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Author Topic: African Economist: “For God’s Sake, Please Stop the Aid!”  (Read 1159 times)
Anonymous
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June 17, 2011, 06:11:06 AM
 #1

Shikwati:  … for God’s sake, please just stop.

Shikwati:  …This call then reaches the United Nations World Food Program — which is a massive agency of apparatchiks who are in the absurd situation of, on the one hand, being dedicated to the fight against hunger while, on the other hand, being faced with unemployment were hunger actually eliminated.

Shikwati: … and they flood our markets with that stuff. We can buy these donated clothes cheaply at our so-called Mitumba markets. There are Germans who spend a few dollars to get used Bayern Munich or Werder Bremen jerseys, in other words, clothes that that some German kids sent to Africa for a good cause. After buying these jerseys, they auction them off at Ebay and send them back to Germany — for three times the price. That’s insanity.



SPIEGEL: Stop? The industrialized nations of the West want to eliminate hunger and poverty.

Shikwati: Such intentions have been damaging our continent for the past 40 years. If the industrial nations really want to help the Africans, they should finally terminate this awful aid. The countries that have collected the most development aid are also the ones that are in the worst shape. Despite the billions that have poured in to Africa, the continent remains poor.

SPIEGEL: Do you have an explanation for this paradox?

Shikwati: Huge bureaucracies are financed (with the aid money), corruption and complacency are promoted, Africans are taught to be beggars and not to be independent. In addition, development aid weakens the local markets everywhere and dampens the spirit of entrepreneurship that we so desperately need. As absurd as it may sound: Development aid is one of the reasons for Africa's problems. If the West were to cancel these payments, normal Africans wouldn't even notice. Only the functionaries would be hard hit. Which is why they maintain that the world would stop turning without this development aid.


It's funny how intervention tends to work.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,363663,00.html
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June 17, 2011, 06:26:30 AM
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Dambisa Moyo's book "Dead aid" is very good in this respect.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFABdPOpr2A

And she is hot.  Cool
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June 17, 2011, 06:34:05 AM
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While I don't disagree 100% with Shikwati, remember this interview is at least 5 years old, and he was never formally trained as an economist (maybe that's not a bad thing though, haha). He also very much has a tendency to exaggerate, and completely fails to mention China's huge role in the foreign aid game--one of the reasons the western world doesn't want to drastically cut aid is that China is "competing" to provide aid already. Yes, the world superpowers are basically bidding for the loyalty of Africa, and it is very much a story not heard outside of Africa.

Also, Shikwati has some pretty horrible things ts say about HIV/AIDS. He is certainly right about some aid getting misused, but the biggest spending in HIV/AIDS foreign aid is direct purchase of anti-retroviral medication. Millions of lives have been extended because western nations are buying these drugs by the truckload for sub-Saharan Africa. The amount of economic damage HIV/AIDS causes is staggering--people cut down in their prime, after society has invested the money in raising and educating them, but before they have a chance to become a productive member of society. It's really tragic.

While it's probably good for the ruling regimes to say "we give free HIV/AIDS treatment", that's about as big as the benefit they get from AIDS money (and the aid giving countries aren't shy about saying where the money comes from--even in a very autocratic place like Zimbabwe, every clinic is covered in UN and PEPFAR (US AIDS $) posters, so people know who is really footing the bill). If there's anyone who has a monetary incentive for spreading AIDS, it's the pharmaceutical companies that make the anti-retrovirals.

I will gladly concede, however, that if a cure for AIDS was found tomorrow, hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people would suddenly be looking for work.

I'm glad someone is saying what Shikwati says; it needs to be heard. However, he really oversimplifies things and has made a career of being "that guy who says outrageous things". Still, some of his points (like the best jobs in many places being in aid work) are dead on.
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June 17, 2011, 06:36:08 AM
 #4

Dambisa Moyo's book "Dead aid" is very good in this respect.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFABdPOpr2A

And she is hot.  Cool

I need to read this. I can't watch the video because internet is sub-Saharan Africa is terrifyingly expensive. Weep. But I've heard a lot about Moyo. She certainly has more mainstream credibility than Shikwati and her analysis (at least in the articles I've read) is much more nuanced.
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June 17, 2011, 06:41:39 AM
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Oh, readers of this thread might find this interesting: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8266290.stm

The article is about Rwanda's attempt to become a regional high-tech hub. It's fascinating.

The article is a bit old. Last I've heard some places are coming up on the fiber network, and it's not uncommon to be in a village where the water is spotty but you can get a fiber connection. It will be very interesting to see how this plays out. Personally, I view the missing piece of this being education--Rwanda needs to get some very experienced IT teachers there *NOW*, invest in IT teaching starting at the elementary level through secondary levels, and probably build a couple of large IT focused universities.
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June 17, 2011, 06:46:21 AM
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Handouts, welfare, entitlements, etc. tend to keep people in perpetual poverty. There may be a design behind this, to keep select third world countries from developing.

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June 18, 2011, 04:12:47 AM
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Yes, another case where throwing money at a problem won't solve it.

The money will generally end up in the hands of the people who need it the least because those are the people who the money attracts. The greedy.

The poverty remains, the people sell their dwindling resources for sustenance and the whole cycle is powered by home bred altruism. I'm with this guy to a point because while most of us would like to make up for the damage done to Africa by the world at large. This is not the way to do so. I for one think we should lay off.

Some countries actually bar the importing of foodstuffs as aid because it screws up the local food economy creating more poverty. Really terrible ideas and while people starve without this free food. We shouldn't be creating more hungry people by handing out free meals.

That's just asking for dependents... 
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June 18, 2011, 04:53:39 AM
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Atlas you annoy me with your idealistic notions of pointlessness. Just get a life.

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June 18, 2011, 05:32:40 AM
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Atlas you annoy me with your idealistic notions of pointlessness. Just get a life.

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June 18, 2011, 05:58:20 AM
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If you are interested in a debate along these lines, there are much better ones out there.

Lords of Poverty - a brutal documentary book on hgow corrupt international aid is

The White Man's Burden by Bill Easterly
and
The Mystery of Capital by Hernando de Soto
(which make some of the above points, but in more compelling ways IMHO) - an-caps will particularly like hernando's focus on private property as being key to development while others will like how easterly puts strong market incentives back into aid

and for alternate views
The End of Poverty by Jeff Sachs
Development as Freedom by Amartya Sen
and
Planet of Slums by Something Davis

are all really good ones

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June 18, 2011, 06:25:15 AM
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Racist!  Shocked  Angry
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June 18, 2011, 04:41:41 PM
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Handouts, welfare, entitlements, etc. tend to keep people in perpetual poverty. There may be a design behind this, to keep select third world countries from developing.

That is the plan. And to keep them dependent on the industrialzed nations.
Plus many other tactics like loans and the World Bank.

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June 19, 2011, 10:41:23 PM
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1. impact of providing international aid somewhat similar to dropping forged/fake banknotes into economics and for similar reasons. and effectively eleminates both economics and CoC.
2. sometimes, usually for PR/secrecy/stealth reasons, left hand not know what right do. for example, BG was do serious investments into Africa sterilization with US and African govt's cooperation. in same time, he[usually. in 70% cases thru M&B foundation"charity" Wink] invested with less noise into African industry, from raw extraction and chemstry to other things.
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