Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Who Aid Whom?. Africa Aid the World Not the Other Way Round.

Who Aid Whom?.

Exposing the True Story of Africa’s $192 Billion Losses

Research released by a coalition of African and UK partners reveals that Africa loses almost six and a half times the amount of money that it receives in aid.


“It says something about this country. It says something about our standing in the world and our sense of duty in helping others… in short – it says something about the kind of people we are… And that makes me proud to be British.”

As exhibited by UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who made the above comment on 8 June 2013, governments of wealthy countries like to tell tales of generous aid spending and a common responsibility to help those less fortunate in the world. But there is another story to tell. And it is not a story of what is given to continents such as Africa, but of what is taken away.

Research published today reveals that whilst the continent receives $30 billion in aid a year, this figure pales in comparison to the $192 billion leaving the continent via illicit financial flows, the repatriation of multinational company profits, debt repayments, loss of skilled workers, illegal logging and fishing, and the costs imposed as a result of climate change.

When these losses are compared to overall financial inflows – including not just aid but foreign investment and remittances − Africa is left with a $58 billion a year net loss. To put it in to context, that is over one and a half times the estimated $37 billion a year extra funding it would cost to deliver universal health coverage for everyone in the world.

These figures expose the true financial relationship of wealthy countries with Africa, a relationship that is seldom mentioned by politicians. It is a relationship in which the world doesn't aid Africa, but in which Africa aids the world.

False narratives
Debates on the role of wealthy governments in ending global poverty tend to focus on how much aid we should give. UK politicians, for example, line up to defend the aid budget in a time of austerity and increasing public hostility, while the media and NGOs often publically applaud them for doing so, reinforcing the image of the UK’s benevolence.

Yet despite years of public fundraising campaigns and aid ‘generosity’, we are still nowhere near to witnessing the end of global poverty. In fact, this aid obsession merely acts as a smokescreen that hides the true causes of global poverty and reinforces paternalistic notions of Africa as a poor and corrupt continent with helpless people in need of intervention from wealthy countries. It is a smokescreen that hides the fact that these wealthy governments often have a large role in causing the conditions that their ‘aid’ is supposed to help fix.

The current system is one that facilitates a perverse reality in which: companies are allowed to promote their ‘corporate social responsibility’ whilst routing profits though tax havens; wealthy philanthropists donate money whilst their companies dodge tax; and short-term fundraising tactics mean NGOs push the idea that donating a few pounds to charity will solve poverty whilst simultaneously ignoring the systemic injustices that keep Africa poor.

Complicit countries
However, Africa is not poor, though its people are being kept in poverty by a combination of inequitable policies, huge disparities in power, and criminal activities perpetuated and sustained by wealthy elites, both inside and outside the continent.

For example, $35.3 billion a year is lost in illicit financial flows facilitated by the global network of tax havens. Tax havens jurisdictionally linked to the G8 countries or the EU are responsible for70% of global tax haven investment, and the UK is at the heart of this with at least ten tax havensunder its jurisdiction, or 11 if you count the City of London.

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The illicit haemorrhaging of finance is most clear in resource-rich countries. Whilst it would be logical to assume that these countries would have lower levels of poverty, in fact the reverse tends to be true. Of the world’s poorest one billion people, one-third live in resource rich countries. Additionally, resource-rich countries account for 9 out of the 12 countries at the bottom of the Human Development Index (HDI), a measure of wealth, life expectancy and education, illustrating the impact of corruption facilitated through tax havens and secret corporate activities.

Action, not just aid
Real progress on global poverty requires that politicians stop hiding behind this aid propaganda and instead take concrete action to tackle the real causes of poverty. This includes urgent action to close down the UK’s network of tax havens, to tackle the looming debt crisis, to end the plundering of African resources, and to tackle climate change.

Politicians are only telling us half the story when it comes to the world’s financial relationship with Africa. It is time that we expose the aid myth and demand that politicians take responsibility for their part in sustaining global poverty. Change requires that countries be judged not just on their aid, but on their action.

Source: http://www.thinkafricapress.com/development/who-aids-whom-exposing-truth-africa-192-billion-losses#.U8Vc52pKPr8.facebook

Africason is a Musician/independent recording artiste and a die-hard believer in Africa.
Twitter: @african_school
Web: www.africason.com
Email: info(AT)africason.com
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, artiste name: Africason

Why Foreign Aid Is Hurting Africa.

 Why Foreign Aid Is Hurting Africa

Money from rich countries has trapped many African nations in a cycle of corruption, slower economic growth and poverty. Cutting off the flow would be far more beneficial, says Dambisa Moyo.

A month ago I visited Kibera, the largest slum in Africa. This suburb of Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, is home to more than one million people, who eke out a living in an area of about one square mile -- roughly 75% the size of New York's Central Park. It is a sea of aluminum and cardboard shacks that forgotten families call home. The idea of a slum conjures up an image of children playing amidst piles of garbage, with no running water and the rank, rife stench of sewage. Kibera does not disappoint.
What is incredibly disappointing is the fact that just a few yards from Kibera stands the headquarters of the United Nations' agency for human settlements which, with an annual budget of millions of dollars, is mandated to "promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all." Kibera festers in Kenya, a country that has one of the highest ratios of development workers per capita. This is also the country where in 2004, British envoy Sir Edward Clay apologized for underestimating the scale of government corruption and failing to speak out earlier.
Kibera, the largest slum in Africa, is home to more than one million Kenyans. Getty Images
Giving alms to Africa remains one of the biggest ideas of our time -- millions march for it, governments are judged by it, celebrities proselytize the need for it. Calls for more aid to Africa are growing louder, with advocates pushing for doubling the roughly $50 billion of international assistance that already goes to Africa each year.
Yet evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that aid to Africa has made the poor poorer, and the growth slower. The insidious aid culture has left African countries more debt-laden, more inflation-prone, more vulnerable to the vagaries of the currency markets and more unattractive to higher-quality investment. It's increased the risk of civil conflict and unrest (the fact that over 60% of sub-Saharan Africa's population is under the age of 24 with few economic prospects is a cause for worry). Aid is an unmitigated political, economic and humanitarian disaster.
Few will deny that there is a clear moral imperative for humanitarian and charity-based aid to step in when necessary, such as during the 2004 tsunami in Asia. Nevertheless, it's worth reminding ourselves what emergency and charity-based aid can and cannot do. Aid-supported scholarships have certainly helped send African girls to school (never mind that they won't be able to find a job in their own countries once they have graduated). This kind of aid can provide band-aid solutions to alleviate immediate suffering, but by its very nature cannot be the platform for long-term sustainable growth.
Whatever its strengths and weaknesses, such charity-based aid is relatively small beer when compared to the sea of money that floods Africa each year in government-to-government aid or aid from large development institutions such as the World Bank.
Over the past 60 years at least $1 trillion of development-related aid has been transferred from rich countries to Africa. Yet real per-capita income today is lower than it was in the 1970s, and more than 50% of the population -- over 350 million people -- live on less than a dollar a day, a figure that has nearly doubled in two decades.
Even after the very aggressive debt-relief campaigns in the 1990s, African countries still pay close to $20 billion in debt repayments per annum, a stark reminder that aid is not free. In order to keep the system going, debt is repaid at the expense of African education and health care. Well-meaning calls to cancel debt mean little when the cancellation is met with the fresh infusion of aid, and the vicious cycle starts up once again.
In Zambia, former President Frederick Chiluba (with wife Regina in November 2008) has been charged with theft of state funds. AFP/Getty Images
In 2005, just weeks ahead of a G8 conference that had Africa at the top of its agenda, the International Monetary Fund published a report entitled "Aid Will Not Lift Growth in Africa." The report cautioned that governments, donors and campaigners should be more modest in their claims that increased aid will solve Africa's problems. Despite such comments, no serious efforts have been made to wean Africa off this debilitating drug.
The most obvious criticism of aid is its links to rampant corruption. Aid flows destined to help the average African end up supporting bloated bureaucracies in the form of the poor-country governments and donor-funded non-governmental organizations. In a hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in May 2004, Jeffrey Winters, a professor at Northwestern University, argued that the World Bank had participated in the corruption of roughly $100 billion of its loan funds intended for development.
As recently as 2002, 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 inadvertently fueling graft. With few or no strings attached, it has been all too easy for the funds to be used for anything, save the developmental purpose for which they were intended.
In Zaire -- known today as the Democratic Republic of Congo -- Irwin Blumenthal (whom the IMF had appointed to a post in the country's central bank) warned in 1978 that the system was so corrupt that there was "no (repeat, no) prospect for Zaire's creditors to get their money back." Still, the IMF soon gave the country the largest loan it had ever given an African nation. According to corruption watchdog agency Transparency International, Mobutu Sese Seko, Zaire's president from 1965 to 1997, is reputed to have stolen at least $5 billion from the country.
It's scarcely better today. A month ago, Malawi's former President Bakili Muluzi was charged with embezzling aid money worth $12 million. Zambia's former President Frederick Chiluba (a development darling during his 1991 to 2001 tenure) remains embroiled in a court case that has revealed millions of dollars frittered away from health, education and infrastructure toward his personal cash dispenser. Yet the aid keeps on coming.
A nascent economy needs a transparent and accountable government and an efficient civil service to help meet social needs. Its people need jobs and a belief in their country's future. A surfeit of aid has been shown to be unable to help achieve these goals.
A woman waits at a medical center in Kuyera, Ethiopia. AFP/Getty Images
A constant stream of "free" money is a perfect way to keep an inefficient or simply bad government in power. As aid flows in, there is nothing more for the government to do -- it doesn't need to raise taxes, and as long as it pays the army, it doesn't have to take account of its disgruntled citizens. No matter that its citizens are disenfranchised (as with no taxation there can be no representation). All the government really needs to do is to court and cater to its foreign donors to stay in power.
Stuck in an aid world of no incentives, there is no reason for governments to seek other, better, more transparent ways of raising development finance (such as accessing the bond market, despite how hard that might be). The aid system encourages poor-country governments to pick up the phone and ask the donor agencies for next capital infusion. It is no wonder that across Africa, over 70% of the public purse comes from foreign aid.
In Ethiopia, where aid constitutes more than 90% of the government budget, a mere 2% of the country's population has access to mobile phones. (The African country average is around 30%.) Might it not be preferable for the government to earn money by selling its mobile phone license, thereby generating much-needed development income and also providing its citizens with telephone service that could, in turn, spur economic activity?
Look what has happened in Ghana, a country where after decades of military rule brought about by a coup, a pro-market government has yielded encouraging developments. Farmers and fishermen now use mobile phones to communicate with their agents and customers across the country to find out where prices are most competitive. This translates into numerous opportunities for self-sustainability and income generation -- which, with encouragement, could be easily replicated across the continent.
To advance a country's economic prospects, governments need efficient civil service. But civil service is naturally prone to bureaucracy, and there is always the incipient danger of self-serving cronyism and the desire to bind citizens in endless, time-consuming red tape. What aid does is to make that danger a grim reality. This helps to explain why doing business across much of Africa is a nightmare. In Cameroon, it takes a potential investor around 426 days to perform 15 procedures to gain a business license. What entrepreneur wants to spend 119 days filling out forms to start a business in Angola? He's much more likely to consider the U.S. (40 days and 19 procedures) or South Korea (17 days and 10 procedures).
Even what may appear as a benign intervention on the surface can have damning consequences. Say there is a mosquito-net maker in small-town Africa. Say he employs 10 people who together manufacture 500 nets a week. Typically, these 10 employees support upward of 15 relatives each. A Western government-inspired program generously supplies the affected region with 100,000 free mosquito nets. This promptly puts the mosquito net manufacturer out of business, and now his 10 employees can no longer support their 150 dependents. In a couple of years, most of the donated nets will be torn and useless, but now there is no mosquito net maker to go to. They'll have to get more aid. And African governments once again get to abdicate their responsibilities.
In a similar vein has been the approach to food aid, which historically has done little to support African farmers. Under the auspices of the U.S. Food for Peace program, each year millions of dollars are used to buy American-grown food that has to then be shipped across oceans. One wonders how a system of flooding foreign markets with American food, which puts local farmers out of business, actually helps better Africa. A better strategy would be to use aid money to buy food from farmers within the country, and then distribute that food to the local citizens in need.
Then there is the issue of "Dutch disease," a term that describes how large inflows of money can kill off a country's export sector, by driving up home prices and thus making their goods too expensive for export. Aid has the same effect. Large dollar-denominated aid windfalls that envelop fragile developing economies cause the domestic currency to strengthen against foreign currencies. This is catastrophic for jobs in the poor country where people's livelihoods depend on being relatively competitive in the global market.
One watchdog group estimates that former Zairean President Mobutu Sese Seko, above in 1995, took billions from the country. AFP/Getty Images
To fight aid-induced inflation, countries have to issue bonds to soak up the subsequent glut of money swamping the economy. In 2005, for example, Uganda was forced to issue such bonds to mop up excess liquidity to the tune of $700 million. The interest payments alone on this were a staggering $110 million, to be paid annually.
The stigma associated with countries relying on aid should also not be underestimated or ignored. It is the rare investor that wants to risk money in a country that is unable to stand on its own feet and manage its own affairs in a sustainable way.
Africa remains the most unstable continent in the world, beset by civil strife and war. Since 1996, 11 countries have been embroiled in civil wars. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, in the 1990s, Africa had more wars than the rest of the world combined. Although my country, Zambia, has not had the unfortunate experience of an outright civil war, growing up I experienced first-hand the discomfort of living under curfew (where everyone had to be in their homes between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., which meant racing from work and school) and faced the fear of the uncertain outcomes of an attempted coup in 1991 -- sadly, experiences not uncommon to many Africans.
Civil clashes are often motivated by the knowledge that by seizing the seat of power, the victor gains virtually unfettered access to the package of aid that comes with it. In the last few months alone, there have been at least three political upheavals across the continent, in Mauritania, Guinea and Guinea Bissau (each of which remains reliant on foreign aid). Madagascar's government was just overthrown in a coup this past week. The ongoing political volatility across the continent serves as a reminder that aid-financed efforts to force-feed democracy to economies facing ever-growing poverty and difficult economic prospects remain, at best, precariously vulnerable. Long-term political success can only be achieved once a solid economic trajectory has been established.
The 1970s were an exciting time to be African. Many of our nations had just achieved independence, and with that came a deep sense of dignity, self-respect and hope for the future.
Read an excerpt from "Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa"
Proponents of aid are quick to argue that the $13 billion ($100 billion in today's terms) aid of the post-World War II Marshall Plan helped pull back a broken Europe from the brink of an economic abyss, and that aid could work, and would work, if Africa had a good policy environment.
The aid advocates skirt over the point that the Marshall Plan interventions were short, sharp and finite, unlike the open-ended commitments which imbue governments with a sense of entitlement rather than encouraging innovation. And aid supporters spend little time addressing the mystery of why a country in good working order would seek aid rather than other, better forms of financing. No country has ever achieved economic success by depending on aid to the degree that many African countries do.
The good news is we know what works; what delivers growth and reduces poverty. We know that economies that rely on open-ended commitments of aid almost universally fail, and those that do not depend on aid succeed. The latter is true for economically successful countries such as China and India, and even closer to home, in South Africa and Botswana. Their strategy of development finance emphasizes the important role of entrepreneurship and markets over a staid aid-system of development that preaches hand-outs.
Ghana has recently seen encouraging developments, including the spread of mobile phones. Getty Images
African countries could start by issuing bonds to raise cash. To be sure, the traditional capital markets of the U.S. and Europe remain challenging. However, African countries could explore opportunities to raise capital in more non-traditional markets such as the Middle East and China (whose foreign exchange reserves are more than $4 trillion). Moreover, the current market malaise provides an opening for African countries to focus on acquiring credit ratings (a prerequisite to accessing the bond markets), and preparing themselves for the time when the capital markets return to some semblance of normalcy.
Governments need to attract more foreign direct investment by creating attractive tax structures and reducing the red tape and complex regulations for businesses. African nations should also focus on increasing trade; China is one promising partner. And Western countries can help by cutting off the cycle of giving something for nothing. It's time for a change.
Dambisa Moyo, a former economist at Goldman Sachs, is the author of "Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa."
Corrections & Amplifications
In the African nations of Burkina Faso, Rwanda, Somalia, Mali, Chad, Mauritania and Sierra Leone from 1970 to 2002, over 70% of total government spending came from foreign aid, according to figures from the World Bank. This essay on foreign aid to Africa incorrectly said that 70% of government spending throughout Africa comes from foreign aid.
Source: http://online.wsj.com/articles/SB123758895999200083

Africason is a Musician/independent recording artiste and a die-hard believer in Africa.
Twitter: @african_school
Web: www.africason.com
Email: info(AT)africason.com
Find my songs on iTunes
, artiste name: Africason

African Governments Are Destroying Their Countries with Foreign Aid.

 The Sorry Record of Foreign Aid in Africa.

African Governments Are Destroying Their Countries With Foreign Aid.
August 01, 2001 by James Peron

For almost half a century the countries of Africa have been awash in aid. Hundreds of billions of dollars have been given to African governments. More billions were lent to these same governments. Countless tons of food have inundated the continent, and swarms of consultants, experts, and administrators have descended to solve Africa’s problems. Yet the state of development in Africa is no better today than it was when all this started. Per capita income, for most of Africa, is either stagnant or declining.

Just a few years ago a World Bank report admitted that 75 percent of their African agricultural projects were failures.1 Other aid agencies weren’t any luckier. Operation Mils Mopti in Mali was supposed to increase grain production but the government imposed “official” prices on the grain and had to force farmers into selling their crops at these below-market rates. As a result grain production fell by 80 percent.2 In Senegal $4 million was spent to increase cattle production in the Bakel region. But in the end only 882 additional cattle were being reared there.3

In Northern Kenya, Norwegian aid agencies built a fish-freezing plant to help employ the Turkana people. But after completion it was discovered that the plant required more power than was available in the entire region.4 In another aid fiasco, $10 million was spent in Tanzania to build a cashew-processing plant. The plant had a capacity three times greater than the country’s entire cashew production, and the costs were so high that it was cheaper to process the cashews in India instead.5

In South Africa over $2 million donated by the European Union was used to stage an “AIDS awareness” play, Sarafina II. While the funds provided a luxury bus for cast and crew, they did little to educate the public about AIDS. AIDS experts condemned the play as a waste of money—it consumed 20 percent of South Africa’s entire AIDS budget—and said it contained inaccurate information as well. A heavily promoted showing of the play in Soweto was attended by fewer than 100 people. The play was pulled but the funds were never recouped. The EU insists that none of its funds were used on the project, but then-Minister of Health Nkosazama Zuma disputes that.6

Debacles such as these are almost benign. But foreign aid is also being used in patently destructive, and sometimes genocidal, ways. The Marxist dictatorship of Ethiopia’s Mengistu Haile Mariam was a major recipient of donor funds, a portion of which was used to forcibly resettle large segments of the population. One Ethiopian official said: “It is our duty to move the peasants if they are too stupid to move by themselves.”7 Donor funds, earmarked for famine relief, were instead used to buy trucks for the resettlement scheme. Relief aid was also intentionally kept away from some of the most severely affected areas because it suited Mengistu’s regime to starve its opponents. Relief ships were held for ransom and charged $50.50 per ton for permission to unload their aid, some of which was confiscated to feed the army. The New York Timesreported that aid officials believed that Mengistu’s regime sold some of the food aid on the world market to finance the purchase of arms.8

But Ethiopia is not the exception. The Congo also sold donated food supplies and used the funds to purchase an arms factory from Italy.9 The more peaceful Mauritius took donated rice, which it insisted be of high quality, and diverted it to tourist hotels.10

Donated money is just as likely to go astray. President Mobutu of Zaire managed to build a fortune in his Swiss bank account that was estimated as high as $10 billion.11 Kenyan human-rights activist Makau Wa Mutua lamented: “Since independence in Africa, government has been seen as the personal fiefdom a leader uses to accumulate wealth for himself, his family, his clan. He cannot be subjected to criticism by anyone, and everything he says is final.”12

Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe is notorious for his extravagant shopping trips to Harrod’s even if he has to confiscate planes from the national airlines to take them.13 Mugabe’s regime has used systematic violence in attempts to stay in power. And according to the Johannesburg Star, his thugs have “looted” aid to help finance their attacks. Some $1 million is supposedly at stake. Asger Pilegaard, the EU delegation head in Zimbabwe, has demanded an investigation saying: “We cannot accept that the humanitarian aid financed by European taxpayers is not arriving to the people for whom it was originally intended.”14

And while hungry faces are used on posters and in media reports to sell the virtues of foreign aid, it is the hungry who rarely see any of the funds. Poverty may be used to justify the programs, but the aid is almost always given in the form of government-to-government transfers. And once the aid is in the hands of the state it is used for purposes conducive to the ruling regime’s own purposes.

Since moving to black-majority rule in 1980 Zimbabwe has regularly received financial aid to promote “land reform.” For 20 years the government used these funds to buy up land, which when “reformed” typically ended up in the hands of the ruling party’s elite. Land that was actually redistributed was turned into communal farms and given to peasants who didn’t have the know-how to run them. Many of the farms were pillaged for any saleable items and then deserted. About one-fourth of the communal farms are so unproductive that they require food aid just to prevent the farmers themselves from starving.15

European Support

Marxist autocratic regimes were often heavily financed by European governments—especially when those governments were in the hands of left-of-center parties. Italian journalist Wolfgang Achter reported that the Italian Socialist Party gave heavy financial backing to Somalia’s Marxist government of warlord Siad Barre, who used the funds to obtain arms and military advisers.16 Journalist Michael Maren reports that for ten years before the 1992 famine, Somalia was the “largest recipient of aid in sub-Saharan Africa,” but that most of the funds were “lost in the corrupt maze of the Somali government’s nepotistic bureaucracy.”17 Italy alone sent over $1 billion to fund projects in Somalia from 1981 to 1990 even though the regime was murdering its opponents. No wonder the New African Yearbook called Somalia “the Graveyard of Aid.”18

The New York Times reported that when President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania announced a radical Marxist program, “many Western aid donors, particularly in Scandinavia, gave enthusiastic backing to this socialist experiment, pouring an estimated $10 billion into Tanzania over 20 years.”19 Swedish economist Sven Rydenfelt wrote: “A decade of socialist agricultural policy had been sufficient to destroy the socioecological system.”20 The World Bank says that from 1965 to 1988 the Tanzanian economy shrank on average 0.5 percent each year and that personal consumption dropped by 43 percent.21

The Marxist regime of Samora Machel in Mozambique similarly destroyed that country’s agricultural output through price controls.22 But that was just one African nation among many that used this policy—all with the same disastrous results. Professor D. Gale Johnson, in testimony before a U.S. House Subcommittee, said that during the 1950s and 1960s per capita African food production remained relatively constant, but dropped dramatically beginning in the 1970s. “The decline in per capita food production was not due to a lack of resources,” said Johnson, “but to many factors that were primarily political in nature.”23

Most of the problems that African nations face today are self-inflicted. Africa is the last major bastion of heavily regulated markets. This has lead to stagnancy and decline. The continent itself is rich in resources, but the incentive to produce has been destroyed by government policies. The West is quite aware of this, but is too timid to do very much about it, and the aid bureaucracy keeps on delivering funds no matter how bad things get. Mengistu continued to receive aid while intentionally starving thousands and thousands of his citizens to death.24 Mugabe slaughtered thousands of opponents in the Matabeleland region of Zimbabwe, but aid continued unabated.25 Even when General Sani Abacha’s military regime in Nigeria, in the face of world opinion, executed human-rights activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, virtually nothing happened. Various Western governments protested by withdrawing their diplomats, but within a few months they were all back in place. The World Bank has admitted that “almost all” loans are fully disbursed to recipient nations “even if policy conditions are not met.”26 In a 1986 report it said that there was no evidence to show significant movement toward freer markets due to aid donations or policy restrictions.27

Various critics have repeatedly pointed out that foreign aid not only doesn’t encourage reform but often stifles it. Development economist Peter Bauer has said there is an inherent bias of government-to-government aid toward state control and politicization. “Foreign aid,” he argues, “has contributed substantially to the politicization of life in the Third World. It augments the resources of government compared to the private sector, and the criteria of allocation tend to favor government trying to establish state controls.”28

Precolonial Period

Prior to colonialization Africa had no such thing as the nation-state. It was a collection of hundreds and hundreds of distinct tribal cultures, many of which had long histories of antagonism toward one another. The European colonies merged these diverse tribes into the modern nation-state, which, as long as the central government was controlled by “neutral” Europeans, kept the conflicts to a minimum. But when European intellectuals abandoned colonialist theories for a Marxist-Leninist theory of imperialism, the Europeans pulled out almost overnight.

What they left behind was a series of artificial nation-states, which now exacerbated age-old tribal conflicts as each group attempted to grab the reins of power before their enemies could.

Meanwhile Europe decided to play the role of financial benefactor and poured aid into Africa. With aid as the primary source of economic power, the role of the state was increased relative to civil society and private industry. All this funding made statist solutions to problems all the more appealing since they could be financed with further grants. Bauer has noted that one result of that process was that the best and brightest in African countries were drawn to the state, like moths to the flame, instead of into private development.

Even when aid does reach the consumer it often comes at a high price for local producers. It is typically forgotten that most of the recipient countries have local industries and farms that often cannot survive the influx of “free” goods. The late economist David Osterfeld argued: “Aid has in many places actually destroyed the possibility for sustained economic growth by driving local producers, especially farmers, out of business.”29 Somali Abdirahman Osman Raghemade made the same point regarding medical aid: “Look into drug donations and how they destroyed our developing health system. We once had so many pharmacies here.

Pharmacists knew their jobs. Now there are people handing out drugs who are not trained because of the donated drugs from the international community that are so cheap.”30 A priest in Tanzania reported that farmers in his region simply stopped producing food because of the availability of free donated food.31Osterfeld pointed out that a study of the U.N. World Food Program’s response to 84 emergencies showed “that it took an average of 196 days to respond” and that the European Economic Community took an average of 400 days. Osterfeld quotes agricultural expert Dennis Avery as saying that aid was “too late to relieve hunger but in time to depress prices for local farmers who tried their best to respond.”32

Double Standard

While foreign aid may on the whole be destructive to Africa, that does not mean the West is powerless to help impoverished Africans. But before it can accomplish any good in the region it will have to abandon its double standard. Westerners are terrified of criticizing a black-ruled country lest they be called racist.

Ghanaian economist George Ayittey complained: “White rulers in South Africa could be condemned, but not black African leaders guilty of the same political crimes.”33 Only when African governments are treated on the same moral basis as all other governments will reform and development be possible.

Some have called for the forgiveness of African debts. This would not be a bad thing, but it is quite useless if debt forgiveness is followed by more loans and aid as demanded by many African governments. It has probably reached the stage where debt repayment is impossible anyway. The economies of most African countries cannot produce enough to pay the debts, and never will as long as the same disastrous economic policies are continued.

Neither should the West be taken in by South Africa’s President Mbeki and his MAP (Millennium Africa Recovery Program). Mbeki speaks of development and trade—not aid—but then makes clear that he actually expects the West to continue pumping billions in aid into Africa. He wants this aid to come officially without conditions. Considering how “conditional” aid has been spent in the past, the idea of “unconditional” aid in the future is actually frightening. Mbeki’s plan also calls for the money to be spent regionally and not nationally. Mbeki clearly sees himself as the primary conduit through which aid will flow.

For some time the African National Congress government in South Africa has been looking to create what appears to be an African hegemony controlled by South Africa—the invasion of Lesotho recently by South Africa was one indication of that desire. And Mbeki has spent billions to purchase massive amounts of sophisticated weaponry for the express purpose of intervening in the rest of Africa.

Mbeki also told the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that MAP aid would be used “to strengthen the capacity” of African states that he believes are too weak. Instead he envisions a continent-wide system of centralized planning run by strong national governments. He promises that Africa will rein in the dictators, yet Mbeki himself gave tacit support to the violence engineered by Mugabe’s regime in Zimbabwe.34 Mbeki’s objective is the last thing Africa needs, and this plan is another reason to end Western aid and loans.

What would be far more beneficial to African development would be the lowering of trade barriers. But African farmers will never be able to compete in the world market as long as Europe, for instance, continues to shower subsidies on their own spoiled farmers. Various protectionist groups in the United States, like the trade unions, are pushing for international treaties that include costly “environmental” and “labor” provisions for developing countries. While they cry crocodile tears about the environment and the state of working conditions for the poor of the Third World, they actually seem to be trying to limit competition from those same people. The net result will be a loss of jobs in poor countries in favor of highly paid unionized labor in the rich nations.

The inescapable fact is that African governments are destroying their own economies—often with aid from the West. And these same governments simply refuse to listen to advice given by non-Africans. Aid will continue to be misspent and good advice will continue to be ignored until the African leaders learn, on their own, what results come from their interventions. The only option for the West is one of benign neglect. Bring the consultants, experts, and advisers home and end the aid and the loans.

Trade barriers should be dismantled and African business permitted to compete as it can. One good business contract is worth more to Africa than a thousand consultants, and one new factory has more value than a hundred million dollars of aid. In the end, Africa will have to solve its own problems.

 Graham Hancock, The Lords of Poverty (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1989), p. 145.
 James Bovard, “The Continuing Failure of Foreign Aid,” Cato Policy Analysis 65, January 31, 1986; www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa065.html
 Jennifer Whitaker, How Can Africa Survive? (New York: Harper & Row, 1988), p. 75.
 Whitaker, p. 76.
 Jim Peron, Die the Beloved Country? (Johannesburg: Amagi Books, 1999), pp. 58–61.
 Jim Peron, Exploding Population Myths (Chicago: Heartland Institute, 1995), p. 61.
 New York Times, March 21, 1984, cited in Bovard. Also see David Osterfeld, Prosperity versus Planning (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), p. 143.
 Agency for International Development, Semiannual Report of the Inspector General, March 31, 1984, p. 32.
 Wall Street Journal, July 2, 1984, cited in Bovard.
 George B. N. Ayittey, Africa in Chaos (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998), p. 24.
 Washington Post, September 9, 1991, A20, quoted in Ayittey, p. 33.
 Andy Melone and Andrew Meldrum, “Battered Mugabe hits back as verdict looms,” Guardian Limited (UK), June 25, 2000, http://www.observer.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,336202,00.html.
 Grace Mutandwa, “Veterans invade textile plant in Bulawayo,” The Star, April 26, 2001, p. 5.
 Jim Peron, Zimbabwe: The Death of a Dream (Johannesburg: Amagi Books, 2000), pp. 47–74.
 Washington Post, January 24, 1993, C3, cited in Ayittey p. 54.
 Michael Maren, The Road to Hell: The Ravaging Effects of Foreign Aid and International Charity (New York: The Free Press, 1997), quoted in Ayittey, p. 52.
 Ayittey, pp. 52–53.
 New York Times, October 24, 1990, p.A8, quoted in George B. N. Ayittey, Africa Betrayed (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1993), p. 282.
 Sven Rydenfelt, A Pattern for Failure (New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1983), p. 121.
 D. Gale Johnson, “World Food and Agriculture,” in Herman Kahn and Julian Simon, eds., The Resourceful Earth (London: Basil Blackwell, 1984), p. 73.
 Peron, Exploding Population Myths, pp. 57–65.
 Peron, Zimbabwe, pp. 13–14.
 James Bovard, “The World Bank vs. the World’s Poor,” Cato Policy Analysis 92, September 28, 1987, www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa092.html.
 Peter Bauer, “Western Guilt and Third World Poverty,” in Karl Brunner, ed., The First World and the Third World (Rochester, N.Y.: University of Rochester Policy Center, 1978), p. 162.
 Osterfeld, p. 142.
 Maren, p. 166.
 Bovard, “The Continuing Failure of Foreign Aid.”
 Osterfeld, p. 148.
 Ayittey, Africa Betrayed, p. 279.
 Peron, Zimbabwe, pp. 99–116.

Source: http://www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/the-sorry-record-of-foreign-aid-in-africa

Africason is a Musician/independent recording artiste and a die-hard believer in Africa.
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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Last Message From Patrice Lumumba.

Patrice Lumumba shortly before execution

My dear companion,

I write you these words without knowing if they will reach you, when they will reach you, or if I will still be living when you read them. All during the length of my fight for the independence of my country, I have never doubted for a single instant the final triumph of the sacred cause to which my companions and myself have consecrated our lives. But what we wish for our country, its right to an honorable life, to a spotless dignity, to an independence without restrictions, Belgian colonialism and its Western allies-who have found direct and indirect support, deliberate and not deliberate among certain high officials of the United Nations, this organization in which we placed all our confidence when we called for their assistance-have not wished it.

They have corrupted certain of our fellow countrymen, they have contributed to distorting the truth and our enemies, that they will rise up like a single person to say no to a degrading and shameful colonialism and to reassume their dignity under a pure sun.

We are not alone. Africa, Asia, and free and liberated people from every corner of the world will always be found at the side of the Congolese. They will not abandon the light until the day comes when there are no more colonizers and their mercenaries in our country. To my children whom I leave and whom perhaps I will see no more, I wish that they be told that the future of the Congo is beautiful and that it expects for each Congolese, to accomplish the sacred task of reconstruction of our independence and our sovereignty; for without dignity there is no liberty, without justice there is no dignity, and without independence there are no free men.

No brutality, mistreatment, or torture has ever forced me to ask for grace, for I prefer to die with my head high, my faith steadfast, and my confidence profound in the destiny of my country, rather than to live in submission and scorn of sacred principles. History will one day have its say, but it will not be the history that Brussels, Paris, Washington or the United Nations will teach, but that which they will teach in the countries emancipated from colonialism and its puppets. Africa will write its own history, and it will be, to the north and to the south of the Sahara, a history of glory and dignity.
Do not weep for me, my dear companion. I know that my country, which suffers so much, will know how to defend its independence and its liberty. 

Long live the Congo! Long live Africa!


Africason is a Musician/independent recording artiste and a die-hard believer in Africa.
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Why The West Killed Patrice Lumumba.

Why The West Killed Patrice Lumumba

Later this year, the Belgian Parliament is due to report on the murder of the Congo’s first prime minister after independence, Patrice Lumumba, in January 1961. The circumstances of Lumumba’s death have been shrouded in mystery for 40 years, but as the Congo’s vast mineral wealth is once again becoming a focus for imperialist rivalries, documents long hidden in official archives have been brought to light.

Last year, the BBC ran two documentaries on the tragic history of this central African state.
“Who Killed Lumumba?” was screened as part of the channel’s Correspondent series.
It drew heavily on the forthcoming new book by Belgian historian Ludo de Witte (“The Murder of Lumumba”, Verso Books, ISBN: 1859846181, published June 2001).

De Witte has put together the facts of the case from official Belgian archives and the documentary also used archive film footage and interviewed surviving witnesses, to show that Lumumba was murdered in a plot masterminded by Western governments.

Mobutu, from the BBC’s “Storyville” documentary series, reveals how the Western powers put Joseph Sese Seko Mobutu in power after the death of Lumumba, keeping him there for 32 years while he systematically looted the country. Mobutu became the West’s main Cold War ally in Africa, and the Congo formed the staging post for CIA operations against Soviet-backed African regimes.
The film reveals the very close personal and political relationship that existed between Mobutu and several Western leaders. We see film clips of Mobutu being embraced by Jacques Chirac (then President of France), and sitting next to the British Queen in the royal carriage.

For many years, until he fell out of favour at the end of the Cold War, Mobutu remained a friend of the Belgian king, but his closest friends were President George Bush (Snr) and his family. Between 1885 and 1908, some five to eight million people fell victim to King Leopold of Belgium’s personal rule over the Congo, under a barbarous system of forced labour and systematic terror.
In 1959, the Belgian government finally decided to grant the Congo independence.

The first elections brought Patrice Lumumba to power as Prime Minister. But his government was an unstable coalition of regional interests, and collapsed within a week.
Sections of the army mutinied and the mineral-rich province of Katanga seceded.

“Who Killed Lumumba?” featured important new material about the Katanga secession.
Ludo de Witte has uncovered documents in the Belgian archives showing that Moise Tshombe, who led the secession, acted on orders from the Belgian government, which has always claimed that it only sent troops into Katanga to protect Belgian lives and property.

De Witte’s research has shown that the Belgians plotted to dismember the Congo.
US Documents released last August reveal that President Eisenhower directly ordered the CIA to assassinate Lumumba. Minutes of an August 1960 National Security Council meeting confirm that Eisenhower told CIA chief Allen Dulles to “eliminate” Lumumba.

The official note-taker, Robert H Johnson, had told the Senate Intelligence Committee this in 1975, but no documentary evidence was previously available to back up his statement.
Larry Devlin, the CIA’s man in the Congo at the time, told the BBC filmmakers how he had been told to meet “Joe from Paris”, who turned out to be the CIA’s chief technical officer, Dr Sidney Gottlieb.
“I recognised him as he walked towards my car,” recalled Devlin, “but when he told me what they wanted done I was totally, totally taken aback.”

Gottlieb gave him a tube of poisoned toothpaste, which Devlin was to smuggle into Lumumba’s bathroom. He claims he never did so, because “I had never suggested assassination, nor did I believe it was advisable”. Instead, “I threw it in the Congo River when its usefulness had expired.”
The “usefulness” of the poison expired rather quickly because Lumumba was murdered very soon afterwards, at the hands of Belgian agents.

Eisenhower was not alone in coming to the conclusion that Lumumba must die. A British Foreign Office document from September 1960 notes the opinion of a top-ranking official, who later became the head of MI5, that, “I see only two possible solutions to the (Lumumba) problem.
“The first is the simple one of ensuring (his) removal from the scene by killing him.”

What steps, if any, were taken to put this plan into action remain unknown. De Witte’s work reveals the steps that the Belgian government took to remove Lumumba. Belgian military chiefs made nightly visits to Mobutu, then head of the army, and President Kasavubu, to plot Lumumba’s downfall.

Colonel Louis Maliere spoke of the millions of francs he brought over for this purpose. The plot to kill Lumumba was called “Operation Barracuda” and was run by the Belgian Minister for African Affairs, Count d’Aspremont.

The Belgium government ordered Kasavubu to sack Lumumba, who turned to the new Parliament and won two votes of confidence.

Mobutu then led a coup d’├ętat and Lumumba was placed under house arrest, from which he escaped only to be captured by troops loyal to Mobutu. Contemporary film shows UN troops standing by while Lumumba is first beaten in front of Mobutu, then paraded through the streets of Leopoldville (now Kinshasa) and finally beaten again.

When taken to Thysville prison, he almost provoked a mutiny among the guards. Count d’Aspremont ordered him to be taken to Katanga Province and certain death. On the flight there, he and two supporters – Maurice Mpolo and Joseph Okite – were beaten so badly the pilot complained the plane was in danger of crashing. All three were shot by a firing squad commanded by Belgian officers and watched by Moise Tshombe. The Belgian commander of the Katanga police force, Gerard Soete, was given the grisly job of destroying the bodies. Enlisting the support of a friend, they chopped up the corpses before dissolving them in acid. Soete recalls that they were drunk for the two days because, “We did things an animal wouldn’t do.”

Both these films do a valuable job in bringing to the attention of a wider audience the new evidence about Lumumba’s death and in revealing the way in which the imperialist powers supported Mobutu’s dictatorial regime.

However, what neither of them fully explains is why the West acted as it did. They present the assassination of Lumumba and the installation of Mobutu as simply part of the Cold War rivalry between the West and Moscow.

The central mystery of Lumumba’s death remains. Why was he killed? Why was the might of at least three Western powers bent on eliminating this one man – even as he was held prisoner, reviled and beaten by his captors and was without military or political power?

Some say the answer is that he posed a threat to the West because he was a committed Pan-Africanist, and since his death he has certainly taken on the status of a Pan-African martyr.

By late 1959, Britain and America had concluded that, far from representing a threat, Pan-Africanism offered the best chance for preventing revolution in Africa. Pan-Africanists of much longer standing than Lumumba, such as Nkrumah, Kenyatta, Nyerere, Obote and Azikiwe had also come to power around this time. The experience of the Congo, with its million-strong working class – the largest on the continent outside South Africa, was a powerful factor in bringing them to that conclusion.
When strikes and demonstrations broke out in 1959, as the mineral boom ended, the Belgian government decided to grant its colony independence.

Their repressive apparatus was geared up to brutalising a divided and dispersed rural population, not an increasingly well-organised working class that was losing its local and communal loyalties.
When Lumumba showed that he could not be relied upon to control the Congolese working class, his fate was sealed. The West decided to make an example of him to the masses and to other African leaders, to show what would happen if they opposed imperialist dictates.

Mobutu, who had impressed the CIA on his brief visits to Brussels as Lumumba’s secretary, was chosen as the better candidate to safeguard Western interests.
Through a mixture of brutality and political guile, Mobutu succeeded in ensuring that the Congo (renamed Zaire) did not become the flashpoint for an African socialist revolution.

Africason is a Musician/independent recording artiste and a die-hard believer in Africa.
Twitter: @african_school
Web: www.africason.com
Email: info(AT)africason.com
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, artiste name: Africason