Why foreign aid did not and will not help Africa

Watch Dambisa Moyo, former World Bank economist, discuss the failure of development policies in Africa.

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One thought on “Why foreign aid did not and will not help Africa

  1. Ed says:

    Foreign aid to Africa is nothing but a ‘dead aid’. It does Africa more harm than good. The West knows this but simply pretends to be sympathetically helping with aid. Aid programme has left Africa in a worse situation year after year. Please don’t count the trillions of dollars sent down over the years but the psychological effect of perpetual dependence aid creates. Aid kills initiative and innovative ability; it causes laziness and a loss of self confidence and direction. I agree in all forms and substance with Dambisa’s intelligent explanations of aid to Africa. Many African’s especially those in the Diaspora are already aware of the underlying destructive tendencies of aid. Although I’ve not read ‘Dead Aid’ but have listened to the Youtube interview and now I am eager to read the book. Perhaps what is left to be added to the ‘toxic aid’ to Africa is the type of aid from Africans living outside Africa to their relatives back home. Don’t be shocked to know that about 2 or more children in an African family of 5 children are living abroad. The effect of Africa emigrants sending money back home is huge but negative. To the ordinary mind this may sound silly but the following may prove the point:
    1. Money is continually remitted to Africa from abroad and due to currency value differences is just sufficient for many families to survive on a daily basis. So many families have left their subsistence farming and moved from their villages to the cities to compound urban problems
    2. The senders of money are equally left in a situation whereby they are just able to meet their daily needs abroad, unable to think of or live better life. For example they are unable to maintain a good bank account to be invested in private businesses or use for the purchase of something important. In some instances, money remitted has created a rift between the sender and the receiver in cases where the receiver have misappropriated the money intended for the sender’s important project like a house.
    3. In some African countries, many families are able to live comfortably on money from abroad, providing themselves with accommodation, electricity by generators, water from boreholes etc. This situation has left many African governments with no responsibilities towards their people hence the freedom to loot national treasuries for Western banks.
    The issue is not to say aid should not go to Africa, but the question is, in what form? If the Advance World really wants to help Africa to come out of poverty I guess they know what to do. In case they don’t, here are some tips:
    1. Stop African leaders from keeping looted money (and other African treasures) in your banks. If they have no place to store their stolen goods and money, they will at least have a limit for how much they steal. By allowing African leaders to keep money in your banks, you are helping them to loot their countries treasury awaiting when things fall apart between these leaders and their people resulting in the eventual loss of the huge fund in foreign economies.
    2. Invest your aid by creating production companies in Africa or through FDI. This will further create employment and bring technological development nearer to the people. When this happens employed people will need no more aid in form of food or medicines. And by the way the aid in form of goods to Africa is actually given to the companies that manufactured the goods in Europe or North America where the money is used to drive R&D, technology and create employment. Africa in this case is only being made a perpetual consumer continent. But this is not development rather dependence. So Africa wants to be productive and not just consumptive. On this note the usual no infrastructural facilities, no encouraging economic or social political frameworks inviting investment into Africa should not be tendered as these are areas for business investment as well. So go there do something positive with mutual benefit and technological transfer in mind and NOT EXPLOITATION.
    3. Support African intellectuals instead of criticising them as Dambisa said in her interview. African intellectuals should collect themselves into active group that will have a remarkable impact on the governance and fine tuning of economics principles of Africa as well as the world view of the continent. They should be able to preach the proper economic models that suit Africa situations and not necessarily to copy what works in other economies because they may not deliver in Africa. We all saw what happened in the case of Structural Adjustment Programmes in a few African States like Nigeria.
    4. Help reboot African educational systems by extending exchange and scholarship programmes to more students and lecturers in African institution. Institutional reengineering in vital to African development and self-sustainability. Therefore invest in building African schools at all levels through materials and books donations and construction of schools, research encouragement etc. Help Africans learn more about African problems and solutions inside of Africa. The onus is THINK AFRICA, THINK YOUR PRIDE; REGAIN YOUR CONFIDENCE AND TACKLE YOUR PROBLEMS HEAD-ON. It’s about complete cultural re-orientation. You can’t continue to think other societies being better than yours and at the same time attempting to solve your problems.
    Africans in the Diaspora need to start thinking going back home with what positive education and experiences they have acquired abroad. They should think about how to make some positive impact in their various localities no matter how small such impact may be. As for those able young Africans still think abroad, there is no need to continue to support continental brain drain and African labour market depletion to the rest of the world. We should begin to focus on how to tackle African problems – mind you, we are the owners of the continent and only we can truly solve the problems of the region; our looting leaders are our parents, uncles and whatever, we had better started telling them enough is enough.
    For the wide-spread readership of ‘Dead Aid’ I suggest it should be made compulsory in all African universities and the concept of self-dependence, accepting responsibility for actions, anti-corruption practices and respect for life and others’ rights be thought right from the kindergartens because African educational systems urgently need reinvention. I’ll be glad to meet Dambisa one day in my life.

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