Monday, 20 October 2008
rewarding the winners
So, is it a better idea to reward winners rather than censuring or giving encouragement to the losers?
Two things have got me pondering.
The first is the news today that Botswana's ex-president Festus Mogae has been awarded a US$5-million prize, designed to encourage good governance, because he stepped down after two terms in office. (Ag shame, Thabo... if the JZ-erites had just left you alone for a few more months, you could have been in line for the prize next year). He also gets $200 000 a year for the rest of his life.
You can read about it here
The second was a meeting I attended on Friday where Clem Sunter was teaching a group of health executives about scenario planning. Fascinating stuff, and I'll write about it here later, but more pertinant to this discussion was his recounting of how the Anglo American Chairman's fund rewards pockets of excellence in our education system.
"We give money to the winners," he said. "Those schools that are achieving good results get funding. That creates and incentive for the losers to improve."
"Does that mean that the poor get poorer?" he was asked.
"No, its often the poorest schools that get the money because they have a good principal," he said. "I've seen schools that have no proper classrooms leading the way academically because of the dedication of a good principal."
Maybe that's the problem with aid to Africa. The cash tends to keep pouring in, even if its not being properly managed or distributed. So the idea of rewarding the winners seems like a good one.
But I'm still worried about the prize Festus got. (Admit it... you can't read that name without thinking of the Addams Family...)I understand it is a great incentive, but what does it say about leaders in Africa that it has to be there at all?