Aid to Africa a waste

#1
Wordy but good...

Vast majority think African aid is wasted, poll shows
By Rachel Sylvester and Andrew Sparrow
(Filed: 04/06/2005)

A huge majority of Britons believes that pumping billions of pounds into Africa would be a waste of money, a verdict that is a major blow to Tony Blair's crusade to rescue the continent.

As the Prime Minister prepares to fly to Washington on Monday to try to secure American support for proposals to tackle poverty in the Third World, a poll for The Daily Telegraph shows that 83 per cent of people are not confident that money given by the West would be spent wisely.

It also shows that 79 per cent of voters believe that corruption and incompetence were to blame for Africa's problems.

The Government is planning a package of measures designed to reassure the public that taxpayers' money would not end up in the pockets of corrupt politicians. New legislation will allow money smuggled into this country by corrupt former African dictators to be seized and returned to the countries concerned.

Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, hinted at the crackdown yesterday when he told a press conference in Edinburgh that the Government's package for Africa would "combine action on debt, aid, and trade with good governance, transparency, an attack on corruption and the encouragement of private investment".

His pledge follows growing public and celebrity support for the Make Poverty History campaign in the run up to next month's summit of leaders of the world's richest nations in Scotland.

Bob Geldof, who is organising Live 8 concerts in five countries before the G8 meeting in Gleneagles, has called for a million people to march on Edinburgh to press the politicians to do more to eradicate poverty. Yesterday, the Chancellor announced that he would waive the VAT fee for the concert.

Britain is confident of securing a deal with America under which money owed by poor countries to multilateral institutions such as the World Bank would be written off.

However, the poll indicates that many Britons remain suspicious of the way money given to Africa would be spent.

YouGov asked how confident respondents were that donated money would be spent wisely, "rather than being wasted or finding its way into the pockets of criminals and corrupt governments".

More than 80 per cent said they were either "not very confident" (41 per cent) or "not at all confident" (42 per cent). Only 11 per cent expressed some confidence that the aid would not be squandered.

The public's lack of faith in Africa's ability to cure its own ills was also revealed when respondents were asked to identify three factors most to blame for the condition of the continent.

Corrupt and incompetent government was seen as the main problem, with 79 per cent citing it as a factor. More than half of respondents also cited the HIV/Aids epidemic and civil wars.

By contrast only a minority said factors for which the West was responsible - such as colonialism, exploitation by multinationals or protectionist trade policies - were among the principal causes of African poverty.

Fewer than 10 per cent said the continent's problems could not be solved. A majority said Africans could help themselves with assistance from rich countries.

According to Treasury sources, a new law, ratifying the UN convention against corruption, will be implemented under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 in the autumn.

It will give the Government power to seize the assets of corrupt former politicians from overseas in a similar manner to the power that already exists when dealing with suspected terrorists and organised crime.

The Daily Telegraph has learned that several bank accounts, containing millions of pounds, are already being monitored so that they can be frozen as soon as the law is in place. A list of "politically exposed persons" has been circulated to banks and building societies.

The Government also intends to do more to deal with companies that offer bribes to corrupt officials.

Mr Blair wants to force all oil, gas, mining, forestry and fisheries companies to disclose their payments to governments. Businesses that want to qualify for export credit guarantees might also have to demonstrate that they do not offer bribes.

The Chancellor said yesterday that he believed America was now prepared to support his proposal for 100 per cent debt relief for the poorest countries.

"This is not a time for timidity nor a time to fear reaching too high," he added.

"This year is our chance to reverse the fortunes of a continent and to help transform the lives of millions."
The utter fatuousness of the final comment pretty much sums up my disgust with this 'Government'. Giving money to Africa is like throwing pearls after swine. The problem is that you can't voice dissention on this issue without being labelled a 'racist'. I have absolutely no sympathy for the people who reside in Africa - they agitated for independence, they got it and now they can fcuking well reap what they sowed.

I think we should integrate aid packages with a far-reaching policy of forced regime change. First stop - Zimbabwe. :D

Full story here!
 
#2
Africans are unable to run Africa is the simple truth. Not one African country has become anything more than a tribal based corrupt inefficient dictatorship. Why the West should keep throwing money at these corrupt despots is beyond me.
 
#3
I wait with glee for someone to post about how the 'White Man' drew up borders without recognising tribal areas. Well that makes it all right then.
 
#4
Good call folks - good to see I'm not alone in being..err..healthily sceptical. This is an actual piece of prose from a respected South African conservationist...

The government in South Africa decided recently on a temporary black-out of official statistics on rape, murder and child molestation in an effort, inter alia, it is believed, to keep up the country's morale. Staggering statistics had revealed rape occurred every 25 seconds, that the murder rate was amongst the highest in the world, that 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 4 boys would be sexually molested before adulthood. In some communities, drive-by shootings and gang warfare in the streets had become commonplace.

Against this backdrop, Mr Wikus Gresse, Chairman of the Parole Board at Pollsmoor Prison near Cape Town, recently made an impassioned plea. 'Teach people how to care," he said.

As founder of one of the most successful criminal rehabilitation projects in the world today, known as The Bird Project, Gresse has seen first hand the healing power inherent in the gentle art of caring. The Bird Project enables prisoners to hand-rear Love Birds, Cockatiels and parrots for ultimate sale to avid bird-keepers...
Full piece here!

Quite apart from the fact that the sale of love birds and cockatiels is very tightly controlled (and what's a conservationist doing writing approvingly of such a practice anyway??), everyone seems to have missed the point that this article stakes around so adroitly. A rape every 25 seconds??? Are you fcuking kidding? These 'people' don't need aid - they need putting down.

'Teach people how to care' - yuk! :evil:
 
#5
why can't they just let them get on with it, i thought the owrld was supposed to be an open market, let them buy the stuff they need,


I have to.....no one gives me stuff or writes off my debts when/if I have difficulty paying
 
#6
Moral dilemma here. Do we sit idly by watching fellow human beings suffer or kick in the billions of pounds/dollars/euros that our politicians claim is necessary (to the detriment, some might say, our our 'own people') only to watch it being channeled to gangsters and despots? Either way we lose and sadly so do those starving innocents for whom the financial aid was intended.
My guess is we'll continue to throw money at Africa to assuage our collective guilt at being so well fed as the unfortunate Africans starve.

While giving financial aid is expensive, setting up and maintaining the infrastructure to administer it would be prohibitively so. For example it would include rooting out corruption, establishing some semblance of law, resurrecting transportation systems, re-establishing schools that children can attend without the fear thugs from opposing tribes will dismember them, reviving agricultural sysems etc. The list is endless, and all the while facing armed opposition from those thugs, reluctant to give up their despotic powers, who created the horrendous situation.

In effect we'd have to (gasp!) re-colonize and that isn't going to happen, at least not by Western nations, though eventually the Chinese might have a go albeit out of self serving interests. As one who grew up in and later served in various parts of Africa and developed a lasting respect for her people I can't help thinking of them. To do nothing would be as morally corrupt as those who plunged our former colonies into the hell that exists there now.
 
#7
Speedy said:
I wait with glee for someone to post about how the 'White Man' drew up borders without recognising tribal areas. Well that makes it all right then.
That was 10% of the polled peoples reply in the Torygragh.

I can't see the League of African Nations leaping to Europe's aid in the near future. In another african stories Kenya is to ban smoking in all public areas. That'll sort it all then :roll:
 
#8
This wouldn't have happened under the empire. You can only blame white imperialism for so many generations. But, as happens in Australia, after BILLIONS down the drain, brand new housing wrecked, and heaps of wealthy lawyers, activists and politicians, the two percent of the population that is aboriginal is still living in sh@t, with poor health and hygiene, and the lowest life expectancy in the country. Money well spent I don't think.
 
#9
Busterdog said:
My guess is we'll continue to throw money at Africa to assuage our collective guilt at being so well fed as the unfortunate Africans starve.
You can have a "collective guilt" if you want. I don't feel guility in any way.

Africans feel no guilt and they are the ones letting this happen, sod them. It's about time Africa stopped blaming the White man for everything.
 
#10
Now, now, you lot, you obviously haven't been keeping up the prescribed daily self-flaggelation with barbed wire regime to atone for the sins of the British Empire.

One thing lost in this debate is that Africa has in the last 30 years or so had the equivalent of three Marshall Plans doneted to it in aid, but has precicely bugger-all to show for it. As for the debt issue, how did these countries get in debt in the first place? They had the money, but it ended up back in the west via Swiss bank accounts or white elephant 'prestige' projects. I really don't see money as the answer. The best thing the west can do to help[ the ordinary African is to reduce trade tarrifs so they can sell their produce on the world markets, instead of massively subsidising our own agriculture and dumping the surpluss on world markets.

On this issue, the Bush administration has it right and hopefully will shoot down Blair and Brown's proposals.
 
#11
So much effort expended on poverty, disease and all the rest of it and yet deafening silence on the one biggest problem underlying all others. Over population.

Who's fighting that? Last week i saw another report on famine threatening Darfur, some woman was talking about how they didn't have enough food\money to live and then she mentioned her 9 kids. That's when the mental 'f**k 'em' trip switch flipped.

i know it's not an Africa thing but a global problem yet Africa has an exploding population.

Helping improve health and prosperity is all well and good but little if not nothing is being done about the responsibilities which go along with that. If you lower the mortality rate and increase the level of resource consumption then you have to lower the birth rate in order to accommodate that.
 
#12
Well maybe you lot should get your facts striaght before you go whinging about money being given to africa.

Maybe we do give a lot in aid money but it does not even cover the amount of interest African countries have to pay back to the worlds richest countries.

Also, when they receive aid they are forced to open up thier markets to western products such as rice and cotton. These products are heavily subsidised by western Governments meaning the western sellers can sell them for less than it costs to make them. This puts African farmers out of business meaning they can't generate money keep their families or put money back into the economy to keep the country on its feet.

How can these countries and the people of these countries most of whom aren't corrupt politicians build up an economy and earn a living if western companies kill of the market over there and then force them to sell products at less than cost price. This happens with products such as coffee, chocolate and tea which is then sold on our market with an extortionate mark up which means we are then being ripped off too whilst fats cats pocket the difference.

Maybe you should start reading a few more papers other than the right wing bull crap such as the sun and get yourselves a little more informed before you come out with such drivel.

Yes maybe they do have corrupt politicians but that can't be helped in poor countries where the people can't even get an education to help them become more informed and fight for their rights, these are still pre-modernity countries (i.e like we were before the industrial revolution).

And before you all go calling me a mad lefty, think of the long term effects this would have if we helped to sort this country out instead of throwing good money after bad. If we stop ripping them off and allow them to become good market competitors they will actually have people with money to spend, Africa is a huge country with millions of people, imagine how much they could then spend on products that we make then.

What we do need is trade justice, we are told all of this crap by big companies (look who owns most of the papers you read, Rupert Murdoch) think about why they want us to believe it, so they can fill their own pockets. Any money give to Africa now if it is done properly and coupled with trade justice will not only relieve the suffering of millions of people but in a few years it will be money we can earn back by trading with them.
 
#13
cdo_gunner said:
So much effort expended on poverty, disease and all the rest of it and yet deafening silence on the one biggest problem underlying all others. Over population.

Who's fighting that? Last week i saw another report on famine threatening Darfur, some woman was talking about how they didn't have enough food\money to live and then she mentioned her 9 kids. That's when the mental 'f**k 'em' trip switch flipped.

i know it's not an Africa thing but a global problem yet Africa has an exploding population.

Helping improve health and prosperity is all well and good but little if not nothing is being done about the responsibilities which go along with that. If you lower the mortality rate and increase the level of resource consumption then you have to lower the birth rate in order to accommodate that.
Maybe again you should look to the west for this problem, it may have something to do with the Christian missionairys going around telling these people that conbtracetion was wrong and didn't work anyway. The same bullshit they still spout in parts of the states.

On the point that the world is over populated maybe you should get your facts right. In Europe especially, we have a very low birth rate
coupled with people living much longer, which means we don't have enough people earning money to put back into the system to pay for pensions and the NHS etc etc.
 
#14
I've read the posts on this forum and on the other "charidees" forum...

I think we are definitely right to be helping Africa to stand on its own two feet using a mixture of fairer trade agreements and aid. There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, there is a humanitarian moral imperative. There are a lot of people living in pretty awful conditions and its only right that we should do what we can to help them. Secondly, the sh1tholes of the world are a breeding ground for terrorism which ultimately comes back to haunt us. Thirdly, it is in our economic self interest to help Africa. Once their economies develop they'll buy more stuff from us which will help our economies in the same way that the Marshall plan helped America.

A lot of people have spoken in glowing terms about the Empire. Its true the Empire did a lot of good in terms of diffusion of technology and investment in infrastructure etc. John Master's 'Bugles and a Tiger' tells me that British involvement in India was more of a love affair than an abusive master/slave relationship and Britain can hold its head high about that part of its history. But the Empire had its downsides too had to come to an end. Ultimately, a government based thousands of miles away will not have the best interests of the people at its heart.

Some posters have said we should just get rid of trade barriers and then leave them to it. Although, removing trade barriers/subsidies is important how can they export goods without roads/ports leading to markets? They need some aid as well to build infrastructure.

If we play our cards right then future generations will look back and say 'yeah, Britain was a force for good in the world'... among other things it founded parliamentry democracy, abolished slavery and helped end poverty.

Tricam

ps - Some of you may notice the hand of Jeffrey Sachs in this post... I'm currently about half way through his book, 'The End of Poverty' and although he sometimes talks sh1te its a pretty good read.
 
#15
First to blame the nasty old whitey b*stards is jest265, seeing as you know it all and know how to put it right how come you're not out there doing good ?


jest265 how many african countries have you been in then ? , you are a typical gobby student, been nowhere, done nothing and haven't got the T shirt.

It seems you prefer to do this:

Alcohol : I like to get drunk
Bad Habits : Doing stupid things when drunk

So f*ck off and if you must post try something other than Lefty student tree hugger sh*te.
 
#16
Yes, Jes265, the African markets do get flooded with subsidised Western produce, particularly from Europe.

However, your solution (so-called "trade justice") is the wrong solution, since it means tariffs & controls & other distortions of the market by governments. A better solution would be to stop Europe subsidising farming produce by scrapping the CAP. This would make the European products more expensive in Africa, and allow the African producers better access to their own, and to European, markets. But, this is what is termed "ultra-liberalism" by the likes of Jaques Chirac and is thus unthinkable in France.

Stop distorting the market, and let the free-market work its magic. That's better than throwing more good money after bad to assuage some kind of post-colonial guilt.
 
#17
Jest265, you have a couple of good points but you seem very angry about something or another???

cdo_gunner, couldn't agree with you more about the problem of overpopulation. The problem is those kids are her pension plan. She needs to be certain that some of them survive into adulthood to look after her when she's an auld one. As infant mortality rates improve she'll stop having so many kids - so long as she has access to contraception. The UNFPA (UN Population Fund) is the world body looking after this.

Tricam.
 
#18
Jest, silly commie - I could count the number of Sun readers on this website with... no hands. Africa is full of corrupt tinpot dictators, who are rolling in our money. They need to learn for themselves how to govern, and sort their $hit out. As far as I'm concerned, our moral obligation to that part of the world ceased when they rejected the Empire. Wipe clean the debt, and let them crack on. I'd agree on the 'breeding grounds for terrorism' business - but that, quite frankly, gives a much - needed excuse to wade in and give the thugs concerned a good slapping (i.e West Side Boys). As someone said earlier - they rejected a functioning (wasn't perfect - nothing is) system, and now they are reaping what they sowed. Read a newspaper, Jest - (a big one, with long words) and you'll see that Mugabe has just detained 22,00 of his country's poorest in 'Operation Clear Out The Rubbish.' Are these people mature enough to govern themselves? Not to mention Zimbabwe's racist policies. We can't go back and govern, because we can't afford it. Roving drug-fuelled war bands do not understand the physics of firearms, let alone the concept of simple diplomacy. We should not throw good money after bad - leave them to it.
 
#20
Having workde for some years now in Gabon, Nigeria and Angola I have to say that throwing good money after bad is all that this will amount to. There will ALWAYS be tribal and cultural differences in each and every country in that blighted continent. However, corruption is a way of life and accepted as such. Just getting in ot out of Lagos airport requires a pocketfull of $10 bills. 1 (if you are lucky) for each official you come accross - customs, passport control, ticket agent - the same happens at gvernment level, it is endemic. So, what to do? Perhaps attach conditons to the aid? Blowed it I know!
 

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