Good Jobs | February 14, 2017

Are development experts tackling the wrong problems?

The team at


№1 among the 2030 global Sustainable Development Goals is “end poverty in all its forms everywhere.” Efosa Ojomo at the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation says we’re going about it all wrong. The current emphasis on poverty alleviation, versus prosperity creation, means that “while we might alleviate poverty, we don’t do much else,” Ojomo says.

Compare a failing toilet initiative in India with the booming mobile-money market in Kenya, Ojomo suggests.

The government’s Clean India campaign committed to provide toilets to more than 60 million Indian households by 2019.

More than two years and 10 million toilets later, few Indians are using the toilets.

In Kenya, M-Pesa was adopted by more than 19 million Kenyans because it was a better way to manage payments. And it reduced poverty, to boot.

“How might the development community be transformed if we simply asked — how can we best create prosperity in poor countries?” Ojomo asks.

Photo credit: Harvard Business School