The U.S., for its part, has also crafted three special initiatives to help Africa since the 1990s. The basic reason why many well-intentioned aid programs came to grief was that the commitment on the part of many of African leaders to put their own houses in order was simply not there. They took the aid money and did the “Babangida Boogie” – one step forward, three steps back, a flip and a sidekick to land on a fat Swiss bank account. This prompted even former President Bill Clinton – regarded as a “friend of Africa” – to bemoan it.
“The responsibility rests with African countries to commit themselves to these objectives and to make policy choices that will enable them to achieve these objectives. Help from outside Africa cannot overcome lack of commitment or wrong choices by the governments of Africa“, President Clinton said in his Feb 5, 1996 Report to Congress: (U.S. Government Report, 1996, 3). Clinton subsequently took bold steps to move away from aid paradigm, replacing it with the slogan “trade not aid.” Continue reading “How To Help, Save or Develop Africa (Part 6): US-Africa Aid Programs”
Africa’s Own Mega-Plans. Since independence, African leaders have announced all sorts of grandiose initiatives and mega-plans at various summits. Nothing subsequently was heard of them after the summits: The Lagos Plan of Action (1980); the African Priority Program for Economic Recovery (1985); the African Alternative Framework to Structural Adjustment (1989), the Abuja Treaty (1991) and others.
Continue reading “How To Help, Save or Develop Africa (Part 5): Africa’s Own Initiatives — NEPAD”
Sensing an opportunity with the G-8 in disarray, China declared 2006 as the “Year for Africa” and convened an Africa Conference in Beijing in October. To feed the voracious appetite of its economic machine galloping at a dizzying 9 percent clip, China was trolling for resources in Africa. It wooed African leaders with euphonious verbiage and diplomatic platitudes about “equal terms” and lofty promises of foreign aid without conditions.
Miffed at the West’s insistence on conditionalities for its aid, 40 African heads of state trekked to the conference and threw themselves at the feet of China, signing a multiplicity of deals.China came up with a 3-Point Agenda for Africa that stressed peace, development, cooperation, and scholarships for African students, among others:(http://bit.ly/MBVqgQ) Continue reading “How To Help, Save or Develop Africa (Part 4): China’s 5-Point Agenda”
Rock and movie stars also hopped onto the aid bandwagon. Back in 1985, there was “Live Aid” intended to save the famine victims in Ethiopia and a “Special Session on Africa” held by the United Nations to boost aid to Africa. Nothing more was heard of them in subsequent years. A year later in 1986, the United Nations announced a Program of Action for African Recovery and Development (PAAERD).
Five years later came the United Nations New Agenda for African Development (UNNADAF) in 1991. Then in March 1996, the U.N. launched a $25 billion Special Initiative for Africa. They all fizzled.In September 2005, the plight of Africa again took center-stage at a U.N. conference with clockwork precision. The international community mounted a campaign to boost foreign aid to Africa. The U.N. called on rich countries to increase their foreign aid to 0.7 percent of GDP by 2015. Continue reading “How To Help, Save or Develop Africa (Part 3): Live Aid, G-8 and more…”
On June 14, President Barak Obama unveiled a 4-pillar development strategy for Sub-Saharan Africa. They are:
1. Strengthen Democratic Institutions
2. Spur Economic Growth, Trade, and Investment
3. Advance Peace and Security
4. Promote Opportunity and Development
Each of the broad categories has five sub-objectives, except the fourth, which has six, making a total of twenty-one. However, before we assess whether this strategy will work or not, a little history would be useful. But first, a principle which is relevant in these matters. Continue reading “How To Help, Save or Develop Africa (Part 1): The Background”