• 8 Apr 2009

    Dead aid to Africa's North-South Corridor?

    DFID, the UK aid department, asked me to volunteer to come down here to Lusaka in Zambia to help “facilitate” the launch of the North-South Corridor project for which they and other donors have thus far raised $1.35bn. It involved four presidents, the head of the WTO, a DFID minister, an EU commissioner, international banks,…

  • 8 Apr 2009

    Lusaka deal to boost landlocked Africa

    Why is Africa poor? Here’s one reason – to ship copper from Zambia to a port in South Africa (the nearest) takes three weeks and costs $6,000 per week. The same journey in Europe takes 48 hours and costs a fraction of that. Bureaucratic border crossing, rotten and rotting railways, disintegrating roads… They all speak…

  • 7 Apr 2009

    Zambia Pentecostalists prompt mixed feelings

    My host in Lusaka, Zambia, took me to church on Sunday, an experience that left mixed feelings. The Miracle Life Family Church in Lusaka is a circular place. 300 people inside, another 200 outside. Middle class, most had come by car. Like the African pasteur, the religious music was stirring – brilliantly performed.

  • 6 Apr 2009

    Madonna can help Zambia's Aids crisis

    An overnight flight to Zambia. Haven’t been here in 20 years. Bigger, but still verdant green boulevards into town. Early morning bicycles laden with vast bags of charcoal struggle along the dust tracks at the roadside. I’m here for a conference, of which more in the next blog.

  • 23 Mar 2009

    Obscene would be putting it too strongly, but it did seem odd talking about dead African children amid the gilded Louis XIV interiors of Lancaster House last week. One of London’s finest townhouses, just across the road from Buckingham Palace, this is where Rhodesia’s independence from Britain was signed in 1979.

  • 20 Mar 2009

    Zambia is reckoned to be the 13th poorest country in the world. Sixty-four per cent of the people live in poverty. More than one in six children die before their fifth birthday, and if you live to the age of 42 you are doing better than average. Britain is the largest bilateral donor to Zambia,…