I made a critique of Todd Moss in passing this week, so I may as well continue the trend (I’ll blame Devex for putting him in my inbox). Yesterday, Moss published a piece, “Three Reasons why Electricity Should be President Obama’s Legacy in Africa”, in the blog of his employer, the Center for Global Development. The opening paragraph alludes to AGOA as being “something great” for Obama to model a signature achievement on. I shared my not so rosy views on AGOA yesterday, so that instantly caught my attention (and cemented my confidence in my perceptions of Moss). And of course Obama’s modest African engagement is striking, so any piece addressing that is of interest.
Having served in the Peace Corps for two years without electricity (in a Sahelian country that imports the vast majority of its power supply) and recently visited Liberia, a country that neither generates nor imports much electricity at all, I certainly agree with Moss’ general point that the lack of access to electricity is a huge issue with health and economic repercussions (I was fortunate to be able to cook with gas during my two years in Peace Corps and avoided noxious fumes from smoke).
However, the piece has a tone that I find highly unappealing. A few reasons why: