The weekend edition of the Wall St. Journal carried a lengthy article entitled, “Why Foreign Aid is Hurting Africa.” I don’t know what the fallout has been for reporter Dambisa Mayo but if it was anything like Irish Times writer Kevin Myers last summer who said much the same thing, the poor reporter must be under heavy fire as I write.
Here are just a couple of paragraphs that will be sure to inspire you to read the rest:
Giving alms to Africa remains one of the biggest ideas of our time — millions march for it, governments are judged by it, celebrities proselytize the need for it. Calls for more aid to Africa are growing louder, with advocates pushing for doubling the roughly $50 billion of international assistance that already goes to Africa each year.
Yet evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that aid to Africa has made the poor poorer, and the growth slower. The insidious aid culture has left African countries more debt-laden, more inflation-prone, more vulnerable to the vagaries of the currency markets and more unattractive to higher-quality investment. It’s increased the risk of civil conflict and unrest (the fact that over 60% of sub-Saharan Africa’s population is under the age of 24 with few economic prospects is a cause for worry). Aid is an unmitigated political, economic and humanitarian disaster.
Come to think of it, Myers was a wee bit more graphic then the Wall St. Journal. Here is Myers:
Sorry. My conscience has toured this territory on foot and financially. Unlike most of you, I have been to Ethiopia; like most of you, I have stumped up the loot to charities to stop starvation there. The wide-eyed boy-child we saved, 20 years or so ago, is now a priapic, Kalashnikov-bearing hearty, siring children whenever the whim takes him.
Do-gooders beware, too much aid can be a bad thing for the human spirit.