Monday, June 06, 2005

Today's Hoot!

Mark Steyn:
According to the World Bank's Doing Business report, in Canada it takes two days to incorporate a company; in Mozambique, it takes 153 days. And Mozambique's company law has been unchanged since 1888. In the midst of the unending demands that Bush do this, Blair do that, do more, do it now, would it be unreasonable to suggest that, after 117 years, the government of Mozambique might also be obligated to do something about its regulatory regime?

Meanwhile, next door in Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe's government is being given hundreds of thousands of tons of emergency supplies from the UN's World Food Programme. At the press conference, James Morris, head of the WFP, was at pains to emphasise that the famine was all due to drought and Aids, and certainly nothing to do with Mr Mugabe's stewardship of the economy. Some of us remember that during the 2002 G8 summit, also devoted to Africa, Zimbabwe's government ordered commercial farmers to cease all operations.

But still neither the UN nor his fellow African leaders will hear a word against Mr Mugabe. Listening to Mr Morris, the old monster must have laughed so hard his Chinese-made rubber penis fell off. (A popular Harare rumour, which I mention only in the hopes that old 1970s supergroups will organise a "Codpieces for Africa" fundraiser. It's outrageous that dictators should have to make do with these cheapjack Chinese models.)
Gosh, I'd contribute! But there's a serious punchline:
The issue in Africa in every one of its crises - from economic liberty to Aids - is government. Until the do-gooders get serious about that, their efforts will remain a silly distraction.