It must be said that many forms of foreign aid is not aid in the strictest sense of the word since a huge chunk of the money (or material) never makes it into the intended people. Moreover, there is politics involved in the disbursement of foreign aid. Even so, some countries do need aid, but most don’t.
People are opposed to foreign aid not only because it does not serve any real purpose, but because the little that gets into any of the targeted countries doesn’t get to those who should have benefited from such aid. More often than not, it is the elite and government functionaries who squander the aid.
There are countries in Africa that shouldn’t have been nation-states in the first place. These are countries that are just too small, too poor, and vastly undereducated, lack viable human and natural resources and are not ready to be independent states.
Some of these countries should have formed confederations or, at best, teamed with other countries to form one independent state. But pride and undue nationalistic feelings \"convinced\" them they need independence. Unfortunately, \"paper political independence\" does not pay workers salaries, pave roads, build schools and hospital and eradicate diseases, and provide for public infrastructures and other necessities.
Now, decades after \"political independence\", these countries do not have the wherewithal to administer their own affairs as they are constantly in need of foreign aid and other forms of assistance from the West or from any country that cares to help. For instance, Rwanda and Burundi would have been better off as one single country, just as Republic of Benin and Togo should have been a single country, ditto Senegal and Gambia.
The same can be said of Burkina Faso, Mali, and a host of other African countries. Aside from historical reasons, what business does Swaziland and Lesotho have being independent countries? Wouldn’t they have been better off as an integral part of South Africa?
Today, most African countries depend on foreign assistance. Aid is injurious to a country’s psyche: it encourages laziness and indolence and makes receiving countries heavily dependent on donor countries. In the long run, receiving countries become indebted to donor countries and in due course turn into appendages to the donor countries. The West, as a rule, does not give a cent out of sheer generosity. It’s all about profit and self-interest.
Are Rwanda and Burundi, and Congo (Kinshasa) truly independent states when they take their marching orders from Belgium and France? Yaoundé can’t take any step without getting clearance from Paris. And when was the last time Nigeria caused a ripple without first checking with London and Washington?
That Nigeria still receives foreign aid is baffling. What do we need foreign aid for? What do we need military and technical assistance for? We have all the necessary human and natural resources to be truly successful and independent. That America, China, Britain, Germany, Italy and others still give us a penny here and a dime there is not only ludicrous, it is demeaning. The corruption and politics of foreign aid aside, what good would it do any self-respecting people and country to continually depend on handouts? What does our penchant for handouts tell the world about us?
That we are not responsive and responsible? That but for the grace of the Global North, Africa would still be in the pit of poverty? No wonder the West acts condescendingly towards us. HIV/AIDS is rampant on the continent, killing people and depriving it of a future. Although, without empirical evidence, almost 15% of the so-called HIV/AIDS cases are related, not to the dread disease, but to malaria, malnutrition, air and water-borne diseases, hopelessness and acute sadness.
Some of our behaviors are to be blame for the almost uncontrollable spread of AIDS: polygamy, society-condoned sexual orgies, prostitution, carefree sex amongst the young and so on. We expect our women to cook, clean the house, provide sex (on demand), and raise children. It is because of this that for us to arrest the prevalence of AIDS and other STDs, we have to embark on the re-education of African men, not begging for aid.
The unedited version of this article was first published by the Niger Delta Congress.