The Afropolitan Network

By Greg Mills

Published: November 2, 2007
International Herald Tribune
Johannesburg

'Let's have a test," challenged a colleague recently in Rwanda, "as to what NGO Landcruiser next arrives in the parking lot."

It was no joke. The parking lot of any upmarket restaurant in any
African capital speaks volumes about the neo-imperial game being played
out in Africa.

Four-wheel-drive after four-wheel-drive emblazoned with the logo of some donor agency or children's charity jostle for space.

The humanitarians are not hard to spot in person either. Usually
white, generally loud, they prefer a shabby-chic uniform of T-shirt,
jeans and sandals. But they are more powerful and usually less benign
than they appear.

Sitting recently in the Café Bourbon in the smart, new shopping
precinct of Kigali opened my eyes (and ears) to some of the
implications. "We must just transfer the $8.5 million," rasped the
American working for a prominent NGO.

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