No where is the white Landcruiser phenomenon more prevalent than in Zambia or Malawi. In the city of Lilongwe, Malawi, you can find a typical African town with dodgy mini-taxis held together by pieces of tape, bustling markets and poor people. However you can also drive three minutes into the new city centre and find a brand new glass building that wouldn’t look out of place on the streets of Manhattan, where the car park is full of new 4WDs, courtesy of European donors. I wonder what the Africans to whom the aid is supposedly directed must think of these circuses that roll into town, buy new vehicles and laptops, and just as quickly leave without much tangible progress.
I know of at least one African who wouldn’t mind having a white Landcruiser job with a salary paid out in US$. I remember we used to discuss the perks and benefits of a job at the IMF or WHO while we were at school.
I agree that there’s something amiss if the brains of Africa prefer working for NGOs and international organizations. Africa needs entrepreneurs that create jobs and build industries. But issues such as widespread corruption, high crime rates, bureaucracy, and volatile political systems don’t make building a business any easier. And like everywhere in the world, people weigh the pros and cons based on their personal life situation and then decide.
Some of the funds would be better spent on grass roots projects with mid- and long-term goals… such as education.