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Foreign Aid Mentality Holding Back Africa, Kenya Diaspora Conference Told


Friday, August 21, 2009
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ATLANTA
– The foreign aid mentality prevailing in Africa has held back development,
Kenya’s permanent secretary for information Dr. Bitange Ndemo said today during
a keynote address in Atlanta at the 2nd Kenya Diaspora International conference
and Investment forum.

The permanent
secretary said Africa’s future lies in innovation to make the continent
competitive. “Without innovation we cannot become a competitive
nation”.  Amid laughter, he said in
his own Kenya there have been cases where people pay a fee to learn how to
solicit for aid for their projects from overseas donors.

He said
the innovation of Africans is currently in display in Kenya where the landing
of the fiber optic cable has given rise to entrepreneurs who are readying
services to offer to the public. He said the recent introduction of Digital
Villages by his government in remote places an offshoot of the fiber’s landing
has spurred new businesses such as one he saw where a young gentleman had
Kenyan women in one village crowding around one computer monitor to learn about
breast cancer and charging them ten shillings (about US 25 cts). ‘The
innovative capabilities of Kenyans will amaze you when given the tools”,
he said.

Dr.
Ndemo’s keynote address which centered on the conference’s theme of Building a
Knowledge Based Economy in Kenya tackled the myriad of issues that face his
country including poverty. On poverty, the PS said that a contributing factor
is the unwillingness to embrace science giving the example of the U.S. where only
3% of the population feeds the nation as compared to 60% of Kenyans who are
involved in some form of food production.

The PS
said 1/3 of the global poor will be from Africa “if we don’t do
anything.”

The
conference got underway yesterday and concludes tomorrow. 

Follow conference updates on Twitter.

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ATLANTA - The foreign aid mentality prevailing in Africa has held back development, Kenya's permanent secretary for information Dr. Bitange Ndemo said today during a keynote address in Atlanta at the 2nd Kenya Diaspora International conference and Investment forum." />
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About Tom Gitaa

Tom is the President and Publisher of Mshale. As the founder, he did a lot of the reporting during the humble beginnings of the newspaper. While he still does the occasional reporting, he now concentrates on the publishing side of the news operation.Tom was also the original host of Talking Drum, the signature current affairs show on the African Broadcasting Network (ABN-America), which was available nationwide in the United States via the Dishnetwork satellite service. On the show, he interviewed Nobel laureates such as 2004 Nobel Peace prize winner, Professor Wangari Maathai, the first woman from Africa to win the peace prize and heads of states such as the president ofВ  The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh at State House, Banjul.Tom also serves in the board of directors of the Minnesota International Center (MIC), the sixth largest World Affairs Council in the United States. He has previously served as President of the Board of Directors of Books for Africa, the largest shipper of donated books to Africa.

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