Is Foreign Aid Good for Africa?

There are a lot of critics, today, in Africa who argue that all foreign aid (whether from individuals or non-profits or governments) is keeping Africa back. Several research group or organisations studies have shown that foreign aid (or international aid) has done little to increase economic growth in Africa and may have actually slowed it down.
Many African media have been debating about the fact that development aid isn’t a long-term solution, which seem cruel considering the good some private or public Charity have done in several African countries.

The “we’re going to change the world” philosophy hasn’t always work well, which has increase the group of pessimistic about the debate that is raging in the Charity world today, about the best and worst ways to deliver donation, or whether to give at all?
The aid failures following the 2004 Asian tsunami and 2010 Haiti earthquake were just another sign that: “wanting to do something to help is not an excuse for not knowing the consequences of what you're doing”.

Do I agree with that or not?

Unfortunately I do agree with the fact that foreign aid has never been a long-term solution and hasn’t work in most African countries. A lot of people in Europe or America don’t have a clear and realistic picture of Africa and let me tell you something that’s quite true about today: Africa has become the greatest dumping ground on the planet. Everything is dumped here and the sad part is that African governments don't say no. In fact, they say, “Please send us more”. They're abdicating responsibility for their own citizens.
People in rich countries looking to help the poor often think that the so called goods in kind donations are the best and years and decades of calm, reasoned discussion do not seem to have worked to make them think otherwise.
In Europe and America people are still collecting shoes, socks, underwear, T-shirts ... and somehow under the delusion that it is helpful. Donation and especially donating clothing is a sensitive topic in Africa because many countries' textile industries collapsed under the weight of second-hand clothing imports that were introduced in the 1970s and '80s.

A lot of donation or Charity are run by people who have never been in Africa or worked on a foreign aid project before and subsequently have no knowledge about the local situation in the country they want to help, the goal of any Charity should be not to hurt the economy in these areas but to be an asset and to be a blessing to these people that otherwise wouldn't have jobs.
Hundreds of charity organizations pop up everyday throughout the world and mainly in Europe. There are thousands of causes some individual or group decided to do something about, started a charity (Africa and Poverty been the most popular choice), and now accept donations in the name of charity. The funny thing here is that separate studies on Charity organisations in Europe and Poverty in Africa have shown precisely that both are increasing dramatically every year, which is quite unbelievable to be honest and sad…

Muhammad Yunus (2006 Nobel Prize) thought on Charity is that “Charity is not the way to help people in need; it is not a healthy basis for a relationship between people. If you want to solve poverty, you have to put people in a position to build their own life. Unfortunately, this is not how the aid industry works. Western governments and development organizations think they need to offer permanent charity. As a result, they keep entire economies in poverty and families in an inhuman situation.”

 I agree with that.

Most people in Europe have a pretty basic approach about poverty in Africa, for them “poor people are helpless, unhealthy, illiterate and thus stupid, they have nothing, they know nothing, we must take care of them, we must give them food…” And, as we know, this is completely wrong. Poor people are just as human as anyone, they have just as much potential as anyone, they are simply locked in a box marked POOR! And it’s written in giant letters so that everyone simply treats them the way poor people are treated, because we think this is the way we should treat them. This means it isn’t easy to get out of the box.”

Instead to believe that raising money to change Africa is the best way to solve poverty, lack of education, health, development, environment… people should become more involve locally by understanding the challenge of poverty and being more interested in ways that actually bring opportunity to those who have been denied it by the current powers and systems.
Patrice de Boeck is director for Business_Network Consulting | A consultancy focused on providing fresh and innovative approach to investment and development in Central Africa, through the provision of services covering Finance, Marketing, Strategy and Sports Sponsorship.