For a while now I have been concerned about the impact of aid and Eurocentric policy recommendations to Africa but could not express it exactly the way I felt without sounding anti-western. At last someone has expressed my feelings in as succinct a manner as I have ever seen. In this posting I summarise these thoughts from Ugandan Entrepreneur Andrew Rugasira from his book A Good African Story:
1. Aid whether from the West or East is not really aid as it is poorly structured, generally insincere and conditional. Most aid is meant either to further the political or economic interest of the donor countries. Some aid is even linked to ungodly agendas e.g. the promotion of Gay and Lesbian rights.
2. Aid from donor countries rarely benefit the entrepreneurs as it is chanelled to governmnents or causes which do not build private business even if it is recognised that local businesses are the engine of economic growth. Worse still is the fact that some governments e.g Zimbabwe rarely support local entrepreneurs with government contracts but rather Chinese and other foreign companies. If funded government was to give public contracts to locals this would improve employments stats, tax collection while empowering local businesses. In RSA and Botswana any meaningful business start up knows that it can do well if it can be a provider of service to government initiatives.
3. Foreign aid is often given to African countries in order to stifle local industry. It is accompanied by policy recommendations that are contrary to the policies that the donor countries espouse for their own industry. For example while Africa is being threatened with loss of aid if it supports and/or subsidises local entrepreneurs and industries the donor countries are busy placing trade tarriffs and quotas to protect their own industries. Then they advise African countries to subject their small time manufacturers to aggressive market forces which kill them in their infancy.
No wonder local economies often suffer because their entrepreneurs are significantly disadvantaged due to donor recommendations and failure of get support from governments.