Privatization & Procurement
On Monday, the Justice Department unsealed its case against five Blackwater private security guards, built largely around testimony from a sixth guard about the 2007 shootings that left 17 unsuspecting Iraqi civilians dead at a busy Baghdad traffic circle.
A damning report on Mittal Steel's acquisition of an impoverished African country's iron ore reserves is published today, accusing the world's largest steelmaker of offering an inequitable "raw deal" that has created an unaccountable "state within a state".
Plans for the Don Sahong dam in southern Laos have come under renewed fire from environmental activists. This week activists boycotted a regional consultation on the dam, just eight weeks after filing a formal request for an investigation of Mega First Corporation, the company that has the construction contract.
Like other government functions, U.S. foreign aid and reconstruction largely has been privatized. USAID now turns to contractors to fulfill its basic mission of fighting poverty and promoting democracy. CorpWatch's 2006 "Afghanistan, Inc" documented problems with Chemonics and other contractors operating in Afghanistan.
TED Global 2007 is one small skirmish in a larger ideological conflict between those who believe that Africa needs more and better international aid, and those who think entrepreneurialism and technology will lift the continent out of poverty and thus reduce its miseries.