Market Intervention Changes Lives

As I stared into the gloomy room all I could see were the eyes of people at the meeting, eyes that were full of hope but also reflected the hard times they had lived through in their drought-ridden land. An infinite variety of flying insects were competing for a place around the four paraffin lamps that provided light at the meeting of co-op members that night. A co-operative officer addressed the meeting, first reading out each of the rules of their society and then explaining the purpose of the rule.

It was 1966, I had arrived a few days earlier in the British Protectorate of Bechuanaland, which was soon to become the Republic of Botswana. I was to run the Botswana Co-operative Development Trust that was funded by an advance from OXFAM.

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