Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Helping Africa fail, AGAIN!

Is the ONE Campaign promoting the Right Kind of Help?

Selected exerpts:

"For while humanitarian assistance undoubtedly saves lives today, and debt-write off and new aid have their place, they send the same signals Africa has been receiving for the past four decades--the entire continent is a basket case in need of aid."

"The Blair-Bush announcement of $674 million in aid for Eritrea and Ethiopia is worrying. While we except that food aid is warranted, the leaders of these two countries are among the worst in Africa, and we are rewarding them for bankrupting their agricultural economies through corruption, mismanagement, and communist collectivization. Yet on May 24 President Issias Afwerki of Eritrea even blamed the United States for his economic failure."

"In the last week Ethiopians killed 36 protesters who were up in arms over the failure to release election results on schedule. These results have been embargoed for several months so that its government can cook the books. In the meantime, they are declaring martial law. Did the Blair-Bush announcement give them license to conduct these acts? Probably so, given that United Kingdom has just suspended $54 million in new aid to Ethiopia."

"Moreover, aid transfers and debt forgiveness do little to change the basic institutional failures of the past 30 years that have made Africa poorer and sicker while the rest of the world has become richer and healthier."

"The danger in sending more aid to Africa is that the very governments that frustrate economic growth with laws and regulations, which entrench the power of political elites, will handle that money. Giving them more money empowers them further and ensures that they are removed from the populations that, theoretically, voted them into power."

"Africa does not need apologies, rock concerts, and aid plans. It needs the current leaders of its countries to recognize the importance of economic freedom and the rule of law. When these institutions are attacked, African leaders must defend them."

"Yet the way in which nearly every African leader has supported Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's destructive policies indicates that Africa's leaders continue to live in the past, and in so doing consign their people to a future of decades of suffering."

"Regardless of the pressure from Bono and his friends, or disasters in Ethiopia or Zimbabwe, blanket debt-write offs, and massive aid increases will not help. Only aid tied to democratic reforms--especially reforms of property right structures--will likely deliver results. The fact that there is no private property in Ethiopia is the reason its economy is such a mess."

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