In 2007, Clare Lockhart gave an amazing talk at the Aspen Ideas festival. You can view the talk from the festival website. (Clare starts her talk at 4:45 of the video.)
I first saw this video several years ago, when I knew a lot less about international development, and I was duly impressed. I have to tell you that even now I still reflect on and return to this talk regularly.
Lockhart speaks with extraordinary clarity about her experiences in Afghanistan, and skillfully relates several surprising stories of success—and failure—of international development efforts.
- How they efficiently switched Afghanistan to a new currency, in a very creative way, much more quickly and cost-effectively than if it had been done using a traditional UN frame.
- How they got mobile phone service, for somewhat less than the originally quoted corporate price of $1M, PER PHONE.
- How $100M of aid money literally went up in smoke.