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Is Aid Helping or killing Africa?

By Aaron Sikombe.
Aid is money, food, medical care etc, which is given to help countries in difficult situations (Oxford 2011). There are three main forms of aid, economic, humanitarian, and emergency aid. The Time Magazine (2010) says aid money contributes up to 40 per cent of most African countries national budgets; it also goes on to say that African has received over 500 billion dollars in economic aid, in the past 50 years. Africa is not the only region that has been on aid yet as others rise from this malignant vice Africa’s dependence on aid keeps getting stronger. The Marshall Plan for example was the European Recovery Program ( ERP) the primary plan of the United States for rebuilding and creating a stronger foundation for the allied countries of Europe after World War II. The Marshall Plan offered the same aid to European countries; the plan was in operation for four years beginning in July 1947. During that period 13 billion US dollars in economic and technical assistance were given to help the recovery of the European countries that had joined in the Organization for European Economic Co-operation. By the time the plan had come to completion, the economy of every participant nation had grown well past pre-war levels. Yet as African leaders increase the dependency on aid, I strongly believe that aid is doing more harm than good to the African continent, in so many ways. In this article I look at both the pros and cons of aid and leave you the reader to make a conclusion based on the information provided.
First of all foreign aid provides a direct solution to any crisis that may arise. The Somali crisis is just but one in a lot of other cases where Africans have failed to contain a crisis and aid givers step in to save lives of millions at the verge of death. The cries of the 13 million Somali’s for food was only responded to by aid agencies that came to their rescue. In most cases African government cannot contain such crises, mostly due to limited recourses or just poor management.
On the other hand, aid does not provide long term solutions; for instance, the famine in Somali has did not hit the region for the first time. It has been reoccurring, yet instead of providing a long lasting solution, aid agencies come in only when people start starving to death. Aid also suppresses most of the local industries in Africa, which in a way weakens African economies. In 2010 the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation distributed free mosquito nets in some African countries, as good as this may sound, the mosquito nets came at a price to our economies. Due to the fact that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation did not purchase the mosquito nets from local manufactures, hence the local mosquito net factories in Africa did not benefit from this. What this then creates is a vicious cycle of dependence on aid, once the mosquito nets ware out people will sit and wait for another donor.
Supporters of aid however claim that aid helps to promote good governance, as most African leaders are loyal to the donor community that provide them with the money that helps them run their countries. Yet, most of the aid comes with a lot of conditions which include how it is to be spent and if aid agencies sight any infringement in human rights they cut the flow of aid to that particular nation. This was the case in Zimbabwe when the political leaders disregarded the rights of the citizens, aid agencies quickly pulled out.
I also feel that aid can encourage misguided polices at national level. Due to dependency on aid governments make polices that are not based on economic development. (The BBC 2006) reports that in Ethiopia famers are not allowed to own land to farm on and possibly alleviate the food shortages it that area. Instead of introducing reforms the government continues to appeal for aid, when they can bring about a long lasting solution.
The African Union, an organization of African nations, estimated that corruption was costing the continent $150 billion a year, as international donors were apparently turning a blind eye to the simple fact that aid money was carelessly used, (Moyo 2010). It is clear that most of the aid money just ends up in the pockets of greedy leaders. If most of the aid ends up in the hands of corrupt leaders then is clear that the current aid model is not working.
Looking on the bright side, aid organisations bring expatriates into African countries, who in turn pass on their knowledge and skills to Africans. When aid organisations deliver aid in any form they come with expert in that particular filed to help them access the problem. As they leave, they pass down the expertise to the locals so that they can provide solutions when similar problems arise.
However, aid organisations paint a negative picture of Africa to the world and because of this negative publicity people think of Africa as a place filled with starving children, poverty stricken people, where AIDS is just as common as the average flu. Due to the negative publicity investors tend to shy away from investing their money in a continent that is depicted in such a way. The other cause of concern is the fraudulent use of funds by bogus organisations collecting money in the name of helping Africa.
In conclusion, the current aid model for Africa has failed on its face as most of the goals set have not been achieved. Aid has for a long time now been a life line for many African nations. However, even as African leaders put aid first; it is doing more harm than good to the continent of Africa in numerous ways.

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Posted by on April 30, 2012. Filed under Analysis, HEADLINES, SPECIAL. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

23 Responses to Is Aid Helping or killing Africa?

  1. mukombe

    April 30, 2012 at 9:53 am

    Aid ia killing Africa and making African governments lazy so lazy we only know how to talk no action on the ground. Forty eight years after independence we are still strugling with 1964 isues.

  2. sniper

    April 30, 2012 at 10:20 am

    R we independent I wonder? May someone help me…..

  3. chilu04

    April 30, 2012 at 10:51 am

    africa can help itself.if zambia feeds congo(maize and suger),wat of s.africa,ghana,botswana,etc

  4. Scholar

    April 30, 2012 at 11:02 am

    Independence for African countries exists on paper! IMF en World Bank continuosly administer loans 2 African countries leavin them with a life-time burden of clearing the debts. How do yu expect Africa develop?

  5. chilu04

    April 30, 2012 at 11:03 am

    africa is capable to help itself.if zambia feeds congo(maize and suger).what of s.africa,ghana,botswana,etc

  6. Kadewele

    April 30, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    This is Mickey mouse freedom we have from our colonial masters

  7. chisugar daddy

    April 30, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    The article is just too long.If you want to bore bloggers, write this kind of sht

  8. Mwenya mwaume

    April 30, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    Ba tumfweko,the article is boring!

  9. Sperm

    April 30, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    The headline of the article is shit. How can aids help africa? Stupid question.

  10. R-Truth

    April 30, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    good story. But the number 1 thing that MUST not be forgotten is attitude – the last of human hope for anything to succeed – (manifesting itself in vandalism, theft, corruption and the biggest LAZINESS! coupled by lack of will). Unless attitude is checked achieving success in the fight against poverty is a pipe dream.

  11. Africa Mwendalubi

    April 30, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    Most of African presidents they knee when begging from either IMF or World Bank after getting the hard cash they start claiming that they are sovereign state they do not foreign intervention .In Swaziland their King bought to his 13 wives for shopping in Europe. The plane was identified as a DC-9 twin-engine aircraft. According to aviation websites, the plane can be configured to carry between 30 and 50 passengers and can cost between $41 million and $48 million. King Mswati III is Africa’s last absolute monarch with an estimated personal fortune of $100 million. He is widely accused of inappropriate spending while Swaziland is on the verge of bankruptcy, has the highest HIV rate in the world, and the majority of citizens live in poverty.
    Some African leaders deposit in Swiss bank personal account like Mobuto, Omar Bonga, San Abachi, Fredrick Chiluba, Mubaraki, Ghadafi, etc For verification of my sentiments refer to Albert Schweitzer Professor in the Humanities, Professor in Political Science, African Studies, Philosophy, Interpretation and Culture and the Director of the Institute of Global Cultural Studies (IGCS) Ali Mazrui,

  12. Nkana

    April 30, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    It’s dead aid!

  13. oxmos

    April 30, 2012 at 11:48 pm

    Aid will never help any human being no matter given in what form,any aid given has a condition and a source which has interest…its like you find a woman and you offer gifts,you know that at one point she has to pay back in kind

  14. chepela john

    May 1, 2012 at 6:50 am

    Please, get get extracts from Ali Mazrui. he can by far educate us on what aid to do to Africa. By the way, where is he now? I used to enjoy his programs on Tv.can someone respond to this!

  15. kapuli wa ng'ongo

    May 1, 2012 at 7:21 am

    This research article was financed by an academic aid grant!

  16. Rango

    May 1, 2012 at 7:59 am

    First aid or first kill africans.

  17. Carolina Rodriguez

    May 1, 2012 at 8:04 am

    Take me on vacation anyone before and after I get married. sex with no strings attached
    please! Lots of love Carolina Rodriguez, Liaison Officer/Slutty Protocol assistant at the High Commission of the republic of Zambia in Ottawa, Canada. I like really rich men only.

  18. Watchman

    May 1, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    How can economies develop wen the WTO is deliberately blocking Africans from free trade.how can wi develop wen we are a testing ground for germ warfare thru vaccines,wi need to organise a new liberation movement.48yrs of political freedom.wat a farce.

  19. Ehpad

    May 1, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    There are rules to wealth which we ignore at our own peril. One such rule says ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’. The nations that have been giving have greatly been blessed and we who have been on the receiving end, ‘even the little that we have has been taken away’. Our collective mindset has to change…we should be a nation of producers and not consumers. Digging out copper and not producing finished products cements the fact that we are consumers. Each of us should check where we are and see if we have anything of value made in Zambia. Shame on us!

  20. negra bella

    May 1, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    Our very own talented Dambisa Moyo made this. stop stealing ba no brains

  21. Witty

    June 11, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Plagiarised article from Dambisa Moyo’s book…shame.Yes,aid is assisting Africans to have strength so they can bonk hard and mass produce.That’s why our appetite for sex is so high.

  22. oneman

    August 1, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    The best Aid that can be given is education, not money which comes with conditions that enslave African governments.

  23. morris major

    October 3, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    aid is aiding western counties and not aiding african countries.gud stuff