Africa – the crying child


James Shikwati is a Kenyan economics expert and in a recent interview with a German paper, Spiegel Online, he discusses the vast damage that foreign aid and the UN is doing to Africa.

Shikwati states that, while Western nations hold good intentions in providing aid to help develop African nations, it is the most damaging thing that can be done to Africa in the process of modernisation. In the interview he presents a couple of examples where developmental aid from the US and UN etc., actually hurt the nation and the citizens.

To paraphrase one example: A drought hits Kenya and the government instantly cries for aid. Food is then shipped to Kenya, and set to be distributed around the nation. However, food goes to the home tribes of powerful politicians first, and then on the black market, to be sold at a very low price. This low-cost food then puts local farmers out of work, as they can’t compete with the prices. This means that there are no food reserves should a famine happen in the future.

Now… if a famine hit, and the World Food Program didn’t supply to Kenya, Kenya would have no food reserves because they’ve priced their own citizens out of business; the inability to get food given to them, due to the abolishment of developmental aid, would then force African countries to trade with neighbours and encourage their own farming and infrastructure.

From the mouth of a native economist, developmental aid is what is keeping African nations back. Cut the aid and they will build themselves up.

The only people that will feel the loss of the aid will be “functionaries,” as the “normal Africans wouldn’t even notice.”

In the attempt to make Africa a prosperous continent, the UN and organisations giving developmental aid to countries there, instead of making them independent, have taught the governments to rely on welfare and hand-outs.

Africa is one of the most resource-rich continents on the planet with its minerals, oils, precious stones etc. They shouldn’t need money; they have fertile lands on which food isn’t hard to grow.

The old saying is very apt here: give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he will eat for the rest of his life. So far, our governments and international organisations are purely wanting to give people fish and hope it all works out in the end.

Photo by TREEAID