DISCUSSION: Why do you think foreign aid is not benefiting Africa? Watch

Hen44
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I have lived in 3 African countries before. Having been there, I have seen governments receive billions of dollars in aid mostly from Europe, US and China. However, the countries I have been at and even the other 51 African countries do not show signs of development/improvement. Why do you think this is the case?

(We all know our planet so you don't have to have lived in Africa to comment. Everyone's point will be appreciated. Cheers!)
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PicardianSocialist
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Because the most important factor in economic development is not a country's resources but its institutions. North Korea is a tip. South Korea is an economic power house The difference between two is that South Korea has a solid institutional framework in which justice and the rule of law are valued. Aid will do very little for a country that suffers a corrupt government and chronic political instability, while a lack of aid is unlikely to hold back a country that does not.
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pane123
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Exactly what the poster above me said. The chances of the aid reaching the people who need it are slim to none in a lot of African countries.
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Arbolus
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Corruption. Aid given to governments gets squandered by governments, and very little of the money ever filters down to the people it's intended for. That's why charities and NGOs are so important.

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felamaslen
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Many African societies didn't really catch on to the Western enlightenment like Korea, Japan, India, America, Australia, Hong Kong etc. did. Bad governments and bad ideas create poverty and stagnation.
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The_Duck
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Foreign aid does benefit africa, hugely. But we don't and can't give enough to fix all their problems overnight.
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JohnPaul_
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(Original post by Arbolus)
Corruption. Aid given to governments gets squandered by governments, and very little of the money ever filters down to the people it's intended for. That's why charities and NGOs are so important.

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Even charities don't work. Doesn't work too great in short term and is pointless long term. Comic relief for example has given close to a billion pounds since it's start to Africa and has there been any improvement to people's lives? Not at all. It also does not help at all when the majority of people visiting these people are missionaries giving everyone a bible and telling them that children are miracles and contraception is a sin.

When the human population went down to 3-4,000, we moved north from Africa and then we flourished. Africa clearly is no place for human flourishing. If people are to stay and live out their lives in Africa, then the way the situation has been gone about is highly unproductive.


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Aurangzeb
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(Original post by felamaslen)
Many African societies didn't really catch on to the Western enlightenment like Korea, Japan, India, America, Australia, Hong Kong etc. did. Bad governments and bad ideas create poverty and stagnation.
Western enlightenment? Please.

We always tend to underplay the effect that Western imperialism has played on the state of affairs in Africa today. The examples are countless. The Belgians placing a minority in charge of Rwanda for example, and handing out I.D cards detailing ethnicity. All of this we know of course led to the Rwandan Genocide, destroying the country from the inside out. All the while, the Belgians continued to supply arms to the rival factions! So how can you expect a country so recently blighted by civil war, caused directly by colonialism, to function so well, and so quickly?

There are countless other examples. Liberia, Congo, CAR, Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia etc etc - all caused by Western Imperialism. The sort of strife and war seen today was unheard of prior to Western coming.
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felamaslen
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(Original post by Aurangzeb)
Western enlightenment? Please.

We always tend to underplay the effect that Western imperialism has played on the state of affairs in Africa today. The examples are countless. The Belgians placing a minority in charge of Rwanda for example, and handing out I.D cards detailing ethnicity. All of this we know of course led to the Rwandan Genocide, destroying the country from the inside out. All the while, the Belgians continued to supply arms to the rival factions! So how can you expect a country so recently blighted by civil war, caused directly by colonialism, to function so well, and so quickly?

There are countless other examples. Liberia, Congo, CAR, Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia etc etc - all caused by Western Imperialism. The sort of strife and war seen today was unheard of prior to Western coming.
I don't know how you can scoff so easily at centuries of human progress. Did it not occur to you that freedom is a relatively new concept in human history?

If you want to say that Africa is in the state it is, solely (or primarily) as a consequence of the Berlin conference or Leopold, then you have a few facts standing in your way.

For one thing, you are dead wrong that the "sort of strife" seen today was unheard of before the 1880s. That on its own is a laughable statement. For example, before the British outlawed slavery and enforced this law through its blockade of West Africa, virtually the entire continent was full of slaves and slavers. Today, parts of North Africa such as Sudan and Mauritania still have slavery - it is not a new thing and it is a blight on human progress. Disease was rife and polities consisted of kingdoms, not liberal democracies. People were poor and wars happened.

We can then delve a bit further into specific areas of Africa. Some are doing better than others. One of the worst is the Northern regions of Nigeria. Over the past few years, literally thousands of innocent human beings have been murdered by an Islamist organisation called Boko Haram. Are you saying this is the fault of Lugard the colonial administrator, or something? Don't be silly. This is the fault of Islamists. OK, maybe this is a special case. But you can go all around the continent and find examples of people suffering through no fault of the Western colonisers, but entirely due to bad ideas and ideology in the present day, which you are ignoring. And conversely, if you look at the areas which are doing better - South Africa, Botswana etc. - they were all colonised too. But they have chosen, to a greater extent, to embrace the enlightenment and liberal democracy.

The second major point is that European countries and Japan had colonies elsewhere in the world too. Australia, New Zealand, the US, Canada, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, India and the entire continent of South America were all colonised. And yet they are all doing remarkably well, wouldn't you say?

I don't deny that harm was done through the process of colonialism. My point is that to say that this explains away the current miserable state is just pernicious nonsense. Nonsense because it is not true, and pernicious because it is a philosophy of failure. We can't change the past, but we can change the future, if we try hard enough and stop bellyaching about the past.
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felamaslen
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(Original post by The_Duck)
Foreign aid does benefit africa, hugely. But we don't and can't give enough to fix all their problems overnight.
Unless a country adopts the right ideas regarding how to run its internal affairs, throwing ever increasing quantities of cash at it is not going to do a damn thing.
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crayz
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Foreign aid isn't meant to help people it is a bribe. For example when aid was given to North Korea it was a bribe to make them stop doing nuclear stuff, then they resumed we took back the aid.
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PicardianSocialist
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(Original post by felamaslen)
Many African societies didn't really catch on to the Western enlightenment . . .

(Original post by Aurangzeb)
Western enlightenment? Please.

We always tend to underplay the effect that Western imperialism has played on the state of affairs in Africa today . . .
In many ways, I think you're talking past each other. After all, it could be said that Western imperialism didn't really catch on to the Western enlightenment. The liberal ideas and values that were so influential in the West were rarely those that were exported abroad. Bad governments and bad ideas create poverty, but imperialism has had a part to play in creating the bad governments and bad ideas.

Whether imperialism is the main thing holding back Africa today is a complex question. It's not just the legacy of colonialism that must be considered, but also it's modern analogues (e.g. stuff like the TRIPS agreement and other WTO tomfoolery), as well as the role imperialism has played in creating other factors, such as Islamic extremism - I vaguely recall that the British and the French both played religious groups off against each other in the Middle East in order to consolidate their own power. I'm not really making a case for one side or the other here, I'm just putting it out there.


(Original post by felamaslen)
European countries and Japan had colonies elsewhere in the world too. Australia, New Zealand, the US, Canada, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, India and the entire continent of South America were all colonised. And yet they are all doing remarkably well, wouldn't you say?
I'm entirely unfamiliar with the history of Japanese colonialism, so I'll remain silent on that topic, but I think the difference between the history of the Americas & Australasia on the one hand and Africa on the other is that the former were primarily settled, while the latter were primarily subjugated. The settlers brought with them the values of the enlightenment, while the subjugators trampled over them in order to exploit the people and resources of their subject nations.

Urgh, I need to stop checking TSR so late at night. I hope some of this made sense.
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DelBoy1000
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(Original post by Hen44)
I have lived in 3 African countries before. Having been there, I have seen governments receive billions of dollars in aid mostly from Europe, US and China. However, the countries I have been at and even the other 51 African countries do not show signs of development/improvement. Why do you think this is the case?

(We all know our planet so you don't have to have lived in Africa to comment. Everyone's point will be appreciated. Cheers!)
If the powers that be wanted to end starvation in certain parts of Africa and Asia

IT WOULD BE DONE

There would be no silly white celebrities, silly white people riding bikes, silly white people singing songs, dancing and jumping around.

IT WOULD DE DONE

Why do we always hear stories about a white celebs and white relief workers and white aid workers going to poor parts of the world and not the greater number of black people in those countries who do the very same thing ?

Because those stories do not help whites to feel good about themselves.

These stories proceed from and help support white racist ways of thinking: Whites are better. The natives therefore need their help and are, in fact, being helped. That is what whites like to believe. The truth is whites are no better than anyone else – just more powerful. And most of the time they use that power to serve their own ends

  • White came up with this idea that the west is actually saving everybody else from something the others were not aware until the west told them so.
  • They come into your house, kill, steal and convert your beliefs and claim that they are trying to civilize you.
  • Whites Brits destroyed the civilizations of the Aztecs, Incas and West Africans.
  • They robbed Africa of its riches and made its people into slaves.
  • They wiped out the people of North America and Australia and took their land.
  • By 1900 they ruled most of the world, robbing it of its wealth and freedom.
  • They dump toxic waste all over Africa
  • They hold African countries to unfair trade restrictions
  • They turned on each other in two world wars, killing tens of millions.
  • They undermine democracies in other countries and keep bad men in power when it suits them.
  • They discriminate against everyone who is not white.
  • They spent $2.3 trillion on Africa over the past 50 years and yet over a million die of malaria every year as if it were some strange, incurable disease.


But despite all that people in the UK think that they are a force for good, that they are well-meaning. You couldn't make it up. Power corrupts. The west is powerful enough that it can believe whatever it wants about its motives – with no one to tell them otherwise who will widely be believed.

Most countries in Africa DECLINE aid because aid creates dependency.

Oh sure, if you watch TV then you will see the usually African child with flies on there face asking you to donate.

Britain NEVER does nothing for nothing. There is new term for slavery in the 21st century is a four letter word : DEBT.

The world bank has given out credits to African countries for building up their infrastructures. The world bank does this to insure the interests of the multinationals and their Western resource junkies.

The resource rich African countries are held hostage by the West through debt. The payback is done to a large part as “rebate in kind” by even more resources at ridiculously low prices.

The higher the debt the tougher the negotiation basis and the least favorable for the producing country. Those countries are drawn into handcuff contracts of globally or regionally exclusive authorizations to exploit certain local resources.

In contrast, local infrastructures are crumbling, social programmes and local developments are cut because of the paybacks of interests and the debt itself.

The so-called debt relief by western powers comes with a price. The resource producing countries have to sell everything for a special discount price which opens the doors to all sorts of speculations from foreign investors demanding high returns.

Another byproduct the west is expecting from their ‘generous gestures’ is to get some more positive votes at the next UN assembly. In case of non-compliance to their conditions, they threaten the local authorities to pull their funds out or threaten them to initiate another ‘government turnover’.

It’s looting, plain and simple.

No-one talks about unfairness which the white man is putting on this planet by depleting it of its resources as if there’s no tomorrow.

Energy consumption per capita in kg of oil per year (2009) :

Bangladesh 160
Senegal 240
Morocco 360
India 520
Angola 610
Indonesia 770
China 1200
Portugal 2500
Italy 3200
UK 4000
USA 8000
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José Callejón
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Dumb people doing dumb things with it.

Better giving charity to animals like moi.
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PhysioMatt
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(Original post by PicardianSocialist)
Because the most important factor in economic development is not a country's resources but its institutions. North Korea is a tip. South Korea is an economic power house The difference between two is that South Korea has a solid institutional framework in which justice and the rule of law are valued. Aid will do very little for a country that suffers a corrupt government and chronic political instability, while a lack of aid is unlikely to hold back a country that does not.
I could not agree with this any more!


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Zorgotron
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The simple and obvious answer is corruption.

Why do you think African governments are reluctant to accept aid in the form of food, tools, aid workers etc? Why do you think they only want aid in the form of money? Why is it that they explicitly insist that the money must go through the government? It's because most of the money is simply taken by those in power and very little if any actually is used to alleviate poverty.

The problem is that in order to maintain power, governments need money but they also need to keep the people under control. Poverty is a good way, because a malnourished and demoralized people are not that big of a threat. It's evident that the more affluent a country becomes, the more democratic it becomes. If the people no longer have to worry about food, shelter, water and employment, they begin to ask other questions - ''So why don't we have free speech again? Why can't we choose our own government? Why can't I run for office? Why can't I choose my own religion or lack of?'' These are questions that undermine autocratic power and these are questions the government doesn't want to see.

Foreign aid is therefore used to strengthen governmental institutions while leaving very little for the people the aid was actually intended for. The governments are also interested in maintaining poverty, because then they can always ask for more aid. If the poverty gets alleviated, then the aid money stops coming in - if there is no poverty anymore, there's no need for foreign aid now is it. Maintaining the status quo will allow the existing governments always ask for more.

So yeah, you could say that foreign aid actually perpetuates the status quo in the regions, because it contributes to the perpetuation of the ruling government.
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felamaslen
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(Original post by PicardianSocialist)
In many ways, I think you're talking past each other. After all, it could be said that Western imperialism didn't really catch on to the Western enlightenment. The liberal ideas and values that were so influential in the West were rarely those that were exported abroad. Bad governments and bad ideas create poverty, but imperialism has had a part to play in creating the bad governments and bad ideas.

Whether imperialism is the main thing holding back Africa today is a complex question. It's not just the legacy of colonialism that must be considered, but also it's modern analogues (e.g. stuff like the TRIPS agreement and other WTO tomfoolery), as well as the role imperialism has played in creating other factors, such as Islamic extremism - I vaguely recall that the British and the French both played religious groups off against each other in the Middle East in order to consolidate their own power. I'm not really making a case for one side or the other here, I'm just putting it out there.

I'm entirely unfamiliar with the history of Japanese colonialism, so I'll remain silent on that topic, but I think the difference between the history of the Americas & Australasia on the one hand and Africa on the other is that the former were primarily settled, while the latter were primarily subjugated. The settlers brought with them the values of the enlightenment, while the subjugators trampled over them in order to exploit the people and resources of their subject nations.

Urgh, I need to stop checking TSR so late at night. I hope some of this made sense.
You have a point regarding settlement vs. subjugation and the former being more compatible with creating liberal democracies, but I think the point remains that we should be criticising people who are alive today and can do something about it, not people who died decades ago and to whom only a fraction of the blame can be legitimately given anyway.
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PicardianSocialist
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(Original post by felamaslen)
You have a point regarding settlement vs. subjugation and the former being more compatible with creating liberal democracies, but I think the point remains that we should be criticising people who are alive today and can do something about it, not people who died decades ago and to whom only a fraction of the blame can be legitimately given anyway.
I see what you mean. Western governments apologising for colonialism is not a solution to past injustices. At the same time, I think there are two reasons to hold history in mind when talking about these issues.

Firstly, it guards against any tendency to blame these issues on race. While this might sound strange, I think if we identify institutions as the prime cause of global inequality, then it seems obvious to ask why some countries have good institutions and others bad. If we ignore the effects of imperialism, then it is all too easy to write off the developing world as hopeless savages. (Not that I'm accusing you of racism in anyway, obviously)

Secondly, we can learn from the mistakes of the past. If past Western involvement, even when it has been motivated by a genuine desire to civilise developing nations, has been fairly disastrous, then we should be sceptical in the extreme of any future attempts by Western nations, or any nation for that matter, to do the same.
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felamaslen
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(Original post by PicardianSocialist)
I see what you mean. Western governments apologising for colonialism is not a solution to past injustices. At the same time, I think there are two reasons to hold history in mind when talking about these issues.

Firstly, it guards against any tendency to blame these issues on race. While this might sound strange, I think if we identify institutions as the prime cause of global inequality, then it seems obvious to ask why some countries have good institutions and others bad. If we ignore the effects of imperialism, then it is all too easy to write off the developing world as hopeless savages. (Not that I'm accusing you of racism in anyway, obviously)

Secondly, we can learn from the mistakes of the past. If past Western involvement, even when it has been motivated by a genuine desire to civilise developing nations, has been fairly disastrous, then we should be sceptical in the extreme of any future attempts by Western nations, or any nation for that matter, to do the same.
Sadly I agree with you on the last paragraph; the interventions in Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq have not created free societies because there was not a base of freedom-loving people there to begin with, which is incredibly unfortunate for people there who are actual democrats. But I think that if people want freedom, free countries have a responsibility to try as hard as they can to give it to them. Clearly intervention has worked in some places, such as in Korea (partly), Japan and Germany, as well as Kosovo in more recent times.

Any argument that the third world is poor due to some inherent (genetic?) flaw in the people living there, is (a) a philosophy of failure and (b) contrary to the evidence which indicates that now-free countries were invariably, some time in their past, barbaric (e.g. we were burning witches in Europe five hundred years ago, and sending Jews to the gas chambers less than a century ago). So I don't have any problem with calling today's barbaric countries what they are, because I am not accusing people of having the wrong genes, but rather the wrong ideas frothing about in their heads. I believe that some day the third world will be free and prosperous and believe in science and the enlightenment, at which point it will cease to be the third world - but that could just be me being an optimist . What I do know for a fact is that should we make this one of our goals as a species, we have to ditch the anti-Western, anti-capitalism rhetoric because those are the ideas which made the free world what it is today.
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JamesGibson
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Developing nations are unfortunately constricted to poverty due to the way in which multinational corporations from the richer countries exploit their labour, natural resources and so on. In addition to this, the bailouts and loans offered to developing countries through the IMF almost as always come with preconditions that include privatising state assets to private (often foreign) firms, enforcing austerity and getting rid of any welfare/relief provisions.

If the developed world wasn't so concerned about maintaining free market pastures for exploitation, we might have seen proper development in the developing world.

One of the main reasons China and India are seeing relatively lacklustre growth in terms of the middle class population is due to the necessity of cheap labour for Europe and America.

How do we solve this? Ban multinationals from operating in the developing world, put an end to all of the IMF agreements and ultimately allow the developing world to nationalise their own natural resources and assets. In addition to this, taxes should be placed on retail companies in Europa/America and income from those taxes should be used to subsidise wages of workers in the developing world - helping raise living standards and consumer consumption.
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