African nations, half a century after independence, still, sadly, depend on foreign aid to finance their budgets. And to make matters worse, there still isn’t strong enough growth in the economy to show for those billions spent.
Every continents, bar Africa and Antarctica (for obvious reasons), has at least one representative amongst the ten largest economies in the world-the United States of America, being number one and, Russia , number ten. What does this indicate?
We Africans tend to dwell on blaming the white man for everything; first for the slave trade, which took away our man power, and then for colonialism and all its ills.
To paraphrase the Bible, “we (Africans) choose to look at the speck in someone else’s eye instead of considering the log in ours”. We find it more convenient to blame the colonial powers for our own failures, instead of looking within.
Surely after all these years of independence and continued foreign aid, the African economy should be stronger than most. Africa is blessed with abundant resources; rain, fertile soils, mineral wealth and a strong labour force.
One can argue that our formal education is below par and cannot compete with more developed continents; but I would also argue that informal education, which was passed on from generation to generation, enabled Africa to be a continent of firsts.
Some of the earliest civilisations occurred in Africa and early writing emerged from our continent. The phenomenon of debt relief is, I believe, not exactly the best solution for Africa because, ironically, this relief can actually increases the debt for Africa.
I mean, once you borrow money and someone decides to forgive you that debt, you are not loath to borrow even more. You often find yourself in a cycle of debt to a point where you will borrow even more to settle the first debt.
This is the cycle Africa finds itself in. This then begs the question, why do the donors continue to give aid to Africa?
Some would say it is out of guilt for the depletion of African resources during the colonial and pre-colonial era, a practice that they continue to do up to now.
This foreign aid is actually blood money, which is fuelling the many conflicts in Africa and facilitates corrupt leaders to turn a blind eye to their suffering populace.
The war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, I believe, is one of those that are being fuelled by the aid trap. However, along with the conflict that aid causes another drawback that foreign aid has is the fact that it removes leader’s responsibility towards their own electorate.
They (the West) then have the nerve to complain about leaders like Mugabe and Al Bashir and other African heads of state who continue to cling to power .
Wouldn’t you do the same if you couldn’t access more money than you know what to do with? Maybe its time that the West turned off the aid taps…maybe its time African nations either sunk or swam.