Vit Hassan/Flickr

Waarom Bill Gates het bij het verkeerde eind heeft

NEW YORK – In zijn recensie van het met fouten gevulde en gedateerde boek van Nina Munk neemt Bill Gates op een vreemde manier afstand van zijn rigoureuze benadering van metingen en evaluatie die het onschatbare werk van zijn stichting definieert. Hij accepteert eenvoudigweg de aanname van Munk dat het Milennium Villages Project (een ontwikkelingsproject dat loopt in meer dan 20 Afrikaanse landen) mislukt is. In werkelijkheid bloeit het echter.

Deze naïviteit roept vragen op. Het boek van Munk gaat alleen maar over een fractie van het eerste halve jaar van een project van 10 jaar en slechts over 2 van de 12 dorpen. En ze heeft nooit ‘voor langere tijd in de Millennium Villages gewoond’. Munk bracht in werkelijkheid een gemiddelde van rond de 6 dagen per jaar (ongeveer 36 dagen in 6 jaar) door met het bezoeken van de dorpen en gewoonlijk voor zo’n 2 tot 3 dagen. Bovendien kwam ze tot dit verhaal als reporter van het tijdschrift Vanity Fair, zonder enige training of ervaring in volksgezondheid, landbouwkunde, economie of Afrikaanse ontwikkeling.

Wat erger is is dat de observaties van Munk vaak op zijn zachtst gezegd enorm lijken te zijn overdreven voor een dramatisch effect. Denkt Bill Gates nou echt dat ik bepaalde gewassen heb gepromoot zonder me er zorgen over te maken of er een markt voor was, of dat ik geen nationale belastingen in overweging heb genomen in mijn voortdurende advies aan regeringsleiders? Bovendien werden de landbouwstrategieën en keuzes in het MVP geleid door Afrikaanse landbouwkundigen, waaronder de beste van Afrika, die vaak nauw samenwerkten met Bill’s eigen landbouwstaf van de Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

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