The Jan. 31 front-page article “A crumbling investment,” about Afghanistan’s Highway One, was not news to development practitioners. The developing world is a graveyard to many thousands of such doomed projects, though most are not of the same scale.

Development spending would be more productive if development and aid agencies were to confine their efforts over the next five or six years mainly to enhancing institutional capacity to rehabilitate and maintain existing projects and structures.

The problem lies in the distorted meaning of development and in the sorry fact that giving and lending for new investment is a more lucrative, and easier, business for the trinity of lenders, receivers and embezzlers — a form of unspoken alliance in a merry-go-round for all concerned. 

Mehdi Al Bazzaz, Alexandria