Letter: How Africa uses World Bank aid

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The Independent Online
Sir: Michael Taylor (letter, 24 October) is right to draw attention to the constraints on Third World countries undergoing World Bank and International Monetary Fund redevelopment programmes. Appeals by Third World leaders for First World investment have gone unheeded, especially since 1989, when the possibility of investment in Eastern bloc countries began to offer itself.

However, straitened circumstances raise the question of priorities, and in the case of Zambia education has never been high on President Chiluba's list. At his first public meeting in London, soon after his sweeping electoral victory, he was pressed about his plans to repair the education service that had performed so well in the immediate post-independence decade. His answer was that he saw openings for private investment and missionaries, hardly an answer to build confidence in potential investors.

In modern times, who is going to invest in a country in which a public education service is an insignificant part of the infrastructure? It is arguable that in the case of South Africa the absolute need of industry and commerce for a better educated workforce was a strong disincentive to continue with apartheid.

Yours faithfully, DAVID WALLACE Hove, East Sussex 24 October