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The secular backlash against Charlie Hebdo

as explained by South African Nobel Laureate JM Coetzee in an essay in his book Giving Offense: Essays on Censorship (published 1996) – The Intellectual Rational, secular intellectuals are not notably quick to take offense. Like Karl Popper, they tend to believe that I must teach myself to distrust that dangerous intuitive feeling or conviction … Continue reading

My 2014 in books

Development Philosophy, impact and behavioural economics  1) The Forgotten Village by John Steinbeck, 143pp, 1941   2) The Idealist: Jeffrey Sachs and the Quest to End Poverty by Nina Munk, 272pp, 2013 3) The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor by William Easterly, 416pp, 2014  4) Getting Better: Why Global Development Is Succeeding And … Continue reading

Let them speak English

Pakistan Today | 3 Oct 2014 Imaduddin Ahmed The professional elite of Pakistan have a monopoly on English medium-schools and therefore on global competitiveness “And where in India are you from?” asked the hostess of an upscale restaurant in Kigali, Rwanda. “I’m Pakistani,” I replied. “Pakistani?!” she exclaimed, “But you’re so polished!” Shocked as I … Continue reading

Did you know that North Africans captured 1 million+ white slaves?

Flags of skulls on green backgrounds terrorised the shores of Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, England, Wales, Ireland, Scandinavia, Russia, Georgia, the Netherlands and Germany, as North Africa pirates captured 1-1.25 million whites slaves from the 16th to the 19th centuries. White Gold by British historian Giles Milton is a book that puts paid to the … Continue reading

Wagah border

Not too dissimilar

Aman ki Asha | 20 Aug, 2014 The News | 20 Aug, 2014 Wagah border, between West and East Punjab in Pakistan and India Until I moved to Pakistan for a few years after graduating from college in California, I wouldn’t say that I saw my Indian or Indian diaspora friends as anything other than fellow … Continue reading

Colonial porn – Winston Churchill, Nobel literature prize winner

Published in 1908 when Winston Churchill was 34 – yet to become the British Prime Minister, to be awarded the literature Nobel and to be knighted by the Queen – My African Journey brings us into the colonial mind, and shows us how it makes allowances for brazenly racist statements. ‘It is unquestionably an advantage that … Continue reading

Modi facts – exposing Modi’s lies

Chief Minister of Gujarat (and favourite for Prime Minister of India) Narendra Modi’s state has lagged others in development

Recommended reading for aspiring development practitioners

As aspiring development practitioners are thinking of what to read before they apply or enter degree programmes that will help get them dev jobs, I thought I’d suggest some accessible books. Shout out if you have any further suggestions!   1) King Leopold’s Ghost by Adam Hochschild << Berkeley journalism lecturer demonstrates how blatantly development has … Continue reading

African (frontier market) risks associated with PPP infrastructure

and how they can be mitigated. Compiled by a PPP transactions advisor to Rwanda (me). Barriers to private investment in African infrastructure: Country political risk –          Eg. medium or high likelihood of terrorist attacks, war, corruption, riots, strikes Risk of expropriation Payment risk Insolvency for state off-takers such as state utilities Inflation/currency depreciation Currency convertibility Risk … Continue reading

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