I've been enjoying a new technique for losing weight. First, eat or drink something that does not completely agree with you, in a tropical country like Ethiopia. Then spend three days as fluids gush from every orifice, like a three-cornered fountain in a town square. The fever flushes and shivers last only a day, and [...]
The thing you notice most flying in to Addis Ababa is the amount of construction everywhere. This part of Addis, the Bole area, is full of shops and restaurants, and new houses and hotels are being built everywhere. Addis has always benefited from having plenty of great coffee shops (coffee did, by some accounts, originate [...]
Thilo Thielke in Der Spiegel yesterday: Development aid is a planned economy, even if it doesn't have a plan. The belief that food shortages can be overcome in a planned economy is one that has already proved disastrously wrong in the former Soviet Union, North Korea and Cuba. One has to feel sorry for the [...]
I'm in Tanzania accompanying my partner to the gathering of all the Marie Stopes Country Directors and honchos from headquarters. These people are seriously impressive. People like me write policy papers, attend conferences, and have opinions about how things work, or should work. These people, by contrast, set up and run clinics - navigating their [...]
Flying in to Addis on Monday morning we flew over Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile and readily identifiable by its distinctive shape. It was a nice reminder to me of the wealth of natural resources that this beautiful country has to offer. Addis is a huge building site. From the air you [...]
I am sitting at Heathrow airport, on my way to Ethiopia. It is a big change to move away from home for 3 years. I am excited, as I love Ethiopia; but I am also a bit apprehensive about how much our lives will change.
According to Mary Riddell in The Observer Gordon Brown is thinking of transferring to parliament some or all of the powers currently exercised under the Royal Prerogative: The reform programme he is hatching will give some prerogative powers of the head of state to Parliament standing above government and the crown. The monarch will be [...]
I was pondering for a presentation on Thursday why it is that inequality between countries has grown so markedly over the last 100 years. There are many reasons why the richer countries have grown, but it is harder to explain why poor countries do not catch up as quickly as they did during the previous [...]
Much to the derision of my younger colleagues, we went to see Bryan Adams at Wembley Arena last night. (I went with James - my oldest schoolfriend - who was reluctantly dragged along by his wife Becky. G is in Tanzania.) I had low expectations - I wasn't sure that I would recognize many of [...]
I've just heard Jack Straw tell the Today programme that one of Mr Blair's great successes was to persuade the United States at Gleneagles to increase aid to Africa. The transcript of the briefing by US officials on Air Force One going home from Gleneagles says different.