A Blank Stare

I’m a little surprised this NYT story by Jeffrey Gettleman hasn’t been noted at Natural Security. It’s about an innovative aid project in Sauri, Kenya that seems to be a big success.  Because the Sauri initiative is among the first of 80 “showcase” projects dreamed up by Jeffrey Sachs, the implications of its success are huge. Gettleman wastes little time in examining the bigger picture:

But the question for Mr. Sachs and his team remains: Is this progress, in development-speak, scalable? In other words, is there a way to take a place like this one and magnify the results by 1,000 times or 10,000 times and wipe out poverty across the developing world?

What follows after that is an interesting capsule debate on the relative merits and pitfalls of foreign aid in developing countries.

And if none of that is enough to pique the interest of environmental security bloggers, the story’s kicker should, which pivots to Sachs discussing the links between poverty and terrorism:

A few years ago, Mr. Sachs said, he came back from Yemen, which has recently become a haven for Al Qaeda, and spoke to American officials about how the country was “broken by hunger, water-stress, disease and poverty” and “sliding closer to the cliff.”

“I told our government all about this,” he said. “But all I got back was a blank stare.”

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