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Debates Forum

  1. Standard member bill718
    Enigma
    11 Aug '13 15:23 / 2 edits
    Back in the late 60's our Jr. High School class raised some money and put together an aid package for a small country called Biafra who at that time, was trying to secede from Nigeria. The effort only lasted a few years, and in time Biafra vanished. Sometimes I wonder about the decades of effort and untold billions in aid that have been poured into this continent, with little real progress to show for it. The locals seem happy to recieve the food and other resources, but most make little effort to progress beyond a 3rd world lifestyle. Governments in Africa seem even more corrupt than others, which leads me to ask. Is sending aid to African countries or groups simply a waste? Any thoughts?
  2. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    Poor Filipov :,(
    11 Aug '13 17:05
    African capitalists and gangsters find a way to take all the aid while denying it to their own people.
  3. 11 Aug '13 17:19
    Originally posted by bill718
    Is sending aid to African countries or groups simply a waste? Any thoughts?
    Aid is not a waste. A large percentage of aid money is wasted, but aid also does a lot of good. However, it is a drop in the ocean compared to what needs to be done.
    I don't know anything about biafra, but it sounds like in that case you were supporting a civil war. Civil war and tribalism/racism/religion is one of Africa's problems. The Europeans carved up Africa with no respect to tribal boundaries leaving tribes with histories of war forced to be in the same country whilst splitting up other tribes. West Africa has many countries which are half Muslim and half Christian which creates problems.
    Many of the civil wars have been encouraged by people interested in taking advantage of the wars to steal Africas mineral wealth. Everywhere there are diamonds, there is war, with the exception of South Africa.

    The country I know best is Zambia. At independence we had large reserves of very valuable copper. We thought we were rich. We used this as guarantee to borrow large sums of money to build large hydroelectric dams, roads, railways and other infrastructure. The first world nations were more than happy to dish out this money. However, the copper price fell, and the interest payments eventually became unbearable.
    We were spending something like one third of the countries budget on interest payments. This exceeded the aid money coming in.
    After pointing out this hypocrisy of the rich nations for about 10 years or so, they eventually decided to cancel large amounts of the debt.
    However, Zambia still has a major problem in that we have large copper reserves, but the people mining it are taking most of the profits to Switzerland and essentially evading tax.

    Add to this things like US and European farm subsidies which far exceed total world aid and are expressly designed to give US and European farmers and advantage over third world nations.

    Add to all this the fact that we have the highest disease burden on the planet (malaria/aids/and more).

    So please keep sending your aid, and if you can, also consider doing something about your government and corporations deliberate exploitation of our continent.
  4. 11 Aug '13 17:23
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    African capitalists and gangsters find a way to take all the aid while denying it to their own people.
    The gangsters in question are usually the foreign governments supposedly giving the aid. Governments give aid in order to show off. They are usually also very much interested in ensuring that most of the money comes back to them. Non-governmental aid tends to have a more altruistic mission and can be less wasteful. However, some non-governmental aid is religious and that too can get sidetracked.
    If you read reports on Haiti you will see that the problems there (with the aid) have nothing to do with the Haitian government and everything to do with poorly managed aid.
  5. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    Poor Filipov :,(
    11 Aug '13 17:26
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    The gangsters in question are usually the foreign governments supposedly giving the aid. Governments give aid in order to show off. They are usually also very much interested in ensuring that most of the money comes back to them. Non-governmental aid tends to have a more altruistic mission and can be less wasteful. However, some non-governmental aid is re ...[text shortened]... id) have nothing to do with the Haitian government and everything to do with poorly managed aid.
    Well in Egypt it's the Egyptian Army taking Western and Arab military aid and using it to keep their own people under martial law.
  6. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    Poor Filipov :,(
    11 Aug '13 17:29 / 3 edits
    http://www.ogaden.com/hornnews/ethiopia/723-food-aid-to-ogaden-region-stolen-.html

    In Ethiopia the food keeps getting stolen. I've heard it was warlords who are stockpiling it for emergency war reserves for their troops at the expense of the civilians.

    http://www.africaninterest.com/africa/us-aid-stolen-in-liberia/
    http://www.timeslive.co.za/africa/2012/09/09/international-food-aid-stolen-in-niger-minister

    In Liberia and Niger similar things are happening.
  7. 11 Aug '13 18:31
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    Well in Egypt it's the Egyptian Army taking Western and Arab military aid and using it to keep their own people under martial law.
    The fact that the Westerners and Arabs are giving aid to the military (who then keep the people under martial law) makes the Westerners and Arabs gangsters too.
    The problem with Africa is we have allowed ourselves to be manipulated. We should probably have followed Chinas example and done it our own way. Although I must admit that China took a while to get there and went through some big mistakes and pain on the way.
  8. 11 Aug '13 18:36
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    In Ethiopia the food keeps getting stolen. I've heard it was warlords who are stockpiling it for emergency war reserves for their troops at the expense of the civilians.
    I don't know the situation in those countries. But in Zambia, food aid is a perennial problem. It is politically motivated and is more harmful than good. In fact many aid agencies have spoken up against it, although they often give in due to political pressure. Zambia is more than capable of growing its own food, and when food is imported for food aid (often excess from first world countries due to their farm subsidies) it damages our local agriculture.
    I believe Ethiopia may be different, in that the real problems there are civil war and climate change. But there is no oil, so the Westerners wont really do anything about the civil war.
  9. 12 Aug '13 00:00
    Originally posted by bill718
    Back in the late 60's our Jr. High School class raised some money and put together an aid package for a small country called Biafra who at that time, was trying to secede from Nigeria. The effort only lasted a few years, and in time Biafra vanished. Sometimes I wonder about the decades of effort and untold billions in aid that have been poured into this cont ...[text shortened]... ch leads me to ask. Is sending aid to African countries or groups simply a waste? Any thoughts?
    Africa is somewhat subject to the same things that make other places in the world less progressive. For a complete explanation, Thomas Sowell's trilogy on Culture is indispensable.

    Simple as it seems geography is a major factor. Isolation breeds backward societies and cultures, and geography is the natural isolator.
  10. 12 Aug '13 00:08
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    The gangsters in question are usually the foreign governments supposedly giving the aid. Governments give aid in order to show off. They are usually also very much interested in ensuring that most of the money comes back to them. Non-governmental aid tends to have a more altruistic mission and can be less wasteful. However, some non-governmental aid is re ...[text shortened]... id) have nothing to do with the Haitian government and everything to do with poorly managed aid.
    The success or failure of colonies to become independent nations rests largely with their cultural development, and the ambitions at the beginning of independence. Natural resources help, but the transformation from tribalism to nationhood is delicate and complex.

    Witness that barely 80 years into the existence of the US we were in a civil war, and a century and a half later, we are facing monumental economic problems of debt.

    As peoples and families grow older, ambitions often outpace proper growth possibilities. Excess debt is deadly.
  11. 12 Aug '13 03:05
    The post that was quoted here has been removed
    Not so, all the US aid to Egypt has done wonders.........for somebody.
  12. 12 Aug '13 05:46
    Originally posted by bill718
    Back in the late 60's our Jr. High School class raised some money and put together an aid package for a small country called Biafra who at that time, was trying to secede from Nigeria. The effort only lasted a few years, and in time Biafra vanished. Sometimes I wonder about the decades of effort and untold billions in aid that have been poured into this cont ...[text shortened]... ch leads me to ask. Is sending aid to African countries or groups simply a waste? Any thoughts?
    Keep the aid flowing. Keep the African children fed and with medical treatment.
  13. 12 Aug '13 07:18
    My mum works with Rotary International, and amongst other projects they have been involved in an orphanage, an old peoples home, and various boreholes for villages. For the orphanage, the Catholic Church also contributes quite a lot and so does the government. The children in the orphanage usually do better than their peers in school suggesting that the orphanage environment is actually better than the average child's home environment.
    However, this is the sort of thing that the government should be doing but doesn't, partly because first world nations are exploiting us.
  14. 12 Aug '13 07:54
    Originally posted by bill718
    Back in the late 60's our Jr. High School class raised some money and put together an aid package for a small country called Biafra who at that time, was trying to secede from Nigeria. The effort only lasted a few years, and in time Biafra vanished. Sometimes I wonder about the decades of effort and untold billions in aid that have been poured into this cont ...[text shortened]... ch leads me to ask. Is sending aid to African countries or groups simply a waste? Any thoughts?
    The function of colonialism was to open channels of trade between the countries of the colonist and colonised. This happened under relations of power in which the colonists rigged the game to suit themselves. Slaves, mineral wealth, ivory, wood, etc. flowed from Africa's shores to be replaced with technologies that made this looting possible. At independence these channels remained and were, in many cases, unscrupulously usurped by a black elite.

    People, such as Tony Blair, calling for Africa to enter the global marketplace and embrace 'progress' are deluded (if not machiavellian). Why would Africa want to join economic globalisation when this means a widening gap between rich and poor, the continued exploitation of Africa's resources, the increased feminisation of poverty, and entrenches the existing domination of former colonial powers?
  15. Subscriber Wajoma
    Die Cheeseburger
    12 Aug '13 12:55
    Originally posted by Green Paladin
    The function of colonialism was to open channels of trade between the countries of the colonist and colonised. This happened under relations of power in which the colonists rigged the game to suit themselves. Slaves, mineral wealth, ivory, wood, etc. flowed from Africa's shores to be replaced with technologies that made this looting possible. At indepe ...[text shortened]... d feminisation of poverty, and entrenches the existing domination of former colonial powers?
    Mind the gap, mind the gap. If the wealth in a country increases 10%, a person holding $100 worth of value would now have $110. A person with $1000 would have $1100. The gap between these two people just increased $900 to $990 would it be better if the gap remained the same and there was no increase of wealth at all? If the poor person simply remained poor but at least maintained the 'gap'.