As director of the Millennium Village Project in Rwanda and co-Founder of the “prosperity creating’ organization” Rwanda Works, Josh Ruxin has seen first-hand which economic development policies and practices are actually proving successful, and which continue to miss their marks.
For example, far from being the “panacea” of poverty, Ruxin is quick to point out that the much-praised microfinance loan facilitators such as Kiva.org have a few “dirty little secrets:” they are extremely costly and ill-suited for the specific needs of sub-Saharan countries. Plus, they distract from what is most necessary for sustained prosperity—“the opportunity to help them grow as entrepreneurs and invest in their ability to learn management and their ability to run businesses.”
As Ruxin describes, in Rwanda and many other developing countries, the most urgent and ultimately promising sector for investment is the agribusiness—an industry that, once developed, could greatly benefit a variety of other areas in society. Ruxin also describes the similarly acute need for investment in family planning, urging Obama to begin funding women’s reproductive rights measures in Rwanda and developing countries across the world to avoid the imminent and widespread perils of “out of control” population growth.