Carsten ten Brink/Flickr

Pourquoi Jeffrey Sachs est-il un homme important ?

SEATTLE – La star Bono a un jour expliqué considérer Jeffrey Sachs comme l’un de ces économistes qui « savent se faire entendre. » Pour moi, Sachs est une sorte de Bono de l’économie – un homme à l’intelligence, à la passion, et à la puissance de persuasion impressionnante, consacrant ses talents à une sensibilisation de l’opinion autour de la condition des populations les plus pauvres de la planète. C’est pourquoi je n’ai pas été surpris qu’une journaliste ait récemment fait de Sachs le personnage irrésistiblement central de son livre – une bonne manière d’attirer le lecteur autour de ce sujet a priori peu mobilisateur que constitue le développement international.

Dans son ouvrage intitulé The Idealist, l’écrivain Nina Munk, de Vanity Fair, dresse un portrait subtil de Jeffrey Sachs tout en s’intéressant à son projet « Villages du Millénaire » (PVM) – initiative destinée, pour un montant de 120 millions $, à démontrer au monde qu’il est possible d’extraire les villages africains de la pauvreté au travers du déploiement massif d’aides ciblées. Il aurait été plus facile pour Munk, et sans doute plus vendeur, de présenter une caricature de l’économiste en accentuant les caractéristiques négatives de Sachs au détriment de ses formidables compétences. Ce n’est cependant pas le choix de la journaliste.

Munk a effectué six années de recherches dans la rédaction de son livre, apprenant à connaître Sachs et séjournant pendant de longues périodes au sein de deux des 15 Villages du Millénaire. Elle a ainsi été en mesure d’apprécier pleinement l’importance et la difficulté de ce que s’efforcent d’accomplir Jeffrey Sachs et son équipe.

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