Africa's Aid Addiction and Corruption

On November 25, 2008, in Africa, aid effectiveness, corruption, by Karen Grepin

“Where I come from in West Africa, we have a saying: “A fool at 40 is a fool forever”, and most African countries have now been independent for over 40 years.”

This quote was taken from a new, and very interesting news piece from the BBC reporter Sorious Samura. The report contains a rather fascinating video in which the reporter travels to shops in Africa and asks vendors why they are selling goods, including bed nets and drugs, that were donated by donor programs. The reporter then goes on to interview government employees to find out how the products went from the the government stores to these for profit stores.

The root of Africa’s development problem, arugues the reporter, is in the interplay between Africa’s addiction to foreign aid and corruption.

“When half the government budget comes from aid, African leaders find themselves less inclined to tax their citizens. As a result, governments that are highly dependent on aid pay too much attention to donors and too little to the actual needs of their own citizens.”

“Another criticism of aid increasingly voiced by Africans, but rarely heard in the West is that it sponsors failure, but rarely rewards success.”

To what is the extent is the problem aid or to what extent is it corruption? Or is one just a symptom of the other? How much truth is there to any of these arguments? Do click on the link above and watch the video.

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1 Response » to “Africa's Aid Addiction and Corruption”

  1. Minas says:

    If anyone hasn't read it, Wedel's book is a gem on the forces driving corruption. Your comment about aid money (and World Bank funds) removing the incentive to develop the nation is one aspect.

    Janine R. Wedel, Collision and Collusion: The Strange Case of Western Aid to Eastern Europe 1989-1998.

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