Saturday, March 16, 2013

Why development Aid to Africa is fundamentally wrong

Development continues to be elusive in Africa thanks to the billions of dollars pumped in form of aid. It’s a paradox of sorts that as we continue receiving aid, the intended beneficiaries continue to wallow in wanton poverty. The idea of dishing out money robs initiative and drives those who partake from the plate of aid to utter beggars.

To break the curse of development aid, a lot more needs to be done especially by the donors who need to be vigilant on how their donations are spent and the impact of their contribution. Development aid to Africa is a cash cow to those who manage the funds on the donor side- affording to live lavish lifestyles thanks to the colossal amounts they pay themselves in salaries and allowances.

The recipients have also devised ways of ensuring that their own parochial self-interests are met. The two groups mentioned above are so keen on maintaining the status quo by allowing and promoting the vicious cycle of poverty. Fortunately, the level minded within their ranks are consumed with guilt and are suggesting that something must be done to end this abhorrent situation.

The development aid that has been in existence for over 50 years can hardly be justified. Individual donors, with limited knowledge of how development aid works, are sensing that something is terribly amiss and are either pulling out or asking questions that this article is highlighting. These concerns cannot be overlooked as aid has failed.

Africans have been weaned to believe that their problems can only be solved by foreign aid instead of finding solutions themselves. This is an attitude that has been cultivated by Africa’s development partners and is now an accepted culture. The development is designed in such a way as to make people perpetual dependents of assistance depriving them any initiative.

The number of stalled water project for a simple mechanical problem, ruined buildings and ruined equipment is a reflection of how foreign aid is perceived by the beneficiaries. Mothering parents who are energetic and can work by giving them food aid, paying their children fees is unacceptable. Those are duties and responsibilities that should be carried out by the receiver of the aid.

The principle of aid is to provide it only when necessary and cease within the shortest time possible. It’s worth mentioning that two thirds of the least developed countries are the biggest recipient of foreign grants. As mentioned elsewhere in this article, foreign aid continues to perpetuate poverty by snuffing initiative and turning the beneficiaries to beggars who have no or very little regard of the projects they have been given.

The number of stalled projects littering most of African countries done by development partners is a testimony of lack of interest shown by the supposed beneficiaries. The only exception to aid is in emergency situation. Free aid is the number one enemy of development in Africa.

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