Waylaid Dialectic

August 11, 2011

Development Neologism: The Kagame Counterfactual

Filed under: Development Neologisms — terence @ 8:05 pm

The Kagame Counterfactual: An inversion of the old saw that “the perfect is the enemy of the good.” In this case referring to the fact that the likely alternative to the pretty-bad is often only the worse.

The term stems from the dilemma aid agencies face when dealing with Paul Kagame: counterfactuals. Kagame is a repressive autocrat, and giving aid to his government means giving aid to a government headed by a repressive autocrat. This is not good. Yet if donors ceased giving aid to Rwanda it is far from clear whether it would actually lead to him changing his ways, rather than merely leading to a situation where he remains a repressive leader — of a slightly poorer, less healthy and more poorly-educated, aidless country.

The Kagame Counterfactual doesn’t, by any means, explain all the aid that has been given to repressive governments over the years. Much of this was given for all the wrong reasons. But it does explain why, even when the intentions are good, the aid agency’s lot is often a dirty one.


1 Comment

  1. this is just rubbish, i wonder if this is news or what ?u are just abusing some one for no reason.u have to know that kagame represents more than 11 millions of Rwandans and you don’t represent any body.and the issue of aid you just shouting for it seems u are lacking facts ,the world bank and other donors has proven that the country utilizes the aid it has been given effectively and that is why they keep supporting Rwanda.mind your own bussiness

    Comment by aboti — August 12, 2011 @ 6:51 pm

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