JOQ with Brian
Today, Mezimbite Magazine begins a new interview format series known as “JOQ with …” (also known as “Just One Question”)
The format is simple enough: one question and one answer. That is it.
We start with Brian Dowd-Uribe, who wrote to us today from Burkina Faso where he is doing development research. Brian’s a post-doctoral research scientist at Columbia University.
He is also the co-founder of The New Roots Institute for the Study of Food Systems.
Brian received his PhD in Environmental Studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz. His areas of focus were: International Development, Agro-ecology, Political Ecology, Environmental Governance, Water Policy. His regional research includes Sub Saharan Africa.
He was in Togo with the corps from 1999 to 2001, working primarily on agro-forestry projects.
Brian is also a member of our Mezimbite Magazine Editorial Advisory Panel. The other six members can be seen on the right of this page.
Just One Question
“Africa is becoming economically more dynamic, with economic growth that has nothing to do with foreign aid. And ultimately it’s business, industry, agriculture and investment that transform countries, not handouts. Africa is now the fastest growing part of the world, and some countries are real standouts and serve as models for their neighbors. I think we’re close to a time when the world will envy Africa its economic dynamism, not pity its stagnation.”
What are your thoughts on Kristof’s view of Africa’s future?
Response from Brian
I think it is important to ask two interrelated questions:
- How is Africa’s economic growth being shared across ethnic, gender, and socio-economic groups?
- What kind of development or growth is occurring?
So when talking about Africa, economic dynamism and development, I think it is good to look at the winners and losers with growth, and what is being done to address the concerns of the ‘losers’. This is why democratization is so important. This is also why close scrutiny of development intervention is needed to ensure that the largest number of Africans benefit.