If you want to be in the know about Africa and development . . .

. . . subscribe to the following links in Google Reader:

More general economics, but often hits on Africa

(Plus the links in the blogroll under Kenya and Africa)

What other ones would you add??

I don’t know anything about economics (I’m a New Testament student), but I’m very interested in economics and social justice –  especially as it relates to Africa and American attitudes and actions towards “Africa.”

In response to my post yesterday,  I was ambushed by two friends – Eddie (Kouya) and Rombo (What an African Woman Thinks) – to get on Twitter.  I guess they got tired of clicking on my “Links of the Day” on the right sidebar (maybe the most useful aspect of this blog). I gave in without too much of a fight, but I thought it would be more helpful to point you to the sources of all my great links regarding Africa, aid in development. (Besides, I’m going to magically “disappear” next week.)

Side note: sometimes I feel a little schizophrenic. I wonder which group of my friends I’m going to drive away first – the biblical studies friends or the Africa friends.

In other news: For two days this week, I introduced two friends from One Horizon Foundation to people I know here so that they could explore things like how microfinance programs are working, how NGOs (Christian and otherwise) are meeting basic needs (health, food, education), and how churches are functioning both in terms of   outreach/discipleship/nurture and justice/development ministries.

Here are a few of the reflections I had coming out of some of these conversations and visits.

  1. I have really incredible friends doing amazing things here. Some of them are world-class experts on things like microfinance, peacemaking and reconciliation, and worldview transformation (I feel very blessed.)
  2. We are going to have major poverty with us for a long time; the poverty stricken informal settlements (slums) seem to have the biggest baby booms and the capacity to provide jobs seems to be lagging far behind.
  3. The most effective efforts seem to be when local, entrepreneurial visionaries mobilize their community resources and get some boosting from outside “friends” for building construction, boreholes, generators, workshops, etc.
  4. Changing worldviews and mindsets is as important as anything else – opening their eyes to the realm of possibilities. As a Christian, I feel like ethics, self-sacrifice, and dependance on God are also important – freedom from fear.
  5. The most dramatic stories I hear always seem to have a little bit of  “miracle” in them; God rewards their efforts with a big break of one kind or another.
  6. A little bit of money can go a lot further here than it can in the US.
  7. Nairobi is an easy target for foreign donors – easy access, developed infrastructure, the “glamor” of a “Kibera,” a growing middle class (examples to follow right before your eyes), competent entrepreneurs, numerous churches and christian organizations active locally, etc. Plus the people here do a really good job of marketing their dreams.
  8. It’s a good thing that people don’t believe in the adage “If you can’t do it right, don’t do it at all.” A lot of people have just started with what they have and have done as much as they can. The results are pretty remarkable.
  9. We tend to demand much more from the poor than we do from ourselves. We want them to be self-sacrificing and entrepreneurial. (I don’t know about you, but I’m not much of an entrepreneur and I like my comfort.)

Feel free to add additional thoughts below.

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5 thoughts on “If you want to be in the know about Africa and development . . .

  1. Rombo says:

    Hey Ben.

    Fair enough. Twitter wins some looses some. Thanks again for being a sport. Hope your arm is not too sore from all that twisting.

    Best with that thesis.

  2. Rombo says:

    PS, it’s not just about your links about Africa and development.

    It’s actually about the sheer breadth of interesting thoughts and subjects that you ‘uncover’ and link to.

    I know from experience that means you comb diligently through a great deal of stuff to uncover the gems you link to as Links of the Day. I know it’s hard work because I get overwhelmed by my own RSS Feed most times.

    The effort you put into that has definitely been a gift to me as a reader of your blog.

    Asante.

  3. Eddie says:

    You are not the only one who is interested in both Biblical studies AND Africa. But thanks for doing a great job in helping to broaden the world view of people who are interested in just one side of the equation.

  4. Thanks for the link! I’m interested in both sides as well – and think that the one has a lot to say to the other, especially to the question of what constitutes Biblical justice vs. social justice.

    • Ben says:

      Thanks for commenting; I really, really enjoy your posts–in case you couldn’t tell.

      It’s a critical issue, and it’s getting to be talked about more and more. Scott McKnight sparked a little debate about this very thing a few days ago–<a href="“>A Hole in the Gospel–and Daniel Kirk mentions–as I note in my next post.

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