Africa: it is time to stop being fooled by Western aid

The London Evening Standard published in its edition of Tuesday January 25th, 2011, figures showing levels of debts of UK and US. The former is at £2.3 trillions and the latter at $14 trillions. If you write these amounts in their numbers equivalent they become £2,300,000,000,000 and $14,000,000,000,000. It is millions of pounds or dollars multiplied by million times. It’s huge. In the case of UK, the level of public borrowing is equivalent to 154% of the country’s entire output or Gross Domestic Product (GDP). With such level of public borrowing these countries and others in the West allow themselves to use a tiny fraction of these colossal amounts of money to keep through aid (including its affiliated instruments – IMF and WB loans) the majority of African countries economically and politically dependent. The strategy has worked for many decades at the expense of African development. And it is far from being disregarded. Why would it be? Who does it benefit? Maybe you could guess and be surprised to find that beneficiaries of aid are rather racketeers both in the West and the continent all different from people mainstream western media claim to be.

In reference to the level of borrowing of the West, in 2008, McKinsey Global Institute reported that Africa’s collective GDP was $1.6 trillions, roughly equal to Brazil’s or Russia’s. In 2020, African GDP is expected to reach $2.6 trillions. With this level of continental output, could Africa set up a kind of Marshall Plan, 100% owned and controlled by African governments, which would aim at funding critical sectors (transcontinental railways and roads, major ports and airports, energy and telecommunication infrastructures, technology centres, schools and universities of excellence, harmonisation of economic policies among African countries, continental security forces, creative and innovative industries, etc). The outcome of the plan would be to free African countries from Western bondage and dependence, as they would only be counting on their own resources for their development. Contrary to the speculative/ hyped wealth that the West relies upon to dominate the rest of the world, African wealth is real and tangible. It is not paper based.

Facts cry out to any rational mind and demonstrate that African countries are being fooled by Western aid. Through aid their providers are negatively influencing the continent development. In fact, aid’s focus is not on factors which sustain countries’ prosperity. Provided aid is also being directed under donors’ terms and conditions, which are not necessarily compatible with beneficiaries’ priorities. In most cases, aid is received by rogue regimes which are unpopular and consequently don’t benefit citizens because political leaders who act like mercenaries don’t feel accountable to their citizens. These are situations where one finds that aid is oriented towards activities which serve at maintaining these regimes into power instead of improving population’s standards of living. Like at the time of slavely, when slaves’ traders borrowed money to purchase their next cargo, which would help payback after selling the goods, today Western countries, UK, US and others in the club of donors are getting in debts to enthuse African governments with aid so they can get hold of their natural resources cheaply. With the proceeds from the transformation of these resources they can repay their debts. Is this generosity or a malicious capitalist scum which causes millions of African victims?

African countries should be bold enough to say no to aid. It is a new revolution which needs to be fought as any other that the continent has faced in the past and or may encounter in the future. Aid which should from then on only be conceived under an African Marshall type plan would be acceptable unless it responds to countries’ priorities, individually and collectively. It should benefit nationals and not its providers. On this matter, for example, any aid which would not employ 100% of nationals and or has more than 5% of administrative costs should be rejected. The focus is on the African Marshal type plan. In the same line of reforming the relationship between the West and Africa, at the time when Western highly indebted countries are looking at Africa as their solution to their financial difficulties, the next frontier because of its multiple and untapped opportunities, any business contract involving a Western partner which would not have among its project team at least a third of its members being from African descent should be rejected. It has been proven that remittances from African migrants were higher than aid. Since they are more effective in alleviating poverty in Africa, the strategy would help to increase their importance. It could be argued that as a consequence of such policy, the West could still have a significant advantage as master of the technology which would be part of the contract, and therefore overestimate its value. This could be assessed by third and neutral parties to the contract.

LET’S STOP BEING FOOLED ANY LONGER

Get up Stand Up, Stand Up for your rights
Get up Stand up, Don’t give up the fight
You can fool some people sometimes
But you can’t fool all people all the time
Bob Marley

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