July 16, 2006

A LITTLE LESS HELP, HERE (via Luciferous):

'Aid only feeds Africa's corruption' (Carl Mortishead, 7/16/06, Times Online)

A broadcaster little known in the West says handouts exacerbate the continent's problems
ASK Andrew Mwenda how rich nations can help Africa and you get a quick and disturbing answer.

“The best thing the West can do is nothing,” he says. [...]

Aid is directing self-interest elsewhere because, instead of engaging in a risky dialogue with their citizens about reform, African politicians would rather talk to aid donors and solicit handouts. “Africans need to move on from the slave trade and stop whining,” says Mr Mwenda.

He compares the old colonial administrators rattling around in Land Rovers with today’s army of foreign aid officials and government bureaucrats. “There were 72 colonial administrators and frugal public expenditure. Today, there are 2,800 foreign expatriates. They fight poverty in a BMW. When was Uganda more colonised, in 1962 or today?”

No surprise that the message is ill-received in Kampala where Mr Mwenda was a guest for several days in one of President Museveni’s jails. He accused the Government of incompetence and negligence in sending John Garang, the Sudanese rebel leader, to his death in a Ugandan government helicopter which recklessly flew into a storm in a rebel area.

Mr Mwenda admits freely that he would like to be president. While criticising the Ugandan opposition parties, he says that he will eventually join one. He wants to replace the African tradition of patronage with a meritocracy and admires Botswana and post-civil war Rwanda as better systems.

“Aid has destroyed the concept of civil society in Africa. What exists are the NGOs. They are bureaucracies committed to the interests of donors. Cut off the foreign aid and 90 per cent will disappear,” says Mr Mwenda.

Paul Driessen's book, Eco-Imperialism, is terrific on the subject. We're honored to have him on the panel this week at the Redefining Sovereignty event at the Heritage Foundation.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 16, 2006 11:24 AM

This sounds like a great time will be had by all. I hope you'll post a video for those of us who can't be there.

Mazel tov.

Posted by: erp at July 16, 2006 1:51 PM

Cutting off aid would also be a helpful-in-the-long-run kick in the pants for the North Koreans and Palestinians.

Posted by: PapayaSF at July 16, 2006 7:15 PM

Forget the NGOs, they are a black hole. Instead give your African contributions to microcredit (aka microloan) funds. They bypass the BMW-driving crowd, giving the money directly to poor young entrepreneurs.

The NGOs hate it because it's really capitalism, which makes it even better.

Posted by: Gideon at July 17, 2006 1:20 AM