Norway

Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, standing tall in the night - Erik Winther 2012
My colleague Angelica and I visited Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur, KL, last weekend (and our friend Johanna of course!). Despite the fact that Malaysia’s labour force is just a third of Thailand’s, their economy (GDP) is almost as big. The difference is obvious when strolling downtown; Thailand’s sidewalk-life with hawker stalls and salesmen all over is completely gone.

Just as Norway and unlike Thailand, nature gave Malaysia oil. Black, shiny liquid gold. It rarely get as obvious as on the border between oil-rich Brunei and rural Sabah; even though Sabah belongs to Malaysia. But what characterizes non-renewable finite resources, such as oil, is that today’s consumption rates are in practice borrowing wealth from coming generations as the resources’ reproduction rates are much slower.

Thus a great deal of consideration should be made when regulating the usage of natural resources. In that sense is Malaysia far behind Norway, as they spend 30% of the oil’s value as soon as is pumped up to the surface. Norway, indeed having far higher living standard and a GDP per capita ten times as high as Malaysia, are spending barely 2% of the value and put the remaining value in two sovereign wealth funds (known as the Oil Fund); which happen to be the world’s most valuable funds.

Picture from a previous KL-visit in December 2011.

Petroleum

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Landfill worker in Accra - Erik Winther 2012
I signed an agreement a few days ago, making me Scandinavia’s Volunteer Coordinator for the NGO Solid Rock Association. I have mentioned them here in the blog earlier, and the part of their social contribution that I am most happy about is the ICT education. The organization teaches Accra’s poorest children how to use a computer; which most of them have neither seen nor used before.

George Osei-Waree and Fred Abban, both successful Ghanaian entrepreneurs with careers in west, have returned to Accra and are now starting a non-profit organization that help Ghanaian ICT students becoming experts in their field.

Both organizations are in constant need of devices such as computers and mobile phones, so before you throw away your replaced equipment; contact me and I’ll do my best to get it down to people I know do a good job for Africans. Africans, such as the guy I photographed in his “home” on the landfill.

Give your old mobile and laptop to Africa

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Now, it isn’t like we have found something unknown or unexpected. But the there is a problem: most westerners do not know, which is why there is a need to shed light over the continent. Let me share a quote:

“There’s actually development here. There’s actually projects that need funding and could be really amazing if you actually take those seriously and realize that there’s actually potential here”
– Breezy V, an African rapper who recently made a song about Africans giving aid to freezing Norwegians by donating radiators.

Others’ perspective

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