Should we continue to pour billions in to Africa?

  • Yes. It is our humanitarian duty as a nation.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • No. They wanted independence, so let them get on with it!

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
Another thread's contents has got me fired up, so I thought I'd start a new thread on the subject of Africa (not the northern Arab bit) to gauge fellow ARRSEr's opinions. As I'm sure you're aware, our very own El Presidente is a champion of the dark continent - so much so, in fact, that he's done f**k all about anything remotely connected with it. I understand that the forthcoming G8 summit will focus on overseas aid and debt relief. Okay then.

As long as I've had a hole in my arrse, there's been flyblown, emaciated Africans plastered all over the telly screens. The UK and the west in general must have thrown billions in to that cursed place, most of it ending up in Swiss bank accounts, or funding bloody civil wars. I want to know why we still bother throwing money at it. It's the international equivalent of spending thousands chavving up a f***ed Y reg Astra. Why are we doing this? Post Imperial guilt is it?

Personally, I'd like to see all overseas aid frozen, then defrosted and channelled in to sorting the bloody mess out here - before we end up like some civil war-torn backwater of Bongobongloand - or Nottingham.

Zimbabwe irks me particularly. If there is any country in Africa that warrants our intervention then this surely is it. Instead, we embark on a folly elsewhere - with questionable motives. Many African countries inherited ready-made nations that were successful going concerns following colonial withdrawal. Some were totally messed up like Angola, but by and large, the countries we’d administered were pretty sweet. Now look at it. Even countries like Kenya – which I’ve always considered politically stable – aren’t quite what they seem. So, just what are we throwing £4.6 billion at exactly? And what’s in it for us? Oil? Mineral wealth? I don’t think we benefit from it half as much as it does from us. It’s a bloody expensive tar baby and we’re giving it a right ol’ hug.

If it’s humanitarian, then why do we allow famine to happen in countries like Zimbabwe – a former breadbasket and model state? Why isn’t laughing Bob arrested on his next shopping trip at Harrods? If we really wanted to make a difference then we really could. There are many on the continent who would dearly love to see a return to the stability that colonial rule brought, and the Sudan springs to mind. Simply throwing money at despots is not the answer.

Sure there are laudable aid programmes, but all I see is mealie bags and outstretched arms. If we are going to commit ourselves (as a nation) to put things right – spending millions in the process, then surely that money would be better spent forcibly removing ineffective governments and dictatorial rulers? After all, it’s only regime change, right? Discuss.
I would happily volunteer for any roister-doistering, Wild Geese style effort to invade Zimbabwe. My tea-making and chinagraph pen-wielding skills would be invaluable.

I believe uk's [blairs] aid to africa is now channeled thru' EU [brussels] and goes to the countries [to be ripped off by all and sundry in those countries] whereas in Maggies day it went to the aid agencies concerned and was thus accountable. nuff said!!!!

[could therefore be said that bliar has the blood of innocents on his hands by his unilateral method of giving aid]
No. The case for debt relief and restructuring of tariffs is valid, as both aspects of the problem simply prolong and exacerbate the troubles of any country genuinely trying to progress. However, during the forty-five+/- years since the independence of the UK's former colonies and dependencies, the failure of those states to adequately administer, feed and educate their people is down to the inability of their cultures to adjust to any competent form of national government. Tribal administration is easy compared to the difficulties of collecting taxes and instituting services on a national scale, and the egos of 90% of African leaders is such that the tribal model tends to be inappropriately used at all levels of government.

In the 90's I used to see foreign aid projects all over the place, all ill-coordinated with the real needs of the people they were trying to help, staffed by earnest types in Toyota GX's who would stay for six months then disappear back to Norway or Japan, and the copper piping in their electricity stations would likewise disappear within the next two weeks. Invariably, a shiny new project would be handed over to great fanfare, and the grossly inadequate training of locals and funding for maintenance over the following years would be conveniently glossed over. Billions of $ have gone that way. Tanzania, for instance, has been the recipient of more aid money than any other country on Earth - and is now just as poor as it ever was (despite the presence of HMMVs and Discoverys in the vehicle sheds of the Defence Forces, and a humungously rich minerals sector which is only starting to be exploited). The presence of natural wealth isn't really much help at the moment; Nigeria has vast deposits of oil and LNG, but the benefit doesn't seem to filter down to the people much at all. Shell and ExxonMobil have a lot to answer for there, though.

All is not lost; many of the Western 'donor' nations recognise the problems and want to seriously change the situation for the better. Sending tax inspectors instead of buckets of cash, engineering professors instead of project engineers, administrators instead of bearded tw*ts who want to teach diversity studies, machine tools instead of machines can all help. But it's an uphill struggle, because the culture demands that the fattest b*stard with the biggest stick gets to the top and stays there.