Aid independence: a must for African renaissance

We have learnt it the hard way: there is no such thing as aid effectiveness principles.

We have learnt it the hard way: there is no such thing as aid effectiveness principles.

There is no such thing as donor-recipient memorandum of understanding. In fact, donor countries are not obliged to give out aid; it’s not a loan where each party abides by any contractual agreement. Hence, to say it bluntly, they have – and they will – cut aid whenever they feel like it.

For those who still wonder whether Western countries donate money to help reduce poverty in Africa, let’s hope they are partly right.

Indeed, the latest months in Rwanda have shown that donors will oftentimes use aid for political leverage.

Some European countries more so; have mastered the game of “I give you the minimum but I will exercise maximum pressure whenever and wherever it suits me”.

In this time of age, African countries need to stop believing in Santa Claus and work hard to get off aid.

The fast moving economic and financial world we live in cannot wait for those who still believe in fawning over donor countries to fund their budgets.

Guess what? Donor countries have their own budget deficits to handle and their taxpayers are putting Western governments under so much pressure that Africa is the least on their mind. It’s about time, we, Africans, accept that fact and start acting accordingly.

No country has ever lifted itself from an-underdeveloped economy to a developed or an emerging economy by holding out its hands for donors’money.

Japan and South Korea have taught that lesson to the World since the 50’s and 60’s, China has been doing just that since the 80’s,and look at Argentina in the past 10 years!

Indeed, Japan’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 1950 equaled that of Somalia. 50 years later, Japan had become the second largest economy in the world, behind the United States, the country that ironically had provided aid to Japan during its initial economic recovery, during the post-World War II.

In 1953, after the Korean War, South Korea’s economy was in shambles, relying heavily on agriculture and foreign aid; which represented 80% of the national budget, with per capita income of less than $100.

50 years later, South Korea had transformed itself into a highly industrialized nation, the 13th economy in the world, having multiplied its GDP per capita by more than a hundred.

Today, South Korea boasts of per capita income of $22,000, while investing $300 million on the continent that was as poor 50 years ago: Africa.   

And Argentina? Well, headlines in 2001 were: “Bankrupt state”. 11 years later, after doing away with years of IMF-infusion; the country is among the G20, the group of the world’s 20 richest nations.

Now, if Africa does not draw on these examples fast enough and get off aid, well, we will be doomed not only to economic instability, but also to pressure from donors for more decades to come!

2013 is the year that the Organization of African Unity/African Union marks its 50th anniversary; this is surely the best time to advocate for an Africa off aid. If not, forget about Africa’s renaissance.