Short Travel Notes

At my final breakfast at Afex camp this morning two of my colleagues were laughing at some of the silly things people do on the Internet, such as feeding fish and growing crops etc. When I returned to the table with another cup of coffee, they were both staring intently at (I thought) the Nile next to us. Adam noted that, “they are moving at different rates.” Richard replied “and moving in opposite directions. I wonder how they will pass each other?” Adam suggested, “let’s bet on which group goes over the other.” I strained to see what it was they were talking about and could see only the usual uprooted plants floating down the river, all in the same direction.

What are you talking about, I asked. The ants on the string, they replied. Just next to us in the open air dinning hall was a string fence to prevent people from taking a short cut through the garden. Two long lines of ants were walking along the top of the string in opposite directions. Maybe feeding fish on the Internet is not so wacko after all.

On my flight a few hours later from Juba to Nairobi I came across a quote in The Standard (a Nairobi newspaper) that I can’t resist sharing:  “Tanzania’s culture of skepticism and mistrust of Kenya has been going on for over four decades. The late Julius Nyerere, the founding President of Tanzania, once described the capitalist-aligned and aggressive Kenya as a ‘Man eat man society’. [Kenyan] Attorney General Charles Njonjo retorted by terming the then socialist Tanzania a ‘Man eat nothing society.’”

About wcoats

I specialize in advising central banks on monetary policy and the development of the capacity to formulate and implement monetary policy.  I joined the International Monetary Fund in 2003 from which I retired in 2003 as Assistant Director of the Monetary and Financial Systems Department. While at the IMF I led or participated in missions to the central banks of over twenty countries (including Afghanistan, Bosnia, Croatia, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgystan, Moldova, Serbia, Turkey, West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Zimbabwe) and was seconded as a visiting economist to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (1979-80), and to the World Bank's World Development Report team in 1989.  After retirement from the IMF I was a member of the Board of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority from 2003-10 and of the editorial board of the Cayman Financial Review from 2010-2017.  Prior to joining the IMF I was Assistant Prof of Economics at UVa from 1970-75.  I am currently a fellow of Johns Hopkins Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health, and the Study of Business Enterprise.  In March 2019 Central Banking Journal awarded me for my “Outstanding Contribution for Capacity Building.”  My most recent book is One Currency for Bosnia: Creating the Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I have a BA in Economics from the UC Berkeley and a PhD in Economics from the University of Chicago. My dissertation committee was chaired by Milton Friedman and included Robert J. Gordon.
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