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Friday, 1 June 2012

Does Africa still need white guilt?

A recent article by Charles Kenny suggests that the western view of the helpless African, full of "malnutrition and pot-bellied young children desperate for help with flies on their faces" is not only inaccurate but unhelpful:
The white man's burden complex is also a completely inaccurate view of the world. The quality of life across the planet is higher than it has ever been. Incomes are rising -- the proportion of people living on less than $1.25 a day worldwide has been more than but in half since 1990. Mortality is falling -- about two million children born this year will live to their fifth birthday who would have died were mortality rates unchanged from 10 years ago. And education rates are climbing across every developing region -- with more than three quarters of primary school children actually in school in the "basket case" of sub-Saharan Africa, for example. And on the subject of Africa, eight economies in the region ended the last decade twice the size they'd started it.

Furthermore, the overwhelming reason for all of this change isn't charitable giving by the people and governments of rich countries, it's the efforts of the people and governments of the developing world themselves. Compared to how small aid flows are in relation to the size of most recipient economies, development assistance has had an outsized role -- successes such as the eradication of smallpox and rinderpest depended crucially on aid, for example. Nonetheless, such assistance accounts for an average of about 1 percent of the GDP of recipient countries. Assume for the sake of argument (and not based on any evidence) that aid is a tenfold more powerful tool for development than local incomes, that still means the development story is 90 percent about the domestic activities of the developing world and only 10 percent about outsiders.
We have previously review Charles Kenny's optimistic take on Africa here.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for bringing this article to a wider audience. An appropriate weekend for me - all this 'UK is great stuff' being peddled across my media. Let's hope others will broadcast this as the way forward

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  2. Africa never 'needed white guilt'. They didn't 'need white guilt' when the Belgians massacred and starved 50% of the population of the DRC to death - they went from 20 million people to 10 million. That is what the 'Heart Of Darkness' mythology and book was all about. Africa needs an immediate end to exploitation and theft by transnational corporations - as does the entire world. In Africa it is just so blatant that you can't help conclude that there is a eugenics agenda at work.

    This is how the system works:

    1) $1000 billion ($1 trillion) leaves Africa in raw materials - gold, diamonds, platinum, oil, copper, cobalt, coltan, bauxite, uranium, etc.

    2) $250 billion is transferred as 'donor aid', but it is really a government to goverment transfer of ordinary people's taxes, to keep this racket going.

    3) $6 billion a year is sent to Africa through 'charitable giving', Sunday donations to tv charities, etc.

    It is the last $6 billion that is allowed to dominate the image of Africa, providing cover for the fact that $1 trillion is stolen from the continent, and that $250 billion of western taxpayer money is stolen and transferred to hide the fact that the transnational corporations are not paying taxes - western middle and working class taxpayers and ordinary companies and corporations are, as they are do in Zambia and Africa itself.

    The $250 billion is blatently abused to enforce the one world agenda if the IMF/World bank, which is the destruction of the sovereign state, and the impoverishment of the general public worldwide. Malawi is an excellent example of how donor aid is abused to force the government away from effective poverty reduction and economic development policies.

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