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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Africa Aid goes for Weapons

The BBC tells us aid recipients in Ethiopia during the famine of 1984-85 were rebels who perpetrated a gigantic fraud to buy weapons 1.

So if private charities can easily be duped, then perhaps it would be safer and more efficient to execute payment schemes government-to-government such as those mediated by the World Bank? Well, that is even worse: Zambian economist Dambisa Moyo has been warning us for years that such bilateral programs are counter-productive; as Moyo puts it:

"Foreign aid props up corrupt governments — providing them with freely usable cash. These corrupt governments interfere with the rule of law, the establishment of transparent civil institutions, and the protection of civil liberties, making both domestic and foreign investment in poor countries unattractive. Greater opacity and fewer investments reduce economic growth, which leads to fewer job opportunities and increasing poverty levels. In response to growing poverty, donors give more aid, which continues the downward spiral of poverty. This is the vicious cycle of aid.2"

Please, for God's sake, Bono, Bob Geldof, Boy George, David Bowie, Dennis Thomas, George Michael and all you other celebrities who think you are helping, please stop. All you are doing is adding more hunger, disease, and death to Africa. If you have any mercy in your heart, please investigate what your actions have already done and promise to stop doing anymore in the future.

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