The Blair Commission set up to find British solutions to African poverty has recommended that the Continent get more billions in aid. There is no doubt that Africa needs all the money it can get, aid cynics’ criticisms notwithstanding. But that money, if it ever comes, should come with new ideas.
Perhaps for a change the money slated for development programs should be channeled as credit to the nascent African middle class. I have previously criticized pro-poor development initiatives for their habit of merely keeping the poor afloat (Think of your average mother of six selling vegetables in a generic African slum). What Africa and its development partners need to do is channel the little development money it has in releasing the talent and aspirations of the middle class to create more jobs. This is not to slight Africa’s poor for lack to talent. It is a mere acknowledgment of the fact that it is the middle class that oftentimes has the education and connections to grow their small start-ups into businesses that create even more jobs.
And in other news, Kenya has struck commercially viable gold. The hunt for oil and gas in the north and north east of the country is still on. One hopes that all the exploration craze will be accompanied by an even greater craze when it comes to investing in Kenya’s human capital.
And yeah, I appreciate the irony in writing about foreign aid and Africa’s vast mineral wealth at the same time.
Aid to developing nations is a profitable business model for international bankers. The so called players advocating for and against are just lubricants. It’s important for demand to exist for the seller to make a decent profit
It is time that we realised that aid to Africa,is of no help no matter how it is administered(whether to the middle class or to the poor).If Africa is to succeed and indeed the rest of the third world,the playing field has to be levelled. First,We cant have the West control decision making at International Fora eg. the UN on account of them making the most financial contributions to these bodies.It is an insult to democracy.Second,agricultural subsidies just have to stop-40%of EU’s budget is swallowed by agricultural subsidies which only employs about2-4% of the EU population!In any case as kris1987 above correctly notes AID is business(state donors access loans at less than 1% from international capital markets and loan the same to Africa at over 10-25% interest and dare call them soft loans.Indeed a new way of doing things in the world has to be found,based on democratic principles and respect for humanity.Unchecked capitalism-based purely on profiteering ie. without a human face is the curse of the world.