Needed: Swiss Gold Standard for Good Government

14Jun11

Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf says, “Africa is not poor.  It is poorly managed.”  A rich country like the U.S. could, in theory, go in and set up systems and guidelines for good government.  But the credibility of the U.S. has been strained, and the American experience in Iraq has eroded the desire and trust in American nation-building efforts.

This is not the case with Switzerland.  That country could lend its imprimatur to a world-class set of best practices in nation-building, implemented by Swiss-trained administrators overseeing qualified multinational employees within a Halliburton of the nonprofit world.  Start small, by setting achievable goals to upgrade the capabilities of a nation that has some prospect of succeeding (e.g., Ghana); build experience and reputation; develop contacts and resources; and in a few years, move on to a slightly bigger challenge.  Within two or three decades, this organization could have a half-dozen success stories under its belt, and may have had an outsized impact upon the goals and processes that shape new and struggling nations.

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