Friday, 23 October 2009

Not to Award Africa Governance Prize – A Mistake

Not to award the Africa Governance Prize is a mistake and the wrong decision. The Prize is awarded by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation to leaders that have ‘ruled wisely’ and ‘handed over power to elected successors’. All 3 Presidents, Thabo Mbeki, Olusegun Obasanjo and John Kufuor, with some blips, have brought their countries forward and have been succeed by democratic means. I have known all 3 Presidents personally and worked with them over the years, they have worked in difficult times and circumstances to the benefits of their respective countries. Even recognising their faults and flaws, if Leaders such as these 3 aren’t eligible, President Mugabe must be having a good laugh!

I wonder at the Jury’s intentions by not awarding, are they trying to raise the bar for African leaders in the future? If so, it seems unlikely that the Foundation will award a prize in the next few years. If these criteria were used globally, would the jury be able to pick a winner?

Perhaps, if the prize was awarded to the Presidents who are still serving their first term; it could have a more direct impact and improve the performance of an incumbent government, providing an incentive to govern well and a democratic transfer of power.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Solar Technology and the Commonwealth

Solar Technology has the potential to supply all the worlds energy requirements, 6000times the worlds electrical needs constantly shines on the earth. Many Commonwealth countries are well placed to make use of solar technology for energy production; high levels of Sunlight and wide opened space make them ideal locations for the technology.

Proven projects across the world show the impact the technology can have. Germany, surprisingly given its relatively low levels of sunlight, is leading the way with Spain not far behind and the new administration in the US has placed a greater emphasis on increasing their solar output and combating climate change.

There is still work to be done on the technology, issues surrounding night time storage and efficiency, but work continues to make the technology more economical viable. I was in Kenya last week to look at a potential solar project site and meet with partners, one of CBC’s aims is to use and share technologies that can help with development and improve the lives of people across the commonwealth, and solar is a technology that could have a huge impact.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Health Tourism and Infrastructure

Last week while travelling in the Caribbean the potential importance of healthcare to some of the island economies became more and more apparent. The global financial crisis has driven down the number of tourists travelling for traditional Caribbean holidays, so the governments and tourist promotion agencies are looking for new ways of attracting visitors to their shores.

Aside from the more mainstream efforts to promote business tourism and the like, there is a good opportunity to become a destination of choice for medical tourism. A similar desire was espoused by the Prime Minister of Grenada while at a Lunch I hosted in the UK a couple of months back, however he made it clear that there is a large infrastructure gap to filled in this sector.

This is a good example of where government and the private sector can work together to create an affordable, highly advanced and comfortable medical environment that is suitable for more elderly patients. The Caribbean is an ideal location for this industry, with its experience in delivering a 5 star tourist experiences and its proximity to the Large US market.