1. I first starting working in West Africa in 1986. Back before the internet when letters would take weeks to go in either direction and phone calls cost to the US several dollars a minute. The gap betweeen Westerns and the locals wasn't just financial. Very few Africans had skills to compete with every lower level foreigners. Many organizations had foreign finanical managers, project managers, and even administrative assistants. Twenty years later, there are far fewer expat jobs and foreign organizations find themselves competing directly with local ones. Despite the declining skills gap, the US and Europe have maintained a much higher standard of living than Africa, Asia, and the rest of the Americas.