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Niger's Problem Isn't Nature

Kenyan James Shikwati speaks much good sense on the famine in Niger. I especially like this insight:

When aid money keeps coming, all our policy-makers do is strategize on how to get more…. They forget about getting their own people working to solve these very basic problems. In Africa, we look to outsiders to solve our problems, making the victim not take responsibility to change.

Niger’s problem isn’t caused by nature.  Nor, contrary to Owen’s suggestion, is it helpful to describe Niger’s problem as "poverty."  Of course Nigeriens live (and die) in grinding poverty.  But the relevant problem is whatever impediments its people suffer in their attempts to pursue those wealth-creating activities that give rise to wealth-creating institutions.