Fancy Schools
Monday, February 27, 2012
Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson

Where do you think this fancy school is located?

 Where could such a Fancy School be?

Not in the United States. Not on a Greek island, financed by tourism revenues and EU funds. It is in Sierra Leone, one of the poorest countries in the world with about 1/50 of the income per capita of the US, where only 41% of the adult population can read and write. But it is not in Freetown, the capital city, nor is in Bo, the next biggest city and capital of the south. Indeed, it is not in any of the major urban centers. It is a small village, Yoni in Bombali district. It was recently built there by China Aid. Why would anyone want to build a wonderful school in the middle of what Africans call “the bush”?

Here is a hint: Yoni is the home village of Sierra Leone’s president, Ernest Bai Koroma. The next photo shows a bit more of Yoni. Everyone has a new house.

 Everyone has a new house in Yoni

Those readers living in affluent western countries may not be impressed by these houses but by the standards of rural Africa they are palaces. Could the fact that such fancy schools and houses are being built in the president’s village, while most villages have no school and most villagers live in a decrepit houses be related to why Sierra Leone is so poor?

Article originally appeared on Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson (http://whynationsfail.com/).
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