demark!

Brazzaville: the next boomtown?

In Uncategorized on July 2, 2010 at 6:25 pm

Where I’m at: at the Foreign Service Institute in Arlingon, VA
What I’m doing: checking in between French classes
Why I’m posting: contemplating the future of Africa
__________
A famous subscriber to this blog (Bryan- who also punked out Carlos Zambrano, probably leading to the latter’s current anger-management issues…see earlier post: “A funny punk-out”) recently finished a report on Africa’s economic future.

Okay, it was actually his now-former company McKinsey, but I’d like to give my buddy the credit anyway. I’m mainly just posting to give the link, which is this: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/24/world/africa/24africa.html?_r=1&ref=world

But while I have the floor, I’d like to post a quick question/thought on our new home in Congo-Brazzaville, specifically. If my colleagues can or wish to chime in, please do so.

Yesterday, my super-conservation biologist wife, Colleen, showed me the bad news about a now-approved plan for a commercial highway that will cross the northern Serengeti in Tanzania. The road was first proposed by the World Bank 20 years ago to connect a fairly isolated section of Tanzania to the main cities. However, perhaps showing some 20-20 hindsight, the World Bank has since joined with scientists in decrying the northern road route and supporting a southern route below the Serengeti. The new route would connect more people, cost less, create more jobs, and perhaps most importantly, not destroy the Serengeti. The northern road would directly block the migration route of the wildebeasts, which is one of the most famous spectacles on earth. It would also endanger the World Heritage Site status of the Serengeti (which would cost Tanzania money, among other things) and endanger neighoring Kenya’s Serengeti access. In short, it seems like an ill-advised plan for many reasons, and one which has an obvious better alternative.

Well Congo-Brazzaville is itself in the middle of a grand infrastructure process (http://www.afriqueavenir.org/en/2010/07/02/the-congo-brazzaville-modernizes-its-agricultural-sector/). And I wonder, will these projects similarly unnecessarily damage the already tangible asset – nature – of the country? Who was consulted in these plans? What research was done? I need to find these answers…

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