Re: Why Africa Is Losing its Dignity :: 2009. 4. 22. 04:53




on aid

There's been a long-standing debate on ODA (quite specious arguments on both sides...), and 
it boggles my mind every time I come across editorials like this. While the doubling 
of development aid has been overly politicised (as with any any political agenda to be honest) 
in the developed world, the actual process of procurement, implementation and evaluation 
of development projects in the developing world has been seldom exposed. ODA has been 
much of a number game for the donor world, and there is a growing dependence on aid
for recipient countries. I worry that Korea might slip into this pitfall as it's preparing
the OECD/DAC accession in 2010...

I always question to what extent did the doubling of aid and debt cancellation, along with 
all the unseen developmental efforts by aid agencies, engender significant, tangible and
nation-wide improvements in reducing rural poverty and inequality, and diversifying exports
 in Africa.

In Ethiopia, 85% of total population still live in rural areas and 80% of labour force is 
employed in the agricultural sector. As much as 60% the total population is illiterate, and half 
the population have no access to safe drinking water. Despite these disappointing figures, 
the average annual growth rate for Ethiopia is 10.7% (IMF 2007), and many economists 
are applauding its dynamic growth owing to "good policies and investment" (and the 
rising commodity prices). 

But how do you define "good policies"? Taking Ethiopia as an example again, peasants 
are only allowed to use land on a lease basis from the government. The leased land is less 
than a hectare (or some say less than an acre) on average. Can this be one of those "good 
policies" per se? I can't imagine really how one can be productive and enjoy economies of 
scale from such excruciating land distribution. (For more diaspora insights on Ethiopia, click)

So I don't think it's about lack of aid, it's about lack of political will and leadership. 
Development should not be approached from a political (power) logic, but of an economic one. 
It shouldn't be about maintaining political power and securing base for such pseudo-ideals. 
It should be about passion for people, and the determination to help them improve 
their capabilities to enjoy enhanced livelihoods. 
© brigittographie

Editorial retrieved from 

Why Africa Is Losing its Dignity: Part 1

By Kurt Gerhardt

Africa needs aid, but not the kind the West is currently providing. Conventional development aid has turned the continent into a dependent recipient of charity. We should halt the handouts and adopt successful micro-lending models instead, helping Africans to help themselves.

A road construction site near Nairobi: Infrasture projects are among those favored in development aid. But without proper maintenance, the roads deteriorate quickly.
REUTERS A road construction site near Nairobi: Infrasture projects are among those favored in development aid. But without proper maintenance, the roads deteriorate quickly.

Development aid for Africa has never fallen under such radical and massive criticism as in recent years -- and it comes from representatives of both the "North" and of Africa itself. Nevertheless, this hasn't kept Germany's Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) from concluding, in one of its brochures: "Africa is not the continent of catastrophes, crises and wars. Africa shows evidence of the dynamics of reform and stabile growth and, with its ideas and potential, is taking its development into its own hands."