The Running Commentary


The problem with Africa…

AfricaCarte Blanche (hosted by MNet) ran a story this past Sunday entitled “The Problem with Africa” and was effectively an interview with Robert Calderisi’s who has written a booked by the same title. The questions raised are pertain to whether the aid given to Africa by the world leading foreign Aid agencies, is keeping Africa poor.During the interview Robert Calderisi mentioned that as much of 90% of the financial aid went to government in the form of salaries and wages, effectively delivering 10% to the real growth opportunities. One of the shocking examples is a woman who was forced to dispose of her dead child in a dumpster as a result of her not being able to pay for a death certificate, that is in fact free.

The conclusion that seems to be reached in the book and on the air is that the aid is not the problem but rather the poor governance and leadership that exists on the continent.

Readers of my blog will know that I feel quite passionate about the fact that Africa needs to move from an entitlement culture and into one of working to grow a powerful continent free of corruption and full of the potential that we know is there.

I am not for one moment suggesting that the aid from the foreign aid agencies should cease. I firmly believe though that for each bit of aid that is sent to this continent the responsible people should produce plans on how it is to be expended. These plans should be monitored and reports submitted to the agencies. This will ensure that the funding is expended in the fashion that it is intended. Critical to this success is for the agencies themselves to want to measure in infrastructure and success as opposed to dollars given.

Therein lies the next issue, in that I believe agencies currently do very little reporting of infrastructural success and more on the actual dollar spend. This probably due to the fact that the donors need only to report, as part of their corporate social responsibility issues on the money spent. If we changed the Corporate Social reporting to include the actual difference the company or corporate is making in terms of their funding then these reports would be the norm.

My plea to the African leaders receiving the aid, delivery should be to the people that will benefit most from the aid, infrastructural development creates jobs, jobs create a tax base and a tax base means you can extract the government funding from that.

Let’s keep moving, even in small steps from “I am entitled to this” to “I can make this happen”

africaagenciesForeign AidGood Government

Mike • April 30, 2008

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  1. Mike Harmon April 30, 2008 - 3:52 am

    I came across your blog on Technorati. Nice site layout. I will stop by and read more soon.

    Mike Harmon

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