Monday, March 3

Aid to Africa

The Brookings Institution's Homi Kharas takes a critical look at the record of U.S. aid to Africa under George Bush. Among his points:
  • European Union countries gave four times as much aid to sub-Saharan Africa in 2006;
  • U.S. economic assistance to Africa pales in comparison to its assistance to Iraq and Afghanistan;
  • Not much U.S. assistance actually goes to promoting what Africans list as their development priorities - job creation, agricultural support, infrastructure. Far more is spent on health and food aid. Though those things are nice too.
Kharas doesn't really take up the question, posed most prominently by his Brookings colleague William Easterly, of whether more aid would actually help things.

In a Wall Street Journal piece from a few days back, John McKinnon contrasts the American approach to African aid with that of China - whose assistance does focus on developing infrastructure.

Meanwhile, a former British high commissioner to Kenya, Edward Clay, criticizes Britain for spending so much on development (through DfID) than on old-fashioned foreign policy (through the FCO). (Financial Times).

1 comment:

tmsruge said...

Here we go again!

In the 30+ years that the Africa aid phenomenon has been going on, over 650 billion dollars has been given to Africa. As a regular visitor, I have yet to see the evidence of what that money has done.

Rwanda happened, Darfur happened, Uganda's north happened, Mobutu happened.

Africa does not need aid. When did everybody forget that Africa existed in perfect harmony before Vasco da Gamma and his cronnies beget Colonialism. We were perfectly fine. Then the west decides... ooooh, let's carve up this dark continent and spread modernization, introduce governance and democracy... lets civilize these monkies.

Centuries of pillaging later, guilt sets in and everybody decides let's write guilty checks. That'll fix what we jacked up. Except that little exercise creates massive dependency and addiction. Now Africa has been duped into believing it needs aid, it needs food. Entire generations grow up begging from the Muzungu.

Stop the madness! I for one agree with Andrew Mwenda. Stop with the checks! It's a noose to keep us off the economic negotiating table and to keep us from rising like we should...