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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Is Aid Killing Africa?

Is foreign aid killing Africa?

This may seem way off topic for this blog, but now that I have a daughter from Africa, it is definitely on topic for me personally. And since Americans are the producers of so much of that aid, it is a topic for our country to consider.

Guernica Magazine (which I just discovered through Arts & Literature) published an interview with Dambisa Moyo, an African economist about her thoughts on the aid situation on the African continent. She is pretty adamant that foreign aid is making the situation worse for Africans (and has for the last sixty years). She offes some pretty sobering statistics and some well-researched evidence to support her conclusion that direct aid (caveat: she is discussing systemic aid, not emergency aid) to Africa needs to stop in the next five years or the situation will only continue to worsen.

Here's the introductory paragraph:

Dambisa Moyo’s prescription for economic sustainability in Africa—which includes cutting off all aid within five years—might seem insane if the statistics weren’t so grim: despite one trillion dollars in western aid over the past sixty years, the economic lot of the average African has only gotten worse. Most Africans now live on one dollar per day, and sub-Saharan Africa remains the poorest region in the world. Despite a deluge of aid between the years of 1970 and 1998, poverty on the continent skyrocketed from 11 percent of the population to 66 percent, which means over six hundred million Africans are now impoverished. The average African can only expect to live to be about fifty, and half the continent’s citizens are under the age of fifteen. In addition to poverty, AIDS, corruption (half the continent is still under un-democratic rule), civil war, and genocide ravage the continent. Indeed, Africa seems constantly embroiled in a steady stream of horrors, the likes of which are not seen anywhere else on the planet. Why? Are Africans innately different from the rest of us? Nonsense, says Moyo. She blames aid.

I highly recommend you take the time to read the full interview.

Then come back here and share your thoughts on her conclusions. Do you believe foreign aid has made things worse? Do you think stopping foreign aid will improve the situation? If so, how do we stop aid without causing many people to suffer. If we don't stop the aid, how do we address the concerns she raises? While solving international issues might be a bit beyond us, we can take her ideas and apply them to our church programs. Within our churches how can we incorporate her ideas into our mission outreach programs?

This is a huge issue that I'm sure homeschool moms feel is way outside their control, but I think it is important enough to at least have a well-formed opinion about. Let's let iron-sharpen iron a bit, what do you say?

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