OXFORD, United Kingdom — Paul Collier, Development Economist at Oxford University and author of the influential book, The Bottom Billion, answers The Borgen Project’s questions about global development.
1. How did you become interested in the issue of global poverty? I was the first generation in my family to have opportunities – they transformed my life. It doesn’t take much insight to realize that around the work today there are still millions of people trapped without opportunity. Nor do you need to be a saint in order to want to do something about it.
2. You’ve traveled to some rough places, which one stands out? Perhaps South Sudan – an isolate, pre-market society that has discovered oil.
3. If you could invest a billion dollars in improving the world, how would you spend it? Partly in strengthening the capacity of poor societies to harness their natural assets – they need skills, but they also need to build a critical mass of informed citizens who understand what is needed and have the information to scrutinize what goes on. Partly in improving the urbanization process – building well-functioning cities instead of slums.
4. What’s strategies to fight poverty are working best on the ground? I think that the spread of mobile phone applications like e-payments is showing enormous potential.
– Flavio Malagutti
Photo: Africacentric Live