachs has been working on ending poverty, promoting economic growth, fighting hunger and disease. What do you think is the best way of stopping poverty in Africa and elsewhere? What questions would you like to ask Professor Sachs?”

(caption what people are thinking)

Here’s my question:

Why has a second Millenium Villages cluster been started in Northern Ghana when it has been reported that government failed to protect much of the first project area in Ashanti that has experienced great environmental degradation caused by the illegal, unchecked, small-scale surface mining of gold?

Here is the newspaper article regarding the second Millennium Village in Northern Ghana.

And here’s the reported devestation by the same journalist in the same paper of much of the Ashanti Millennium Villages cluster project

Now here’s the Soundcloud recording.

3 minutes and 35 seconds! That was the whole interview. I listened to it on BBC iPlayer. Nice that the host did use questions and comments from facebook, BUT really….

My question wasn’t used-it went late due to a power cut in Kumasi-thus this post. But neither was there any mention of any of the controversies surrounding the Millennium Villages projects! In fact the interview was almost a monologue of Sachs spewing generalities and platitudes.

Now, if you have a minute to look through the 60 comments on Facebook following the picture above, you might remark on how many respondents were of the opinion that aid to Africa is not the answer to improving
the lives of Africans. I concur. Too often aid just provides legitimacy to “disorganized” -Sachs’ word-governments. I could think of another word…….

And too often media is complicit in its cursory treatment of the subject!

Note though, in a concluding comment after the termination of the interview, the commentator did mention that Facebook contributors were of the opinion that Africans themselves would make the difference in their lives through their entrepreneurship.