On air: Is it time for Africa to be weaned off aid?

Two topics on the agenda today. First aid to Africa, just three years after the G8 pledged to double aid the group which was set up to monitor their promises has found donor countries are $40bn behind schedule. And a year after Hamas seized control of Gaza we’re bringing together 6 young people to talk about how their lives have changed.

The Africa Progress Panel recognises that government budgets are struggling to meet their aid pledges and one of their suggestions is the introduction of an international lottery or a ‘ tax for Africa’.

The APP reports on the same day the award-winning Sierra Leonian film-maker, Sorious Samura, is releasing his latest documentary, called “How To Make A Difference In Africa”. He says, aid has caused problems in Africa. Has the west contributed to the continent’s problems? Should the rich nations do anything to deliver their promises or is the prospect of introducing a tax to fund aid pledges a step too far?

We’ll also bring together Palestinians and Israeli’s in Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem to talk about their lives a year on from Hamas taking control of Gaza. The Israeli’s have tightened their siege of the territory since Hamas won parliamentary elections in January 2006, and even more so since last year’s takeover. Petrol, electricity and food supplies have become scarce and day to day life can be a challenge. Israel says they are trying to put pressure on Hamas, which is on the U.S. government list of terrorist groups, to stop its members and other factions from firing mortars and rockets into Israel.

If you have any questions for our contributors you can post them here or email them at worldhaveyoursay@bbc.co.uk.

93 Responses to “On air: Is it time for Africa to be weaned off aid?”

  1. 1 steve
    June 16, 2008 at 15:07

    Hasn’t the EU also put Hamas on it’s terrorist list as well? I thought it was.

  2. June 16, 2008 at 15:12

    Foreign Aid has increased dependency in Africa. It is about time that Africa learns not to depend on it.

  3. 3 Sam
    June 16, 2008 at 15:17

    I believ aid for africa should not bve weaned off but rather re-strategised and used more effectively. Take for example Zimbabwe if all aid is denied to the millions in need disaster will be inevitalbe, But if aid is Given directly to the needy by Responsible neutral individuals.


  4. June 16, 2008 at 15:25

    Hi WHYSers!

    A most interesting set of topics if ever there were any!

    I am not so sure that the easy answer of weaning Africa off aid – an argument which I have heard before, is necessarilly the solution to the complexity of the problems faced by Africa; in part, because there is no “quick fix” solution which can be implemented to solve ‘the African Question’ over night. Indeed, I do not propose to be an African expert, in the sense in which I have been up to speed with all the details concerning aid to that continent.

    The United Nations Milenium Development Goals and the mission to make significant improvements in parts of the world where the populations are poorer, by 2010 (?), suggests the urgency of the African situation, currently. This morning the BBC reported that a new report says that G8 nations are way behind in terms of the pledge made three years ago to spur development in that continent, through the supply of aid. The estimated amount of the deficit over the period is $40 billion – a shocking fact by any estimate.

    The evident lack of commitment to these pledges/ agreements aimed at fostering international goodwill and engendering qualitative development in poorer countries, implicitly, suggests the connections between poverty in the “Global South” and the West. In consequence of which, it perhaps needs be said that “aid”, in this context, does not only apply to actual funding of specific projects, though there is no escaping this as well. This, given the glaring contradictions, developmentally, between Africa and the West.

    As a group of countries African nations require the investments of multiple forms of resources which are aimed at solving the complexity of the problems faced in that part of the world. In that regard, I am agreed with the report that Africa has to also make a greater effort to achieve compliance to certain international standards in terms of ending strife and widescale violence.

    There are long term impacts/ problems created by the practise of colonialism, slavery and the near wholesale exploitation of the continent as a source of rich mineral resources for development elsewhere, often in the West. Education and food aid and food security are critical issues, as well as access to proper medical and other resources to ensure the quality of life of many Africans.

    That, therefore, means that a simple solution like discontinuing aid to Africa does not begin to address the full significance, complexity and depth of the problems which faced by the governments in Africa or elsewhere, for that matter. There is, without question, need for a more urgent and a more refocussed look at ‘the African Question’ in the current reality.

  5. 5 jamily5
    June 16, 2008 at 15:31

    It is not as simple, as “yes,” or “no.”
    some aid efforts fail because of a myriad of reasons.
    Sometimes the Aid does not get to the people who need it the most.
    Sometimes there are invisible yet powerful strings attached.
    Then, there is the question:
    Are we just talking Gov aid or NGOs, as well.
    Helping to create steady employment would be hore assistive than just handouts.
    But, many times, this is not possible.
    We waste our Gov money on so many irrelevant things — I don’t think that humanitarian aid is one of them.
    I would rather “try” to help humanity, than do nothing at all.

  6. 6 Katharina in Ghent
    June 16, 2008 at 15:47

    Hi Agostinho,

    May I ask you: the money that was pledged three years ago, was that in the course of this big tour by Bono and Bob Geldof? If the answer is ‘yes’, then I’m not surprised that the Western leaders didn’t live up to the promise, because obviously they only made the pledge to rub shoulders with the stars and show the world that “they’re cool and care”. A lot of these pledges aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.

  7. 7 Colleen
    June 16, 2008 at 15:48

    @ Agostinho

    Well said!! Yes the problems in Africa are so complex that to say “let’s stop aid since it’s not getting much better” is a severe over-simplification. It’s basically making Africa a “write-off” for wealthy countries.

    A lot of the discussions on here regarding Africa seem to hit the nail on the head. The solution has to be a joint effort between the African people, the African governments, international organizations, and wealthier developed nations (espcially those who served to colonize much of the continent). But again I may be oversimplifying things… The real question is HOW to get all these player working together for a common purpose…..

  8. 8 Anthony
    June 16, 2008 at 15:48

    Take it away. Let nature run its course. Yeah, a lot has been done to Africans throughout the years, but a lot has happen to other civilizations. Look at the Jews, they went through a whole lot, and now they have a prosperous nation. Will a lot of people die and go through a lot of pain, yeah. I think by giving so much aid, were not letting their civilizations evolve naturally.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

    P.S. anyone who’s thinking “Naturally? The people were stolen from their lands, and their country was raped in every way possible, etc, etc…” Well, it happened, a long time ago, by people I’ve never met. No one is going to go back in a time machine and fix anything. Let’s just let them handle their own stuff. If you keep on feeding the wolves, they’ll never learn how to hunt.

  9. 9 Mohammed Ali
    June 16, 2008 at 16:08

    This question could not have come at anytime better than this. I am a typical African born and living in Liberia. Since the foundation of Liberia to my memory it has been living on HANDOUTS from the developed world, something known as AID. Personally I beleive that it is handouts/aids that has gotten Africa underdeveloped. Aids have made we Africans very lazy and as a result cannot afford to do anything for ourselves without asking for help.
    We have natural resources in abundance, we have fertile soil for agriculture, rainforests, and ect, ect. We don’t do anything with them. We don’t farm because someone from the west will feed us.
    Until we can stand up for ourselves and stop depending on aids/handouts from the developed world, Africa will remain underdeveloped.

  10. 10 Luz María Guzmán from Mexico
    June 16, 2008 at 16:08

    I don’t think is a good idea to wean Africa from foreign aid. However, I think is time to change strategies because obviously the aid is not getting to the most needed people there.

    My opinion is that corruption and bad management of the aid resources are some of the principal reasons why there has not been a significant change in the development of this Continent. These are tough issues to address -especially because of politics- but something has to be done in order to improve/end the terrible living conditions, diseases and violence that many Africans have to endure.

  11. 11 Ogola Benard
    June 16, 2008 at 16:16

    The problem AID to African is of great concern . first the west gives the AID and then sends NGO’s to monitor how the funds are spent.The funds are actually spent on workshops and programmes about how to improve the lives of Africans and when the next workshop should be held! Not forgetting the out of pocket allowances(part of the fund is already gone).
    If one could only ask how these people are empowered?are they employed? is there food security?
    what are the prospects of improving to the next step?
    But my question is- who actaually recieves the fund?
    Does it reach the persons its meant for?
    Roads in Africa is accident it self. They budget for the same, have it done, and in the next Ten months its gone. Is it the heavy vehicles on the road and poor
    A large population are uneducated while some still live in grass thatched shelters and enjoy the bite of a mosquito.
    The land is generally fertile but what has this fund done? It has created wars among countries for need of the same fund.
    Try that” tax”

  12. June 16, 2008 at 16:24

    I think the Major causes of poverty and hunger in AFRICA is the Aid given to it.The EU and the US must stop delivering Aid to Africa.Africa is the richest country in the world interms of Natural Resources and Ironically it’s the poorest continent on Earth.

  13. 13 Ogola Benard
    June 16, 2008 at 16:24

    No proper medical services and yet peolpe qualify as doctors-The dreaded scourge is said to be reducing but what can you do once you are a friend to poverty?
    what Africa lacks is employment? otherwise you will continue growing mangoes and have nowhere to take your
    You destroy industries and play dirty politics and ask for foriegn AiD. I dont even understand the word food security for Africa without employment.

  14. 14 Alison
    June 16, 2008 at 16:27

    Foreign aid from the US just seems to slow economic development and create dependency, and there’s not much evidence in Africa today that our money is doing them any good. To quote from an article:

    “A recent study by Peter Boone of the London School of Economics and the Center for Economic Performance confirmed that U.S. economic aid does not promote economic development. Studying more than 100 countries, Boone concluded that “Long-term aid is not a means to create [economic] growth.”

    It’s definitely time for a change. I would hope my government would realize that what they’re doing is not working and stop aid to developing countries until they can figure out how to do it right.

  15. 15 Shirley
    June 16, 2008 at 16:28

    re-post from Gaza thread:
    I have some questions for any guests that you might have from Palestine.

    assalamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah jami`an
    1) It has been ages since I have heard news from Nablus or Jenin. Anything that your guests could offer would be much appreciated.
    2) Do students have access to schools and universities in Gaza and the West Bank?
    3) What is the emotional state of the children in the West Bank and Gaza? I have heard that many have trouble sleeping, that some have a hard time trusting people, etc.
    4) How hard is it to get enough food for everyone in the fmaily every day?
    5) What is the state of Islamic education at the masajid in the West Bank and Gaza? Do the Imams and `ulama still refer to the teachings of tasawwuf and the Hanafi madhhab? Or has salafist teachings been coming into the masajid? Also, how are Shia Muslims and Christians doing in the West Bank and Gaza?

    I have so many more questions, but I have already submitted too many.

  16. 16 John D. Augustine - WI USA
    June 16, 2008 at 16:29

    Whether it is time for Africa to be “weaned” off of aid is a question for Africans to answer, so I have nothing to say about that. But I suggest that the question the BBC should be asking is whether it has considered the larger scale of net transfer of wealth to and from Africa.

    The question asked by WHYS seems to presume that aid represents a maternal, or supportive, relation between wealthy nations providing aid and poor nations receiving it. The question presumes complete ignorance of the transfer of wealth from poor nations to wealthy ones extracting it.

    In the absence of any real math showing the net transfer of wealth, any question of who should be learning to fend for themselves now is simply premature. And that’s my thirty seconds. Who wants to keep this ball rolling?

  17. June 16, 2008 at 16:34

    @ Katharina & Coleen,

    Thanks for your comments.

    I must confess my ignorance in terms of the question posed by Katharina as it relates to the governments of the West joining in the celebrity profiling. However, where and when instances of this type ‘prostitution of poverty’ occurs, by which I mean, making it a sport by only talking and then not following through, is just as deadly as the wholesale exploitation of the resources of the continent without also recognising the humanity of those left behind to suffer. The shamelessness of it all is a little too much to bear at times. It smacks of a contempt which says that certain types of people are either not worthy (of assistance, etc.) or they are not people at all! That is a dangerous consciousness, or more appropriately lack of consciousness, in which live.

    The first part of the assistance programme for developing Africa, as well as other parts of the “Global South” has to begin with proper education on the gravity and depth of the problems faced in these parts of the world. Media reportage, for instance, which only focus on the negatives – skirmishings, strife, genocide, without also attempting to find balance highlighting other areas of life on the continent, also contribute to this general lack of awareness. It is easy, of course, to only rely on media, as most of us do, to interpret the world around us.

    However, we also have to recognise the extent to which most of these institutions have their own narrow agendas which sometimes does not coincide with the development mission of the continent. This is not to say that we should disbelieve media reports in this regard, but look with a more critical eye in terms of the information recieved about Africa or elsewhere. Rather, consciousness-raising about ‘the other’ has to begin, I believe, by actually wanting to know (about something or someone else. It is not enough to just look, or listen!) and taking the time to find out. Throwing money at the problem, such as it is, is just as bad as not holding people to account as well as giving them money with politically attached strings.

  18. 18 Mohammed Ali
    June 16, 2008 at 16:40

    @Agostinho, you put forth a fine argument, but the fact remains that the overdependence of Africans on aid form the western world is compounding our problems simply because we are not willing to put our strength and ability to use. Why it is true that colonialism and slavery left it’s scar on Africa, we African have done nothing to clear this scar from the past. Colonialism took its toll on India and all of South America, but look at Brazil, Argentina, India, Hong Kong, or they have special favor from God? India and China have emerge to become a world power economically and these two countries together have almost half of the wolrd population. So why we Africans can’t follow their example?
    The complexity of our problems stands from our laziness.

  19. 19 Rick
    June 16, 2008 at 16:41

    What Aid? A huge chunk of “Aid” never ever reaches the intended recipients. Some gets lost in the inevitable corruption, but amazingly alot of it goes back to the donor countries by way of – expat analysts, coordinators, 4 x 4 trucks etc. Weaning would be a good idea.

  20. 20 Anthony
    June 16, 2008 at 16:53

    @ John D. Augustine

    Why is it the Africans job to answer that? If you ask some gang members from Los Anegles “so, do you think we should stop giving you welfare for you and your 6 kids?”, what do you think they are gonna say? In both cases, WE’RE the ones who actually pay for it. Those are the LAST people you consult, because they are ALWAYS gonna say they still need it.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  21. 21 Venessa
    June 16, 2008 at 16:54

    I don’t believe I am the most informed on this issue but I agree with Anthony especially after reading Mohammed Ali’s post.

    Perhaps if the African people were forced to help themselves they would realize the valuable richness of the country they already occupy. Obviously the aid that has been provided is proving to be counterproductive to the African’s advancement to compete with the rest of the world.

  22. 22 Robert in Angola
    June 16, 2008 at 16:55

    Africa has many resources, both natural and human. What it lacks is efficient organisation to make use of them. This lack of efficiency has been allowed to happen becuase in the past they have always been bailed out by the west. If aid is stopped than the principles of free markets will force the continent to find ways to make the most of its resources. But the rest of the world must open thier own markets for Africa to compete on a level field.

  23. 23 Jens
    June 16, 2008 at 16:57

    the aid is not the problem. the problems are the corrupt goverments and countries being run my selfish dictators. africa has every chance of developing itself, if only we the west and now the chinese let africa do so. decades of colonisation has left africa scared. however scares can heal. the best aid we can give africa is paying a fair price for its produce and other comodities making sure that the money goes to the people and not the power hungry and brutal dictators.

  24. 24 Colleen
    June 16, 2008 at 17:02

    @ Anthony

    I took John’s comment to say that the question itself is flawed because you cant just look at one side of an equation.

    Yes Africa receives X amount of aid from other countries.

    But a lot of these countries are “investing” in Africa while they are actually extracting resources for their own profit at extrememly cheap prices.

    If these resources were accurately valued, it may show that Africa is actually providing much of its own wealth to support other nations with minimal benefit to Africa itself. And this wealth most liekly exceeds the X amount of aid mentioned initially.

  25. 25 VictorK
    June 16, 2008 at 17:10

    Africa has no right to a penny of Western taxpayers’ money, and Western governments have no business intervening in African affairs through aid.

    Africa is potentially the richest continent on the planet. If it had been populated by 500 million Europeans, Chinese or Indians it would be a paradise of wealth. The hard fact of the matter is that Africans are the reason for Africa’s failure. If you reject that great engine of wealth creation, the free market, for various forms of socialist economics, if a culture of envy drives you to persecute and rob those talented and enterprising African and non-African groups who ought to be the driving force of your economic growth, if you put national interest below tribal interest and tribal interest below personal and family interest, if you put consumption before production, if you scorn discipline, sacrifice, patience, expertise, and competence and cultivate in their place resentment, dependency, a culture of blame and general all-round irresponsibility, then no amount of aid and no quantity of natural resources will rescue you from the inevitable poverty and failure that you will have richly deserved.

    In the 1950s South Korea was at the same level of development as most African countries. Hard work and a sense of national endeavour – not aid – have raised that country into membership of the rich, developed world. Africans could have had the same success if they’d really wanted it. Aid is damaging in itself and a distraction from the essential reforms that many African states need to make if they are to prosper. Aid distorts and undermines the operation of the free market, besides which much of it is simply stolen and ends up back in Europe courtesy of Switzerland’s banking system. Many African states make would-be businesses go through an horrific bureaucratic obstacle course before they can establish themselves, after which weak legal systems and a corrupt political process means that there is often no security of property for those who have managed to establish successful businesses (e.g. a farmer in Zimbabwe). States that may at any moment fall into chaos or into the hands of a capricious ethnic dictator offer few incentives to the talented to set up wealth-creating businesses and many reasons for emigrating to make their fortune in (and further enrich) properly managed states. Everything that is wrong about Africa can be fixed by Africans. It’s their responsibility to address these issues, not the West’s.

    Donor countries should cease all economic aid to Africa – it undermines markets and doesn’t work to anyone’s benefit – and Africans should start to behave as if their countries really were ‘independent’ by taking full responsibility for their own affairs. Beggars never prosper.

  26. 26 Colleen
    June 16, 2008 at 17:23

    @ VictorK

    Your defense of the Free Market does not account for the many ways in which the government does intervene in the market. Two examples: government bail out of US CEOs who sanctioned corrupt business practices; subsidies to US farmers which prevent emerging agricultural markets from participating…

    the free market in theory may be good, but in practice it’s only a myth.

  27. 27 Anthony
    June 16, 2008 at 17:28

    The best thing we could do is educate the African children. Once a new generation of people have changed their mentalities, and are able to understand advanced ways of thinking, they can see for themselves that, and how they and their country are being exploited. Then, they will be able to do something about it. It won’t happen though. Why would the Western world want a bunch of intelligent Africans, when we can exploit them, right?

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  28. 28 archibald in oregon
    June 16, 2008 at 17:28

    It is strange that the west always talks of giving or taking away aid to people in “poor” countries and yet the real problems in those countries regarding corruption and missuse of aid funds are hardly ever addressed, instead more money is thrown at the problem. It is easy to say that Africa should be weaned off of aid, but many African nations are still crippled from the western colonizations that took place in the not so distant past. Aid does not help when there is no education. Goods and equipment are used and discarded after they break, because noone has been trained to maintain them. The distribution of said “aid” is sorely hindered by so many daunting factors that it is hard to get your head around. Why wean when we could embrace fully and actually create a stronger global economy with all members of this vast planet participating and feeling vital in a larger community. It is only a “pipe dream” as long as we call it one. How is another question entirely……

  29. 29 Thea Winter - Indianapolis IN, USA
    June 16, 2008 at 17:32

    I agree with Robert in Angola.
    Africa needs more then money aid. They need be have more education on how to use and get to the riches they have as a nation and as a people. The other side is that the governments oppress the people in Africa so THEY can stay in power and have the money for themselves.

    I believe that the richer nations need to give expertise in these areas (education and hi-tech) in addition to money.

  30. June 16, 2008 at 17:34

    Still recovering from the hit-and-run on TP June 16, but here goes:

    The only kind of aid that will benefit Africa is aid that is targeted and administered throughout by the donor bodies. All economic aid should be accompanied by very long-term training and skills-development programs, as well as a thoroughgoing education initiative. In short, if straggling countries in Africa are not willing to be supervised at several levels for as long as it takes for aid programs to take root, grow and bear fruit, all aid can be expected to go into the void.

    Watch and see how the Chinese do it. They may yet teach western donors a thing or two.

  31. 31 Julie Kampala
    June 16, 2008 at 17:39

    Aid to Africa has proven to be like giving illegal drugs to a drug addict than a mother’s milk to a suckling baby.
    We, Africans, have been taking this ‘drug’ for over forty years and what have we got to show for it? Exporting bags of unprocessed coffee/ cocoa, gazillions of coups, abject poverty, death and destruction. We are dependent on donors or exports for literally everything.
    We are not self reliant! No, news agencies are not lying. We are the most backward continent with the highest untapped natural resoruces. Most of Africa prefers ‘quick fixes’ to national problems than long term permanent solutions.
    In order to survive, we have to be weaned off this toxic drug or we will die. However, Africa has to be convinced to get off this drug before she hits rock bottom. Will she agree?
    The bigger question is what happens to the drug supplier? Should he be arrested and how?

  32. 32 Colleen
    June 16, 2008 at 18:04

    I think the word “aid” implies good intentions.

    Maybe the “aid” given to Africa right now is meant only to help some people there to survive, but also meant to ensure that as a whole the people will not thrive. So this “aid” is not good-intentioned and arguably may be better off not given.

    But true good intentioned aid (including education, healthcare, infrastructure) should be given until Africa no longer needs it.

  33. 33 Vijay
    June 16, 2008 at 18:04

    Africa won’t progress without investment,whether it’s public, private ,individual, corporate , governmental or NGO.
    States can’t be allowed to fail in the present world security scenario.
    There should be a model or template for systemic development in any country that receives aid.

  34. 34 Karen Morrison
    June 16, 2008 at 18:06

    I am a United States citizen and we have grinding poverty of our own. It is difficult to justify aid to Africa for most of us when it just disappears into a sinkhole of corruption. If we could see valid results for our sacrifices I would be more than happy to support this aid. From what I can see it just turns into Mercedes-Benzes for leader and their cronies. And taxes are sacrifices, if I didn’t have to pay state and federal income taxes my whole like would be different.

  35. 35 Bob Macdonald
    June 16, 2008 at 18:06

    I have worked in development for the past ten years. I can honestly say that the best thing that development agencies can do is to ensure there is a vibrant marketplace, access to the internet, and support to major infrastructure like airports, harbours, roads, hospitals, and universities. As for the ongoing struggle to lift people out of poverty, this is best done by people having access to great ideas on how to make money, access to credit, and a new spirit of entrepreneurialism and business. The worst thing aid agencies do is create dependency cultures and encourage people to believe they will have prosperity if they just wait long enough for global aid to increase. That isn’t how prosperity occures. Many aid agencies are currently part of the porblem, not the solution. We have had 60 plus years of global aid, it is time to call time on aid agencies that just aren’t working.

  36. 36 Bin Ali Gaber
    June 16, 2008 at 18:11

    Hi everyone i belive that africa should depends on it is resources but we should say the fact that Amrica and EU exploit the resources of the poor countries so they can not depend on themselves they still need aids till the control of the AMRICA and EU be far from the resources of these countries and give them liberty in thier affires…

  37. 37 Taisa Santana (Brazil)
    June 16, 2008 at 18:14

    @ Luz Maria Gusman: I totally agree.

    Bad management, lack of coordination and de-centralization of funds are the main reasons for aid ineffectiveness in Africa over the past decades. In most poor countries, aid resources are coordinated and distributed by many NGOs on individual and fragmented projects, when it actually should be used directly by the government as a way to encourage its leadership. Those resources should be addressed to government policies and programs, and the government should be entirely responsible to account for all expenditures.
    There is no black-and-white antagonism between ‘Aid’ and ‘Political/Economical Independence’, but one must be seen as a way to contribute to the other if you want to see some long-term results.

    You should take a look at that this article from UNESCO’s website about SWAps – a relatively new ‘aid modality’ that have been implemented in some countries.


  38. 38 Brett
    June 16, 2008 at 18:15

    is the prospect of introducing a tax to fund aid pledges a step too far?
    Absolutely it is a step too far!

    I am more than hoping that Africa can ween itself off of aid.

    Furthermore, those receiving aid should be grateful of the aid they receive. Don’t get upset and complain because the developed world is not meeting their quota on what they would have liked to provide. Be thankful there is even help coming at all. I know this sounds harsh, but get your act together, then come back and ask for aid.

  39. 39 Bob - Lynnwood, WA USA
    June 16, 2008 at 18:18

    My father was on loan from USAID to UNDP from 1975-77 in Ethiopia, to help with drought relief. Ethiopia couldn’t feed it’s self then and it still can’t do it now.

  40. 40 Pat
    June 16, 2008 at 18:19

    Sorry Chloe that I cannot stay on the line listening and participating – its jobs that people need as the form of aid. Our prison is full of young men – very young men most because of petty drug offenses why are they there? They have been let down or so they think by parents, teachers, friends and society – they need education and jobs – even old people need work.

    Aid cannot supply the schools, hospitals, roads, homes and self esteem, but tax can if we all have work with a decent wage and working conditions. How can it be right that a brewery company can buy another brewery for 40 billion dollars when a fairly young man has to pick up beer bottles from the dump to sell back to the brewery for what he can get. He lives honestly by his wits. Will try and come back,

  41. 41 Helen Salka
    June 16, 2008 at 18:19

    It sounds like Africa has a sturdy agricultural system. A non-meat reliance is a better idea with so many people to feed. There is something wrong when aid is needed for survival & the poorest starve & die or are more susceptable to AIDS and disease. But meat production continues and benefits so few. It is only a monetary benefit, because meat eating provides nothing a suitable vegetarian diet cannot also provide.And meat poses risk for disease.

  42. 42 Kwabena
    June 16, 2008 at 18:20

    At a time when the west and east are fighting over africa, i dont think it wil be in their interest to wean africa of aid. He who feeds you, controls your mind and actions.

  43. 43 Manu - Accra, Ghana
    June 16, 2008 at 18:21

    Is it not time to consider the following:

    The so-called two-state “solution” has failed.

    It can never succeed in a form that will offer the Palestinians dignity, freedom and justice, because the Israel and United States governments will never allow this to happen. The only circumstances in which it could prevail, would be one in which the Palestinians were so thoroughly humiliated and so desperate that they could see no other way out. Even then, young Palestinians would continue to feel that violent resistance, even suicide, was the only escape from their humiliation.

    People of goodwill, world-wide, friends of both the Palestinians and the Israelis, should develop alternative solutions, in particular that of a single, democratic, secular state within the 1947 pre-partition boundaries (see attachment), a state with international guarantees for the protection of the human, religious, language and cultural rights of all individuals, faiths and communities within those boundaries. The State of Israel would cease to exist as a “Jewish State” but the Israeli Jews would continue to live there as citizens and as Jews, with full political rights.

    This will no doubt be dismissed as “utopian.” It is no more utopian than the failed two-state project. It has the advantage of being morally defensible and the possibility of meeting the legitimate aspirations of all those living within the pre-partition boundaries; and of those Palestinians who were forced to leave their homes in 1948 and their descendants.

  44. 44 Dr Mark LaRue
    June 16, 2008 at 18:22

    There already is a Palestinian state – it is called Jordan. There was no such thing as Jordan before 1948 and Palestinians and Jordan’s were identical people before that. So why do the people in the West Bank and Gaza continue to be denied membership as Jordanians? Because it suits Jordan and in fact the entire Arab world for them to exist in misery while they bask in oil money and freedom. As with Lebanon to the north, it has always been the long term strategy to keep Israel surrounded by turmoil and threat. No “Road Map to Peace” that does not address this long term strategy and the basic dishonesty of the entire proposition of two state solution will ever solve the problem or bring peace because it is not what the larger Arab world, including Jordan – wants.

  45. 45 devadas.v - kerala
    June 16, 2008 at 18:22

    all african countries are in turmoil be it in the political or economic front .so weaning off from aid will be catastrophe for african countries .so waht the western policy makers have to think is how can the aid be better utilised and monitored .

  46. 46 Jason C
    June 16, 2008 at 18:23

    YES! The worst way to teach a small child to become independent is to spoil it rotten. Giving aid to governments just reinforces their dependency and mismanagement. It also allows evil dictators to consolidate power through preferencial distribution. Aid doesn’t cure problems except in situations where an absolute short term disaster is involved. Even then truly corrupt regimes can leave their people to die. A good example of this is Burma and Katrina. Ever notice how China responded to their earthquake better than the US responded to their mini-tsunami? I am not sure what I am supposed to think about that one.

  47. 47 Bob Macdonald
    June 16, 2008 at 18:23

    I agree with Brett: countries that go places are countries wanting to go places. Many countries have lifted themselves out of poverty, so what conditions are required to go from poverty to wealth, are known and quantifiable. And the most critical element is determination. A government has to have a plan and the will to see it through. It is like anything, once you have your act together, and can tell people where you want to go, and what you want to do, then people can better help you.

    What we have right now in many countries is corrupt governments who do not have a plan to help their people; they just don’t care because they exist to help a small elite, often a group of relatives. No amount of foreign aid can bypass this problem. If countries are sincere about helping all their people, then learn from South Korea, Singapore, China etc. etc.

    It is worth remembering that most people in the west were once very poor too. They worked their way out of it without aid money.

  48. 48 steve
    June 16, 2008 at 18:24

    The two state solution has failed? I know, it’s so difficult to destroy israel on the battlefield you need to destroy it politically. boo hoo. The Jews of Israeli are going to refuse to be dhimmis, like the copts are in Egypt. Why on God’s earth would Israelis willingly give up power and become a third class citizen in their own country, living with a bunch of Hamas religious fanatics. Ask christians in the middle east how they are treated, and ask why the Jews would want to be subjected to the same?

  49. 49 Steve - USA
    June 16, 2008 at 18:25

    One of the guests was saying Gaza is like a prison, which is pretty much true, but places all the blame on Israel. Why is Egypt preventing Gazans from entering and leaving Gaza?

  50. 50 Micah
    June 16, 2008 at 18:26

    I believe aid is just a ploy western institutions to make money to underwrite the hefty salaries of the ‘international civil servants’. Aid is as old as independent Africa yet the problems that plagued us in the 60s and which the aid industry sought to eradicate are the same ones that afflict us today. Remember aid almost doubles from year to year though the big chunk goes to salaries and ‘logistics’. Note also that most of these workers are expatriates so before even the money reaches the ground, most of is on it’s way back to where it came from. What we need is fair trade with the rest of the world and not handouts. Nairobi

  51. 51 Soloman Urriola
    June 16, 2008 at 18:29

    The Palestinian are responsible for what is going in their land. Who gave Hamas the power in the past elections?

    The argument is always the same. Why is Israel responsible for the future of the Palestinians?

    What happened to Gaza? It has become a center from where the terrorist group Hamas plans attack against the citizens of Israel.

    We will never have peace because in order to have it, people have to work for it and be good neighbors. The peace will come when the Palestinians reject the dominion of extremist groups in their own territory. Palestinians live with the enemy within.

  52. 52 Dave Bancroft
    June 16, 2008 at 18:30

    I would like to propose a two part solution to poor governance and ineffective financial aid.

    Firstly, a UN written ‘off-the-peg’ constitution that countries must adopt to participate in aid programmes. This would guarantee basic human rights and transparency of government, not necessarily democratic. This would have to be ‘strongly recommend’ and not compulsory, unfortunately.

    Secondly, a change to ‘real’ infrastructure projects, instead of financial aid. For example, the US could build and staff schools and universities, the UK could install sewage systems and treatment plants using UK companies, France could build, staff and equip hospitals and medical centres. China could build road links, etc. Directly improving the lives of ordinary citizens living around these infrastructure improvements.

    By removing the structures and opportunities for corrupt and selfish behaviour, the spirit of cooperation through helping and education could replace a culture of helplessness.

  53. 53 Lamii Kpargoi
    June 16, 2008 at 18:36

    What has to now be done for Africa is the giving of favorable trade incentives instead of just blanket aid. The donor world has to also ensure that our leaders spend the continent’s own little resources properly. These donors shouldn’t allow African leaders to spend monies in their countries unless they can be sure that these were legitimately earned devoid of corruption.

    Lamii Kpargoi

  54. 54 Judie
    June 16, 2008 at 18:37

    Israel withdrew from Gaza, removing all settlers who lived there. They left their greenhouses and other materials to help support an economically strong state. Instead of building on that base, the greenhouses were destroyed and the entire focus of the leadership was to use Gaza as a base from which to attack Israel.

    The residents of Gaza should not expect Israel to ignore the daily barrage of rockets from Gaza to civilian areas in Israel. They should also not be surprised when innocent civilians are killed or injured by Israeli retaliation when the Palestinians who fire the rockets shoot their weapons from civilian neighborhoods.

    If the Palestinians need fuel, why don’t they ask their leaders why they (the leaders) have plenty of fuel for themselves and their projects but keep it from the rest of the Palestinians to promote their “victimization” propaganda.

    If the Palestinians in Gaza really want to live in a peaceful, productive society, they have to elect leaders who share that objective.

  55. 55 Simone
    June 16, 2008 at 18:37

    If world aid stopped coming to Africa there would be an economic bump in the road but capitalism would rule the day. Africa would end up doing business with characters the west considers unsavory much to the chagrin of the west.

    This may not be a bad thing for African nations.

    Understandably Africa nations are leery of allowing any western presence into their countries. If the west wishes to continue it’s influence on the continent it will keep the aid flowing.

    Simone Myree in Olympia, WA, USA

  56. 56 Dave
    June 16, 2008 at 18:43

    I would like to propose a two part solution to poor governance and ineffective financial aid.

    Firstly, a UN written ‘off-the-peg’ constitution that countries must adopt to participate in aid programmes. This would guarantee basic human rights and transparency of government, not necessarily democratic. This would have to be ’strongly recommended’ and not compulsory, unfortunately.

    Secondly, a change to ‘real’ infrastructure projects, instead of financial aid. For example, the US could build and staff schools and universities, the UK could install sewage systems and treatment plants using UK companies, France could build, staff and equip hospitals and medical centres. China could build road links, etc. Directly improving the lives of ordinary citizens living around these infrastructure improvements.

    By removing the structures and opportunities for corrupt and selfish behaviour, the spirit of cooperation through helping and education could replace a culture of helplessness.

  57. 57 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    June 16, 2008 at 18:44

    Let’s face the hard fact: Billions of dollars over decades has failed utterly to help the lives of ordinary Africans. It’s stolen by the brutal regimes that are starving their people. It’s misdirected to big, wasteful, inappropriate projects. It supports crazy bureaucracies and massive corruption. It distorts local markets and hurts local farmers.

    Trade is a hundred times more helpful than aid. Microloans are much more efficient in working from the bottom up, lifting individuals from poverty to self-sufficiency.

    There’s no sense debating theory when we have so much actual history to show us what works and what doesn’t.

  58. 58 Mason
    June 16, 2008 at 18:44

    The west needs to keep the aide flowing, their colonial past has a lot to do with the situation in Africa.  Clearly a more efficient process is needed, that fights corruption, and does not base aide on adherence to ideological beliefs (ie the US AIDs assistance that requires the ridiculous requirement that abstinence must be the primary focus of anti aids programs)  Empty promises only result in empty stomachs.
        A bigger problem is the corporate abuse of the Africans and African countries, a multi billion dollar oil or diamond paying an African worker less than a dollar a day is criminal.  If these companies paid these workers $5 a day, the people’s situation could improve, and the companies would still be making billions of dollars, more than enough to give their CEO a 200 million dollar severance package.

  59. June 16, 2008 at 18:48

    I am listening to this program now… and I am getting very angry… the guests appear to be extremists… and intransigent….. it is not AID that is the problem but it is the WAY the aid is given…..

  60. 60 Colleen
    June 16, 2008 at 18:48

    @ Dave

    yes the UN could help. however the current structure of the UN is working against the interests of Africa. Because the 5 security council seat have not changed since the 1940’s only priorities that benefit those nations can really get significant attention. The balance of power in the UN needs to be reconstructed for it to be effective for all nations…

  61. 61 Will Rhodes
    June 16, 2008 at 18:51

    I do agree with those who have said that Africa has become too dependant on aid.

    When the aid is let through it is almost certainly 1/2 of what was sent, then there is the hierarchy of who gets the aid as it goes down the line and the poorest of poor do not get any – this goes with medical, food and financial aid.

    African states should be helped, most certainly indeed, but they should be helped more to become self-sufficient. That said, those who should hold the purse stings should be those who give the aid/help. That way you don’t get a bank account full of aid cash and the people with nothing.

  62. 62 Ben Mokaya
    June 16, 2008 at 19:10

    A difficult question indeed.

    Here is my viewpoint.Africa has become a bottomless pit. just think, how much Africa has received in aid since the 5os. The West is to blame for the Continent’s ills and falls. The West has made and destroyed dictators, depending on their usefulness. Mobutu,(rebel)Savimbi,Nguesso etc. The Aid is a waste! Why should there be billions of dollars in aid going to waste to enrich these dictators and their cronies. Most of the receipients have the worst human rights record; Kibaki stealing an election, several hundred people died, Zeawi in Ethiopia, democracy there is a distant dream, Museveni is Uganda- is a former rebel soldiere who ovwrthrew a nother dictator, Mugabe, he vomitted on the donors’ shoes, the list goes on and on.

    This is the best part, when these countries were being administere from the west (read colonies)their economies were vibrant, Zimbabwe is the baet exaple of a failed independent State due to poor leadership. Mosyt of these leaders were veru vocal about self rule and the ills of colonialists, promising their people heaven on earth- where are they today– near hell, if not in it.

    Yes, cut off the aid, or if you have to keep it flowing please administer it. There is no freedom withoutbeing free economically.There are alot of homeless people in America, while dictators are becoming millonaires from aid money. Its’ a shame.

  63. 63 Jackson
    June 16, 2008 at 19:10

    Im an aid worker in Swaziland and i think its working slowly. But we should learn from the church and concentrate on health and education. The business class cant thrive without better education.

  64. 64 Will Rhodes
    June 16, 2008 at 19:10

    The west needs to keep the aide flowing, their colonial past has a lot to do with the situation in Africa.

    Pure and utter bunkum, Mason!

    How many of the African nations have been independent for X-number of years – there is, at some point, a time when you have to say that Africa has her own problems developed by Africans!

    You cannot keep blaming the colonial times – those times are dead and gone.

  65. 65 Parvesh, Budapest
    June 16, 2008 at 19:11

    Sadly africa will not move forward until the culture of corruption culture is got rid of. And the social culture and attitude is changed through education. The world should stop thinking that dumping aid is the answer. Go in and build villages , schools and basic facilities.

  66. 66 Kalypso - Vienna, austria
    June 16, 2008 at 19:12

    western countries: please, stop subcedesing your farmers, and open your markets to products from african countries.

  67. 67 gary
    June 16, 2008 at 19:15

    Exploitation and aid are obverse and reverse of the same coin. Both generate revenue streams that draw greedy, corrupt, violent “leaders” as honey draws flies (I hate this metaphor as casts flies in an undeservingly bad light.}. Africa’s only hope lies in both being stopped.

  68. 68 Josimar
    June 16, 2008 at 19:15

    There is a belief in Africa the man of the house is served the first, most and best food before his family. This is the reason why aid is not appropriated correctly by African states. This does not mean that aid should be stopped. The best way of distributing aid in Africa is to supervise how it is utilized and offer assistance to establish those institutions needed to share the resources.

    We must remember that the world, i.e. Afro-Caribbean, African Americans and Europe is still indebted to Africa for its resources and contribution to the development of modern Europe and the Americas.

  69. 69 Bethwel - Bucharest, Romania
    June 16, 2008 at 19:16

    Aid to Africa has in most cases ended into pockets of some few greedy individuals. African continent has many resources which when fully exploited could transform the lives of the people. But poor governance and corruption are to blame for failure underdevelopment in the continent.

    However, stopping aid to Africa will lead to suffering of many people especially now that famine is ravaging the continent.

  70. 70 Mason - Park City, Utah
    June 16, 2008 at 19:16

    The west needs to keep the aide flowing, their colonial past has a lot to do with the situation in Africa.  Clearly a more efficient process is needed, that fights corruption, and does not base aide on adherence to ideological beliefs (ie the US AIDs assistance that requires the ridiculous requirement that abstinence must be the primary focus of anti aids programs)  Empty promises only result in empty stomachs.
        A bigger problem is the corporate abuse of the Africans and African countries, a multi billion dollar oil or diamond paying an African worker less than a dollar a day is criminal.  If these companies paid these workers $5 a day, the people’s situation could improve, and the companies would still be making billions of dollars, more than enough to give their CEO a 200 million dollar severance package.

  71. 71 Anon via email
    June 16, 2008 at 19:17

    Why are we blaming the nations that have not kept their promise?

    What about africa, what have they done? What has changed, how are they helping themselves?

    All we are doing is creating even more dependent people instead of self sustained people.

  72. 72 Rick - USA WISCONSIN
    June 16, 2008 at 19:18

    How can you take the only food that some of these children have away. With aid comes corruption and thats what should be corrected. Imagine your own child dieing of starvation how would that make you feel.

  73. 73 Mark from kansas
    June 16, 2008 at 19:30

    Aid to africa does help temporarily but much of it feeds the corruption, that also depends on aid. Until it can be distributed effectively to encourage development African governments only have incentive to sitfle progress. The people need the food because it seems the governments would rather kill tthem than give them the recources they need. It is a true catch 22.
    After WWII it was said “Never again” would the world allow such mass murders that happened during that war. What they should have said is “Never again in Europe.” These organizations do nothing while millions of africans are murdered and starved to death. We should be occuping and building african democracies instead of the middle east. There are attrocities in the middle east but africa has many democracies that need regime change and infastructure building. Although the west may not agree with the middle eastern method of government they do maintain more law and order than african nations. It is disgracefull that we do not go in there and help these people, while their governments steal their food aid and development money, and kill them for disagreeing.

  74. 74 Venessa
    June 16, 2008 at 19:35

    How can aid help the African people if they don’t help themselves first?

  75. 75 Arnaud Ntirenganya Emmanuel
    June 16, 2008 at 19:54

    better these aids should stop because Africans leaders use them only for themselves

  76. June 16, 2008 at 21:01

    Poor countries in Africa, shouldn’t put all the blame on the west for failing to provide them with the all the help they need. It’s them who should clean their house to make better use of the help they already receive. It’s shameful that as independent countries, they still need supervision from donor countries and organisations to know where their money go. Good governance and international cooperation is the key to eradicating poverty in Africa. As long as the aid is misused, all the money allocated to help Africa will be just a waste.

  77. June 16, 2008 at 21:07

    @ Will Rhodes,

    I have been reading some of these comments and yours jumped out at me; not so much because I was especially aggrieved by what you said but, more so because you touched on a point in which I am especially interested – the politics of colonialism and its impact(s) on development throughout the world, specifically in the “Global South”.

    It goes without saying that the effects of colonialism requires urgent review (and it might also be that this may not be the best forum in which do so, however…). This is especially insofar as the contributions of the colonial power(s) to the situations inside of and which revolve around the colonies/ former colonies, currently. Where such reviews/ analyses do not take appropriate account of the insidious effects of colonialism as a systemic means of engendering and enshrining under-development, then, the review/ analyses are fundamentally flawed.

    Indeed, colonialism ended in many parts of the world by the mid to late twentieth century, in terms of the removal of the physical “chains” of attachment to these constructed ‘motherlands’. The latter term was often used to reference the superior (?) position of the coloniser in relation to the colony/ colonised. However, what did not happen at the time was a simultaneous severing of the invisible chains of dependency, under-development, etc. which were caused by colonialism.

    This is not to suggest a complete lack of agency on the part of the (previously) colonised, which is usually at the heart of traditional claims which implicitly enshrine dependency as a central part of this discussion. Rather, it is to argue that in the approximate half century or so in which colonialism, as a dominant political, cultural and social ideology receded, its effects are still only now just being realized in the early twenty first century, notwithstanding the depth of theory which has followed its retreat.

    The relationship between former colonies and the often disaggregated countries, ideas, polities and principles generally referred to as ‘the West’, for instance, is far a more complex and complicated one than that suggested in and by some of these convenient explanations. The experiences of the colonies, in other words, have not always been sufficiently validated in this discourse.

    Colonialism did not only ‘rip off’ the colonies, at the level of economic development and incomes expatriated to the ‘mother country’, but also enshrined the wholesale stifling of individual/ cultural identity. By pathologising and eliminating when and where possible the ‘native’, through a complex narrative of self hatred and an over obsession with the ‘virtues’ of the colonizers, the likelihood of developing a positive (?) self referencing ability was effectively handicapped. In this way, setting in motion a set of circumstances which privilege political and administrative corruption, social decay and cultural malaise, etc.

    Does this mean Africans do not share in the blame, if indeed, that is to be aportioned here? No! Nor does it offer an excuse for anemically constructed indigenous governments and, therefore, a justification for a continued and expensive form of Western patrimony towards former colonies. However, this has to also be rationalised in the context of the total costs of systems of goverance like colonialism in their near all encompassing destruction of the indigenity of the colonies. This, notwithstanding the gift of roads, religion, language, etc.

    “Aid”, therefore, has to be more targeted and properly managed than now apparently obtains. Severing all connections would, without question, be a bad move for all concerned.

  78. June 16, 2008 at 21:23

    Indeed, there are those who would argue that the choice of the word “gift” above might not be an appropriate one given all that came with these investments and the extent to which such “gifts” contributed to the problematic ways of seeing the colonies in the current context. We in the West and elsewhere, in other words, understand development through certain physical indices, as much as we do through quality of life and other examples. Consequently, it is generally assumed that the model of development privileged by the West, as reflected in such systems as particular networks of roads, religious expression and especially language, etc. indicates that the colonies were also “developed” during colonialism.

    Hence, the use of the word “gift” in this context would seem appropriate. This though is debatable, as there is no corresponding measurement between the physical implementation of these indices of development and actual progress and qualitative living of people at Ground Zero. Inappropriate cultural education coupled with, in some places, illiteracy and a host of other problems converge to ensure the morass into which countries like some of those in Africa find themselves. The costs of their underdevelopment occassioned by systems such as colonialism, then, are truly devastating, if for no other reason than we are never really sure of the ending point at which their roots have sunk and, therefore, the extent of the damage done.

    What Africa needs, I think, is a context in which such dialogue is part of the motivating impulse for change. The disregard and lack of concern generally evidenced in certain parts of the West do nothing to help those efforts. Rather, they ensure their continuation of the what is clearly an unacceptable state of affairs. It remains to be seen whether the political will and moral courage now exist to begin that largely unglamourous type of work in the West.

  79. 79 VictorK
    June 16, 2008 at 21:35

    @Colleen: you wrote, “Your defense of the Free Market does not account for the many ways in which the government does intervene in the market,” and gave a couple of examples. You concluded, ‘…the free market in theory may be good, but in practice it’s only a myth.’

    The ‘free market’ is really just a phrase for what happens when you leave people alone to trade with each other, with government providing the legal framework within which contracts can be enforced and sellers of faulty goods sued. It’s no more than that. A market doesn’t work in the absence of a proper legal framework and usually requires some element of government regulation (to control advertising or eliminate anti-competitive measures like price-fixing). There’s nothing mythical about people trading with each other unburdened by government interference with their activities.

    Amongst the virtues of a functional market are consumer choice, incentives for innovation, the efficient allocation of resources via the price mechanism, and the link between profits and the supply of goods in demand. But it’s always possible that a society may decide that government intervention in some area of the market has social benefits that outweigh the economic virtues of the market (and all markets exist in a social context). Self-sufficiency in food production is a perfectly good justification for subsidising farmers. Bailing out failing banks and corporations may be justified depending on the the social consequences of their collapse (but there’s no reason why the shareholders and managers who led the organisation to ruin shouldn’t be penalised for their incompetence).

    People who believe in the market don’t necessarily believe in in absolutely and regardless of circumstances (the way Marxists believe in socialist economics, something that really is mythical) . The free market isn’t an ideology it’s a practice, and as such its operation ought to be viewed in practical and commonsense terms. Interfering in the market can sometimes be justified, though usually in non-economic terms.

  80. 80 Will Rhodes
    June 16, 2008 at 22:08

    @ Agostinho

    How much colonial aid has Australia had? Come to think about it – Hong Kong, China, America, The West Indies, India, need I add more?

  81. June 16, 2008 at 22:19

    @ Will Rhodes,

    Indeed, you do. For the simple reason that I am not trying to make an argument regarding the homogeniety of each of these contexts. I am actually suggesting that the nature of colonialism, as a ranking system, whether politically, racially, socially, etc. has had a different effect in differnt parts of the world. And, this is not by way of creating an argument in defence of Africa, necessarilly, as much as it is an argument intended to say that colonial politics continues even in the current context of these relations. Different countries/ colonies were impacted differently by this experience. So, perhaps we might be served to hear the specific details of each of the examples about which we speak.

    For my purposes, I live in Jamaica in the Caribbean (West Indies) and that is my immediate preoccupation. That notwithstanding, I continue to argue that the African experience has been an especially difficult one which does not mean Africa is to be cajoled and pampered. Rather, that the approach to “aid” which is offered, perhaps requires reconsideration.

  82. June 16, 2008 at 22:25

    And by that I mean, an overhauling of what is meant by “aid” as well as the means by which such “aid” is facilitated. The “progressive” sentiments championed in the West perhaps need to be translated into more creative means of engaging with these realities. Indeed, let us not forget that to the extent that Africa is regarded as the base of the structure there are other countries’ whose “power” is constructed in direct relationship to that base. This means that, Africa has not found itself at the “base” simply because it desires to be there. But that, there are factors which aiding (that word, again!) it in maintaining this status. I believe Professor Jeffery Sachs lectures which were aired by the BBC last year (?) were most insightful in terms of giving a wider picture of some of the concerns which beset the “Dark Continent”.

  83. 83 CJLewis
    June 17, 2008 at 01:27

    African nations are not truly independent if other nations are trying to solve their problems for them. Think about it–dependence upon other nations’ benevolence is not independence. Ultimately, deep-rooted problems are never solved by throwing money at them. Africa will solve its own problems when Africans get sick and tired of being sick and tired. Solving their own problems will give them a self-confidence that they currently don’t seem to have. It will also give them a sense of purpose; they will be able to think of themselves as having a unique mission in the grand scheme of things instead seeming to be everyone else’s poor relatives who will never amount to anything.

    Africa is the homeland of the human race and therefore can establish a basis for having a tradition of well-deserved pride in accomplishment. Since Africans have been in Africa longer than Europeans have been in Europe, longer than Asians have been in Asia, longer than Native Americans have been in the Americas, and since colonialism in Africa is a thing of the past, it is high time to let Africa move into the 21st century. There is no good moral reason for the rest of the world to keep Africa in a backward state by taking away their motivation to better themselves and their nations. Political and economic freedom brings also the freedom to try to solve one’s problems oneself, and the freedom to succeed or to fail. Political and economic freedom means having the responsibility to act and the liberty to choose the most appropriate action.

  84. 84 Jack Hughes
    June 17, 2008 at 01:36

    To all those who support “aid”: send your own money there. Send more. Is Africa getting enough ? No ? Then send more of your own money.

    Pony up – or shut up.

  85. June 17, 2008 at 03:54

    @ Jack Hughes,

    It, of course, would be deeply unfortunate if the debate is reduced to a single premise of “pony up – or shut up”. If for no other reason this suggests that “all those who support “aid”” were, necessarilly, arguing only in favour of money. Indeed, this is not so. There is more to the question of “aid” than a mere question of money, though surely that is part of the equation as well. It is worth suggesting that the very problem with this discussion is one which continues to see assistance of the kind which Africa is in need of, as purely monetary. The full costs of “aid” and all other forms of assistance to the continent are, as a result, not appropriately measured by this type of language.

    Monetarily the drain on the resources of West which has been the main benefactor, in this regard, cannot realistically be as significant as the full toll of the price paid by the continent, historically. A dramatic statement, yes; however, there is something to be said for how we configure the measurement instruments which are used to gauge the extent to which “aid” to Africa is to be weaned or severed.

    It would appear that Africa has long since been weaned from any realistic form of help by the West, if for no other reason than that for all of the “assistance”” it has recieved there has not been much that would allow us to feel that the impact was worth the effort. In that regard, I would again challenge that “aid” to Africa is not to be seen purely in financial terms but also through a range of means. Among these is the process of consciousness raising which is an extremely necessary part of the solution.

    How can we assist, effectively, if we do not make targeted and meaningful interventions? How might we benefit from a “discussion” which claims “pony up – or shut up”? I would be interested to know.

  86. 86 John D. Augustine - WI USA
    June 17, 2008 at 06:48

    @ Anthony – 16:53 & Colleen – 17:02, responding to my post at 16:29:

    Colleen, you got the broader perspective of my comments right, and the reasons I believe the question asked by the BBC was flawed, but I think you missed the point Anthony was making, which responded to the first part of my comments.

    Anthony, The reason I said this was a question for Africans to answer is that I felt it was arrogant for people with no direct experience of a place to tell other people from there what is best for them. This is the sort of perceived superiority which is so often used to justify colonial rule.

    Your argument is based on a certain truth. If you ask someone if they want something for free, they will almost always take it. But this fact is not bourne out by the comments posted here by Africans, many of whom recognize the problems associated with international humanitarian aid.

    Meanwhile, the context of your argument is simple prejudice. You insult every parent who works overtime at minimum wage and still has to depend on food stamps to feed their family while they pray to God that they don’t get evicted if one of them should happen to get sick enough to go to a hospital they will never be able to afford. And when you say “WE’RE the ones who actually pay” …have you actually stopped to calculate the fraction of the pennies on the dollar the prevention of those children’s malnutrition is actually costing you?

    Talk about people who judge others in complete and total ignorance of the problems they face. But as long as we’re talking prejudices, you’re from LA. How many miles have you walked in anyone’s shoes lately? And yes, I know that’s not you’re fault. I know the history of how the LA streetcar system was bought up and systematically dismantled by those who stood to profit from rubber tires and all, but I sense myself getting carried away here. For all I know, you don’t even own a car. I’ve said my piece. Next?

  87. 87 rabel
    June 17, 2008 at 10:20

    hi every body ,The aid should be stopped because it really is not necessary since it never reaches those who need it and they have been doing without it,secondly it should be stopped immediately because the donors do not really care if it is used as long as the leaders of the country follow some of their policies and have a huge problem with human rights abuses

  88. 88 Jeff Minter
    June 18, 2008 at 02:56

    You know what would be better? Writing off all debts in Africa, made payable to the Bank of Western Nations – where payment has been going on for decades. Africa by itself is a fledgling, but growing economy – with the rest of the world it’s just a small plaything – you give some help to the continent, then take it away plus interest.

  89. 89 John in Germany
    June 19, 2008 at 08:45

    Yes with care and continuity.

    As Jeff Minter says, write of the debts, and ensure that the government of the country that has the advantage, does not misuse the newly gained Dollars.

    If the leaders respected the people, instead of just using them as a voting legitimisation of their politics, it would work. More force is required by the UNO.
    They have the power.

    Ensure that the real farmers have the land, seed, and fertilizer to cultivate. And show the other how to work, and produce economically. The forceful acquisition of farm land has bought nothing. Except teaching people that have lived together and supported each other, how to become lazy and greedy. and to despise those with more.

    A society where the woman work and the man hunt, was ok when there was open land to hunt, and western influence had not infiltrated into the system. Education is needed to show people the advantages, a long and arduous task though,because everyone wants every thing and now!.

    Stop aid to inefficient governments, Allow NGOs only, with accept or forget regulations.

    Listening to the report from BEEB from their man in Burma made me wonder, dead bodies are still lying around, still no proper accomodation, what has happened to the aid that was allowed into the country?.

    Since reading and writing here, i have learnt a lot, one thing is always up front, what a de bunk world we live in. I’m alright Jack, Carry on shooting comrade, i’ll get the grub.

    Have a nice day-night-breakfast-lunch or tea.

    John in Germany

  90. 90 Alicia from Texas
    June 19, 2008 at 21:58

    As much as I hate to sound heartless, Africa should be weaned off foreign aid. While I would love to give money to them to help, they haven’t learned to do anything except ask for more aid. Nothing inspires a nation more to progress than the self-starting and self-making of their citizens. Every country has that point in time where they have to pull themselves up from their bootstraps and get out and work to make their country better. Maybe it’s that window of time for Africa. All those in this generation will one day write, “I was able to see Africa’s time to rise.”

    But first and foremost, the governments are corrupt and need to be taken down. If change is going to happen in Africa, it needs to start with the ordinary citizens.

  91. 91 Dennis
    June 25, 2008 at 19:12

    I think that Africa should be weaned off aid…And made available fi they need help.

    Onondaga Community College
    Syracuse, New York
    United States of America

  92. 92 Gary Shepherd
    June 27, 2008 at 07:21

    I have always had this feeling when ask to contibute money that its going into the pocket of some corrupt politicians swiss bank account.
    Africa needs to show the world it can maintain sttable governments in the region and use the money wisely before we contribute more.
    I see the instability of the region its major problem. Fix that and you go a long way to fixing the rest of their problems

  93. 93 parth guragain
    June 28, 2008 at 12:56

    aid will not bring any change in any country.system of the country which receive aid should be changed.until and unless crruption is not linited aid will go in vain.

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