In this article we will be discussing the devastating reality about foreign development aid in Africa. An unfamiliar picture of the future of Africa. By the end of this article you will determine if the foreign aid organizations are blessings or curses to the African Continent. And also conclude if Africa can survive without development aid or not.
Have you ever wondered like me, “despite the billions of dollars that have been poured into Africa, why are there lot of poor people still”? Why are there so many poor people scattered here and there despite the huge funding by aid organizations like WHO, UN etc?
As surprising as it may sound to you, the good intentions of the industrialized nations of the West to eliminate hunger and poverty in the least developed countries of Africa have been damaging Africa for the past 40 years.
I want to draw your attention to a different Africa which you might not be quite familiar with. One which the government, schools or our parents have never told us about.
You think that the industrial nations are doing Africa a huge favor when they send us aid during major disasters? You have to think again.
The development aid has done more evil to Africa than good. As huge bureaucracies are financed with the aid money, corruption and complacency are promoted among politicians. Unfortunately, Africans are seen as poor beggars and not independent. And the one that gives me more concern is that development aid weakens the local markets and kills the spirit of entrepreneurship we so much need in Africa.
As crazy as it sounds, development aid is the biggest problem of Africa. This may sound a bit controversial to many people but let me put it to you that if the industrialized nations were to cancel these aid money, you and I wouldn’t even notice. Only the officials and their fattened pockets will notice it. Little wonder they often cry the most for foreign aid when Africa has a major disaster.
Let’s take Kenya as a case study: whenever there’s a drought in a region of Kenya, the corrupt politicians cry out for more help rather than ask themselves, what can we do? Even with all that aid, people are still starving to death each year. You ask, what’s the problem? Aren’t they helped enough? Unless Kenyans arise to help their own people, they will forever hold out a begging bowl.
And when this plea reaches the United Nations World Food Program, they willingly accept to help. Why? Because if they eventually eliminates hunger from Africa, they’ll be faced with unemployment. To stay in “business”, they usually demand a little more money than the respective African government actually demanded. They then forward that request to their headquarters, and before long, thousands of tons of corn is shipped to Africa.
A portion of the corn goes directly to the corrupt politicians who then share it to their tribe to boost their next political campaign and another portion goes to the black market which is sold for a very cheap price. And of course, since local farmers cannot compete with UN World Food Program, they are forced to drop their hoe down. This means that Kenya will have no reserve to draw on if there actually were a famine next year. And the cycle goes on and on and on.
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Would the people of Africa starve if the World Food Program stop sending “corn”? I don’t think so, Now what would they do in such seemingly helpless situation? African nations will be forced to initiate trade relations among themselves. And the benefits of such relationship are that Africa will improve their own infrastructure, while making national borders and also establish laws favoring a market economy. Can Africa do it? Of course, Hunger should not even be a problem when we have vast natural resources like oil, gold, diamond, etc.
It is pathetic that Africa is always seen as troubled, suffering and diseased continent. Sadly, these figures are over exaggerated. The Western nations think Africa would perish without development aid. Hello! Let me remind someone here that Africa existed long before the Europeans came along. And guess what? We were not doing that poorly.
Another case study: Do you know that AIDS is ‘big business’, perhaps Africa’s biggest business. The figures and statistics about AIDS in Africa is horrifying. But if one were to believe all of that reports, then all Africans should be dead already. For instance, it was reported that three million Kenyans are infected but later a thorough test reveals one million. Who is deceiving who?
AIDS is a “political disease in Africa, and we all should be skeptical of the things we read on blogs and websites, especially, government owned. It will surprise you to know that millions of dollars earmarked for the “fight against AIDS” are still stashed away in different Banks across Africa and have not been spent. Who owns them then? Politicians of course. I think Jean Bedel Bokassa (late tyrant of the Central African Republic) was right when he said, “The French Government pays for everything in our country. We ask the French for money. We get it, and then waste it”.
Each year, the compassionate citizens of the Western world pack their old clothes, shoes and bags and flood the African market with them. Come to Nigeria here, people prefer to buy these old “quality” items more than the locally made ones because of the cheap price.
But Why? Do we really need these mountains of clothes? No one seems to be freezing in Africa. Instead the local tailors, cloths store owners and employees lose their source of income. Same with the farmers. Won’t it be super nice if the huge amount of money donated to buy items like the mosquito nets sent to Africa is invested in local bed-net manufacturers, who in turn would create employment for thousands of people who can then feed and educate their families? Of course they can. But there are other secret agendas. The aid agencies have to be in “business”.
For Africa to be successful in social and economic development, we must stop seeing ourselves as victims in need of charity. In order to change the current perception of Africa and Africans, it would be really helpful if the aid organizations were to stop and pull out, and the media (especially the international media houses) would portray Africa as it really is, not as a disaster zone. If they really want to fight poverty, they should completely stop development aid and give Africa the opportunity and the assistance it needs to ensure its own survival.
Africa should stop seeing herself as a spoilt child who only cries to her nanny when something goes wrong. Aid agencies and organizations should teach Africa how to fish and not give us the fish.
In the exact word of Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta,
“The future of our continent cannot be left to the good graces of outside interests. Dependency on giving that only appears to be charitable must end. Foreign aid, which so often carries terms and conditions that prelude progress is not an acceptable basis for prosperity and freedom. It is time to give it up.
Image source: sos-childrensvillages.org