Sunday, October 11, 2009
Circum-Flash: Devex, Obama's Nobel Prize, the Economics of Polygamy
It's been a while, I know. For those of you who checked in with me to make sure everything's aight, thanks. And no, Circumspect is not closing shop anytime soon. Quite the contrary. There's much to tell!!
What I've Been Up To
I recently started working as an International Development Correspondent for the Development Executive Group (Devex); a great organization committed to the international development community. For those of you in the sector, looking to enter it, or just plain curious, you should check out www.devex.com . There's a job board, networking section, as well as a news & analysis section where you can find out about the latest trends in development, advice on which skills + expertise is in demand etc etc. There's also a business info section for organizations. Aight, enough with the sales pitch lol.
So basically, I've been doing research, attending events, networking, learning new and interesting stuff, and writing articles. Some of the amazing peeps I've met are Riz Khan and Queen Noor of Jordan. Needless to say, I was a bit starstruck lol. I have two blogs up so far. One on the rest unrest in Guinea, and another on Afghanistan . I think the writing style is slightly different from what I'm used to. It's less of analysis and critique and more of 'advice'? So I'm tryna get used to that. Aside that, with spending an entire work day researching and writing, my brain cells are usually toast by the time I get home, hence the lack of Circumspect blogs over the past couple of days. I'm gonna have to come up with something in order to keep writing on here, cos there is SO much I wanna share!!!
My Thoughts on Recent Events
Obama's Nobel Peace Prize:
Like many people, I am a mix of elated, surprised, and skeptical. Definitely, it's a great thing that he won. On one hand, I'm really impressed considering he's the third sitting president and first African-American president to have won it. On the other hand...I think it's a bit premature. Sure, he did a great job of getting a multitude of people involved in a single effort, and he has made some great strides, but the work is nowhere near complete. I think there were some other candidates who actually have tangible results who could have won the prize. And then, I'm also amused. Guess the 'Obama effect' is doing quite a number on the world. Essentially, what his win indicates is that people have A LOT of faith in him. They expect him to make great changes. That's quite a responsibility to shoulder if you ask me, but all the same, congrats Mr. President.
Ghana on "Harsh Donor Conditionalities":
I came across this myjoyonline article which talks about Ghana's decision to reject harsh donor conditionalities, and I was definitely happy to see it. The influence of donor conditionalities on developing countries cannot be understated. Sometimes you actually do have governments that have their citizens' best interests at heart. But include donor conditionalities in the mix, and its downhill from there. I sincerely hope Ghana walks the walk instead of just talking the talk. As always, it's easier said than done, but acknowledging something like this opens numerous possibilities to act on it. Looking forward to hearing more.
Ghana on the International Scene:
I know Ghana has always been a poster child for 'progressive African economies,' but I'm a bit bewildered, and slightly skeptical about the amount of space and time being allocated to Ghana on the international scene. Since I've been in D.C., I've come across at least 3 specials on Ghana in newspapers. It's like a Ghana galore or something of the sort. And as much as I'm all for Ghana and everything, it's a bit scary. Why? Because with all the media attention about Ghana being the ideal investment destination, there'll probably be a jump in how many foreign companies target Ghana. That's not too worrisome. What's worrisome is the fact that we don't have our laws governing investment, worker protection etc in place. I'm gonna have to do a piece on investment laws under the WTO soon.
The Economics of Polygamy:
Okay, so there's been a number of articles on a South African man who married four women in one huge wedding a couple of weeks ago. The latest article really cracked me up. Essentially, the man, Mr. Mbele, contends that having one huge wedding saved him a lot of money as opposed to doing 4 separate weddings. I guess having to upkeep 4 different households (yes, each wife has her own abode) doesn't count as expenditure. But seriously though, this question of polygamy is quite an interesting and touchy topic. Personally, I'm not for it. Maybe at some point in human history, polygamy served a divine purpose. But in this current day and age, I'm not too sure I agree with it. Of course, if ALL the parties involved (and not just the man) think it's ideal, then more grease. Aside that, I think many men use it to satisfy their selfish whims.
From discussions I've had with people about polygamy (in Islam at least), it was allowed because of the social dynamics of the time. A woman's 'success' or livelihood depended on a man, and since there were fewer men than women, a single man would oversee the upkeep of up to three or so women. True, there are still more women than men today, BUT the dynamics have changed. A woman's success is no longer dependant upon her association with a man, or if it's still the case in some parts of the world, it's to a lesser degree. Alors, until someone comes up with a really good argument for polygamy, I think I'll pass on that one, thank you very much. Lol.
Okay, so these are just some of the things I've found quite interesting. Oooh, and of course, Ghana qualified for the World Cup along with Ivory Coast and S.Africa. I really cannot wait for 2010! And Ghana's U-20 group is wrecking serious havoc on the field! Sweet success lol.
I should have a couple more posts coming up on specific things I wanna share - one on recent findings concerning how the media influences human perceptions and attitudes - so keep a look out. Have a great week people!