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  1. #1
    Catalpa Catalpa is offline
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    What's wrong with Africa?

    Maybe too many do gooder Europeans for one...

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/elsewhere/jou ... 61,00.html
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  2. #2
    agora agora is offline
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    Some interesting points in the article, but ultimately a quite biased and ideologically motivated one. The underlying message (never actually stated, but clearly implied), was that the aid agencies should simply stop trying to help these indolents and let the free market and sensible people like the IMF sort out the mess. The comments about water privatisation are particularly telling as he seems to believe that being a left wing fanatic is the only possible reason one would have for opposing the privatisation of a water system.

    I don't know about the Dar el Salaam one, but in Bolivia when the government privatised water in many parts of the country the supply was completely beyond the reach of all but the well off and ridiculously, in order to maintain the absolute monopoly of the water company involved, people were even banned from collecting rainwater. The mass protests that followed left many poor people dead and were one of the factors behind getting Morales elected.

    The idea that a failed public system has only one solution, ie: privatisation is a lazy and bigoted one, which is constantly pushed by the neoliberals and MNCs which continue to exploit and subvert the developing world. In the 1980s, it could be argued that our system of government had failed (mass unemployment, corruption, tax evasion on a massive scale by a favoured elite, very high inflation, etc). Does that mean that the only solution would have been to replace it with a more "efficient" dictatorship? Would "idealogically motivated" (ie: left wing) reasons be the only ones that one would put forward against it?
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  3. #3
    commentator commentator is offline

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    Agora I see your point and much comment is ideologically partial but there is no sensible comparison between the 80s here and what appears to be the wholesale failure to deal with pressing problems in much of sub saharan Africa.

    The Aid industry rally does need to be changed. I read recently of a situation where the govt of Niger is at one and the same time agitating for food relief and assitstance and alxo paying toward the francophone games (the French equivalent of the Commonwealth games) presumably in the hope of giving them glory. This kind of thing, and John O'shea's tirades against the disgrace of aiding the ciurrent ugandan govt. is another case in point tells me that the whole basis on which Africa is aided needs to be looked at
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  4. #4
    Zhirkov Zhirkov is offline

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    Seen Paul Theroux's comments about Bono and aid?
    Whatever about his overall argument about helping Africa he hit the nail on this head with this bit, I thought
    There are probably more annoying things than being hectored about African development by a wealthy Irish rock star in a cowboy hat, but I can't think of one at the moment.
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  5. #5
    commentator commentator is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zhirkov


    Seen Paul Theroux's comments about Bono and aid?
    Whatever about his overall argument about helping Africa he hit the nail on this head with this bit, I thought
    There are probably more annoying things than being hectored about African development by a wealthy Irish rock star in a cowboy hat, but I can't think of one at the moment.
    I have to agree. A multi millionaire benefitting from tax free status hectoring a government paid for by others to give others money away is a bit hard to swallow. i do not doubt his good intent and i admire the success he has made of his life but I would listen more intently if he voluntarilly opted out of tax free status. he might have a right to a view then.
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  6. #6
    FutureTaoiseach FutureTaoiseach is offline
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    The following are the problems:

    A: Horrendous governments who spend the money on war and self-enrichment
    B: Unfair terms of trade with Africa.
    C: Heavy-handed IMF which won't let them get loans if Africans subsidise their agricultural industry.
    D: A culture of dependency born of endless Western aid. They need to be encouraged to stand on their own two feet - though if their governments refuse we should still help those affected by disease epidemics and famine.
    E: Most of these countres' boundaries were drawn by Europeans with disregard for ethnicity of the people and as such, ethnic-groups that were traditional rivals e.g. Hutus and Tutsis, were lumped together, or else homelands of ethnic-groups were carved up between different newly-created African colonies which later became countries. A key reason for civil wars which are rampant in Africa.
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  7. #7
    MacCoise MacCoise is offline

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    when talking about Africa the west must get it into its head(s) that its not a matter of giving them a hand up, its more a matter of taking the western foot off their back.
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  8. #8
    StoneTheIceman StoneTheIceman is offline

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    i concur

    see...

    http://asp.african-institute.org/articles_index.asp

    http://asp.african-institute.org/articl ... Indeks=164

    unfortunately, you have to subscribe to africasia.com to read the actual article she speaks of in the last link.
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  9. #9
    barrym barrym is offline

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    Jeevan Vasagar, who he? anybody got the lowdown??

    I have worked in many parts of Africa as a development worker, and his article is pretty typical of the sort of commentary one gets. It is partly correct, partly political, partly ideological.... and mostly a waste of breath. The so-called "sovereign governments" of most African states are beholden to the IMF and World Bank. I have come across reps of both in various places, they are mostly economists with sliderule like analysis and since they hold the purse strings they are listened to. The NGOs, as the article states, fill the gap, doing the work on the ground, but mostly based on their own agendas, not the local people's. I am a little surprised at his specific criticism of Action Aid, my experience is that they are almost uniquely the NGO who listen, put in place a plan with locals, specify the local inputs, have a beginning, middle and end of projects, pull out when they said they would and employ local people to manage the local work, from the top down, and fire people who don't measure up. That is the sort of development that is needed, providing local experience and practical stuff. It will take a long time but it is the only way, not IMF and WB economic models...

    Bye, Barry
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  10. #10
    Chrisco Chrisco is offline
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    Aid is important to Africa, but Africa's long-term future is only going to come through economic growth. Over the past decade economic growth in Africa has picked up, with growth in the stronger economies of 5-6% p.a., even among those who do are not benefitting from the mineral and resource boom.

    What's driving Africa's growth - McKinsey Quarterly - Economic Studies - Productivity & Performance

    Africa's Hopeful Economies

    Aid and charity are important, but not the full answer. So my challenge to those who say that 'do-gooder Europeans' are part of the problem, is to put their money where their mouth is: invest in Africa.

    MyC4.com: lend directly to a small business in Africa

    MyC4.com (and there are other similar projects) allows you to invest in small businesses in Africa, at the interest rate you choose. I have been doing this for a few years now, and think it is really worthwhile. Defaults are, on the whole, low (for me at least) and you can choose to keep your returns as profits, or you can choose to reinvest them - it is up to you. My average return on investment is 14-17%.

    So, I say to all those free marketeers who think that giving to charity in Africa is a waste of time, and that it gets lost in corruption and charities' overheads: let's see you walk the walk.

    So take 10, or 50, or however much you want, and let capitalism do its thing - if you invest wisely you will get a far better return that leaving it sitting in your bank account, and you will be helping Africa wean itself off dependence on aid.
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