|Dropping food aid Photo courtesy|
In foreign aid logic, more is given to platoon commanders and less is given to commanders of battalions and brigades. More is similarly given to farmers with fewer livestock while much less is given to the farmers with more livestock. Those given less are frequently required to do much more, and those given nothing at all are blamed for poor outcomes, nonetheless. Such is the nature of foreign aid.
Aid is never directed where the need is greatest. Foreign aid has a pattern of being directed at those who are connected; those with clouts and those with the requisite vehemence and cohesion to pepper donors with complaints when they are not offered aid.
National Public Radio’s (NPR) Gwen Thompson reporting from two countries in Africa, repeated for each the irrelevant fact that these countries are aid beneficiaries of USA. I have never heard any journalist/reporter say the same of
There are those who are completely ignorant of how foreign aid is allocated both in terms of size and what nations are recipients. Out of such ignorance, some have assumed that much foreign aid has been given to African nations.They therefore argue that foreign aid to Africans is ineffective and that it creates dependency. But by the time that you look at the tables and schedules of US Foreign Aid, you will see the lie about Foreign Aid. Ignorant people should stop using Africa as cover for the foreign aid which actually flows elsewhere, far from Africa.
There is a reason why Israel never was in a position to have to rely on Bono of U2 or the musicians and artistes who performed We Are the World, Live Aid in support for victims of drought and famine in Ethiopian and
The World Bank and IMF are seen (in developing countries) as tools by which western nations control public policies and the lives of peoples in the developing world. Anyone who has heard of the “Structural Adjustment Program” understands the ruin it wrought in many developing countries worldwide. Israel receives more aid and more loan guarantees than all of
In the metaphorical scheme of things, regarding foreign aid, it is as if African nations are the ones who must travel longest distances in the desert. They are the ones with a junk car, a broken radiator and burnt gasket. Before donors give Africans 8 ounces of radiator coolants, they first announce plans to donate gallons of radiator coolants two years in advance, but eventually only deliver mere 8 ounces of coolants.
These same donors are keenly aware of the fact that Israel does not have a lot of passengers to transport, and a great distance to travel, and yet, they will quietly and surreptitiously supply brand new Cadillac Escalades to Israel without ostentations announcements or even a whimper of donations of a brand new Cadillac and Lexus filled with high octane fuels to Israel, in the competition to drive through the desert, the outcome between both teams is slanted and predetermined.
Donors who donate junk cars to African nations are also quick to complain about African drivers of such junk cars. Donors are blaming African drivers for the fate of the junk cars when it should be clear to any observer that the best driver could not magically turn the junk pinto into a Cadillac or Lexus or some sort of engineering marvel. Even if the best efforts and intentions are invested into junk cars, a clunker is a clunker still.
It is so irritating to hear Western commentators wring their metaphorical hangs as they moan and bemoan "aid-fatigue" or "donor-fatigue"! How do you suffer fatigue from what you have not done? Is it possible to suffer "donor fatigue" in connection with Africa when 99% of your donor aid goes outside
Those who have probably heard of such terms as "donor-fatigue" and "aid-fatigue" are liable to think of Africa as they would upon hearing of war, chaos and a starving child. But those terms are marketing tools of disinformation to erroneously lead readers and listeners into thinking that so much or enough has been given or done for
It is critical to examine the role played by this erroneous portrayal of
Foreign aid is determined by criterion which have nothing to do with where the need is greatest. What determines the destination and quantum of aid is rather mere ephemerals of friendship, lobby, clout and the quality or lack, in the leadership of a given aid donor country.
There is this astonishing discovery that successive American administration, regardless of whether it is led by social conservatives or liberal-progressives, tend to direct aid, to where aid was always directed.
When it comes to foreign aid to Africa, Western nations take the best friends or preferred non-African friends to Five Star Restaurants. Western nations treat these non-Africans to sumptuous forteen- course meals of caviars, champagne, wine, dessert and more. At the end, their “conscience” suggests photo opportunity of a feel good type with the Africans, and so, leftovers and doggie-bags are brought to the Africans in full glare of television cameras from CNN and BBC in tow. In the full glare of television cameras, Africans are portrayed in dire straits and genuflecting and picking up the leftovers with gratitude and appreciation with so much flourish.
Remember that the television cameras were conveniently out during the events of sumptuous dinners with foreign aid donors’ best friends. Africa is then splashed all over the news as if it was actually the recipient of the 14 course sumptuous dinner! Africans are the ones everyone hears and sees being feted.
Someone could argue, that westerners are entitled to spent own money, however and whomever they prefer. True! But why lie about who the major recipients or beneficiaries are? They are not Africans! Let there be truth in charity, as we demand truth in advertising. Foreign Aid is not squandered on Africa as many have been made to believe.
Africa receives less than one percent of foreign aid. But discussions about foreign aid, frequently pretend that Africa is the epicenter of foreign aid and that
After slavery, after colonialism and after World Wars and After various economic meltdowns, what Marshall Plan or forms of financial bailouts and rescues were offered to Africans compared to the Marshall Plan, bailouts and rescue packages which were offered to the rest of the world over and over again? Africa has been made powerless since slavery and colonialism, hence the world says and does what it pleases regarding Africa, things which are clearly unacceptable elsewhere.
“War and Peace” or “War What Is Good For”; were not written about Nigeria or
The Balkans has brimmed with crises for a hundred years. The “troubles” in
The fallacy which is repeated about Africa as the center of war and chaos is simply nonsense. A major factor and huge contributor of the challenges which Africa has faced, is the image devastation inflicted upon
Western journalists will amaze you with how they are quick to become some pseudo experts on Africa. They will also kill your joy with a strain of ineptitude which allows them to always address African matters in the singular.
Often, you will hear, “This is John Doe, reporting from Africa.” If the same journalist will not say, “This is John Doe, reporting from North America” or “This is John Doe, reporting from
Western journalists report from Afghanistan,
Western media are more focused on Britney Spears, Anna Nicole Smith, Paris Hilton, and most recently, on the life and death of Michael Jackson, than on coverage of substantive issues concerning the African continent during the past ten years.
In the news, politics, chaos, war, foreign aid, AIDS are portrayed as phenomena peculiarly African. I have observed over time that only African writers, singers, and sundry which are critical of Africa would get publicity or a mention in the Western media.If all you write or crow about is war, crises, chaos, bad leadership, diseases, Ebola, AIDS, and genital circumcision, you will get a mention in the Western press and may even be showered with publicity! But whatever you do, never lay any of the blames at the doorstep of Western interlopers and intermeddlers in African affairs.
Westerners always seem to be in the business of selecting and imposing their preference of leadership on developing nations. These are frequently persons who are unpopular with the local populace in their own nations, fine with Western nations because they are pliable and can be manipulated by Western nations.
Think about Pervez Musharaf of
Such is the history of Africa too.
The Truth about Foreign Aid is that, Africa is not where foreign Aid really goes. The bulk of foreign aid, in reality, flows elsewhere and not
By Paul I. Adujie,