‘Stand up for Poverty’ calls on governments to throw more Aid at poverty. Yet a new voice has emerged from the very heart of poverty-stricken Africa to challenge this concept.
A young Zambian woman, economist Dambisa Moyo, has written a book called Dead Aid. She does not say all Overseas Aid (OAid) is wrong, she is engaged in some grass roots aid organisations herself, but she is very clear that the large amounts of OAid given through things like ‘Live Aid’, through government handouts and the UN have, in fact, created more, rather than less, poverty in Africa.
She states “In the past fifty years, more than $1 trillion in development-related aid has been transferred from rich countries to Africa. Has this assistance improved the lives of Africans? No. In fact, across the continent, the recipients of this aid are not better off as a result of it, but worse-much worse.”
She is very clear that corruption at government level is the crux of the problem along with lazy governments. Governments who rely on OAid rather than design programs to get their nation out of the reliance on Aid mentality.
Dambisa Moyo is not saying that ’emergency Aid’ is wrong either – the responses to tsunamis and earthquakes etc. It is the regular and persistent propping up of bad governments that she is concerned about. Where the Aid rarely gets to the people most in need.
Action – We need to be personally involved in giving to those who have so much less than us rather than simply standing up and calling on governments to give more.
We need to call on governments to be ready to respond to emergencies, BUT also to be far more discerning when it comes to propping up corrupt and lazy governments.
We need to be far more discerning about glib support for sound good platitudes like ‘Stand up for Poverty”, “Make Poverty History” “Millennium Development Goals” that, according to Dambisa and a growing number of other discerning people, are actually make things worse rather than better.