Uzodinma Iweala
Author
01:43

African Development All-stars

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Iweala hopes that more new voices are added to the list of those working on development in Africa.

Uzodinma Iweala

Uzodinma (Uzo) Iweala is the author of Beasts of No Nation. The novel, his debut, came out of his undergraduate thesis work at Harvard and was conducted under the supervision of writer Jamaica Kincaid. Iweala, born in 1982, hails from Washington, D.C. and Nigeria. Beasts of No Nation, which depicts a child soldier in an unnamed African country,was published in 2005 to considerable critical acclaim. In 2007, Iweala was named one of Granta magazine's 20 best young American novelists. Iweala's mother, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, is the former Finance Minister and Foreign Minister of Nigeria. Iweala is now a medical student at Columbia University.
Transcript

Question: What do you think of the African Development Allstars?

Uzodinma Iweala: I mean I can’t . . . I can’t . . . I don’t think I have any license or any rights to try and say that, “This is good,” or, “This is not good,” because that’s not my field, and I don’t really understand economics in any way that will allow me to comment. What I do hope, if I . . . if I will say one thing, I . . . that’s _________ critical is that I do hope that new voices from these places are allowed to comment on how these situations should be changed. Because for each of the people that you mentioned . . . I mean Paul Collier is British. Jeff Sachs is American. Bill Easterly is American. Obviously phenomenally smart guys with ideas. There are also phenomenally smart guys and women with ideas about how Africa can change; about how the different countries in Africa and different societies in Africa can change who are from the place. Again it’s an issue of media access. And I think that bringing up more voices to add to the debate, to the argument . . . You know I guess everybody is always talking about how Bill Easterly and Jeff Sachs don’t get along. But you know add more voices to that debate and have more people not get along, and see what you get from resolving those differences. But make sure that those voices also come from the place that people are writing about. That’s all I have to say; but you know I’m not going to say anything about whether, you know, increasing spending on this or decreasing spending on that . . . like I don’t know too much about that because I haven’t studied economics. Maybe . . . maybe God grants me a long enough life I will. I don’t know. I’ll make my comments.

Recorded on: 10/7/07

 

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