Sunday, January 27, 2013

More on why foreign aid is bad for Africa

I am now also reading David Sogge, Give & Take: What's the Matter with Foreign Aid? (London: Zed Books, 2002). I will have a more complete analysis on this after I finish reading Sogge and Glennie. But, one thing that is apparent is that donor countries give aid to help interests in the donor countries not so much to help anybody in the recipient countries. This is particularly true of government provided assistance. There really is no such thing as international government charity. In addition to serving greater geo-political and economic interests a lot of foreign aid ends up directly in the pockets of American and European corporations. For instance food assistance is not only meant to provide help to hungry people in the underdeveloped world. It is also meant to provide assistance to farmers in the US and EU by having the donor government buy their products. In fact a lot foreign aid, not just food assistance,  has been an indirect way of providing government subsidies to US and European corporations. This has been especially true regarding military assistance. Arms sent to foreign countries means money for weapons manufacturers. This does not even delve into the economic and political dependency such aid can cause among recipient countries. But, it does serve to show that the US and Europe do not provide aid to Africa for altruistic reasons. There are always ulterior motives. What is good for politically powerful interests in the US and Europe is not always good for the people of Africa.

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