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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Development Discussion Group

For several years now, I have been coordinating a book club that is focused on literary fiction (more details on the book club are discussed in another post). In 2009, Dambisa Moyo's book, Dead Aid was all the rage and being discussed everywhere -- be it on CNN, BBC, in universities, offices and street corners. The blogosphere was not spared either. A number of my friends and some book club members approached me about discussing her book. A special meeting was scheduled to do just that. What ensued was a lively and stimulating discussion.

I don't want to spend too long on that meeting, but generally we agreed that the aid dependency needs to end. It's true that African governments are not accountable to citizens but to donors. We need to do something. Almost everyone disagreed that China is our friend. The benevolent dictator that she puts forward is an interesting and tempting concept. The question is, how do you know when to stop? we have many examples of leaders who started off well but have ended up as dictators who are reluctant to let go of the sweetness of power. Yoweri Museveni anyone? Is not Paul Kagame dangerously close to leaning toward this path also?

After such a great debate, we asked ourselves what next? There were so many development issues we wanted to discuss and yet we did not have a forum. This is how the Development Discussion Group was born. Our ethos is as follows:

The group is open to anyone who is interested in the development of Zambia, of Africa and of the individual people who make up this nation and continent.
The group aims to discuss individual, social and economic development to foster growth, learning, inspiration and change. Firstly, at an individual level and secondly in our various spheres of influence, be it work, home or play.

The group is an informal gathering of people who care about the direction our people and our nation is going in and who want to do something  about it. We aim to go beyond ranting, raving and complaining to instead put forward solutions to our problems, share opportunities to make a difference and turn up the volume on our successes as individuals and as a nation.
The group follows the book club model, where there is a predetermined topic that people must read-up on or research before the meeting. This is intended to promote informed discussion and avoid emotional outbursts, 
people coming to give their opinion, pontificate or argue with others.  

You can sign up to the yahoo group by emailing  You can also join the group on Facebook using this link 

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