Thank you to everyone that made it to the event on International aid and development Africa on the 26 September in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The open discussion aimed at a structured but informal exchange of knowledge, ideas, and perceptions among the participants on the topic.
Africa has for many years been heavily dependent on foreign aid; this effect has resulted in worsening situations in countries in terms of its ability to grow. Dependency theorists argue that Africa’s development has been lagged due to dependency on West. Adopted economic policies have yielded results far worse than promised and as a result the continent continues to be in poverty regardless of the amount of aid is has received. This brings us to reflect on the issues, both internal and external that continues to dampen Africa’s growth ability. The event was insightful and some of the points highlighted by participants include:
• Unequal status and power relations between countries in terms of economic and political strengths is what has resulted in foreign aid or foreign direct investments causing more poverty in African states. African countries do not have bargaining power when it comes to foreign aid.
• There is a need to deal with corruption to address development fall backs as aid and resources is not directed to the right channels. In this regard, foreign aid has not benefited the poor but has instead benefited the upper class 1%, the bourgeoisie.
• Aid dependence continues to put Africa in debt and this fact alone plays a role in poverty alleviation considering African countries remain in a merry go round for years repaying debts, instead of investing in and growing the economy.
• Foreign aid will likely be beneficial in Africa if it is provided on a 50/50 basis, debated by a committee of African people and on steady economic basis between the two countries. It was also suggested that Africa countries move away from the dependency syndrome and works towards supporting each other.
• It is also imperative that aid received in Africa is for the right purpose, in saying so African states need to be strategic on what sector requires aid and boost that sector, e.g the technology and health sectors in Africa, as this would result in more growth in countries as capacity levels would have risen.
• The idea that African intellectuals are also needed in the leadership roles was raised and a change of mind set from profit maximization by youth should shift towards inclusive and sustainable growth. This also includes food mechanization in schools.
We will be having more of such events in the months to come, please look out for dates and you can also let us know what topic you would like to discuss.