Tuesday, July 12, 2005
"Economist James Shikwati: 'Despite the billions that have poured in to Africa, the continent remains poor.'" - Spiegel, Germany
Kenyan economist James Shikwati says in an interview that foreign aid from Western countries has been disastrously counter-productive and harmful for sub-Saharan African countries. Meanwhile, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Anthony Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie says that certain aid will only help corrupt elements in his country.
1) Shikwati argues that a free-market Africa would be a better answer to resolving problems of poverty, disease and corruption. Here are some excerpts from the German magazine Spiegel (in which the interviewer asks obnoxious questions and makes patronizing statements)
SPIEGEL: If the World Food Program didn't do anything, the people would starve.
Shikwati: I don't think so. In such a case, the Kenyans, for a change, would be forced to initiate trade relations with Uganda or Tanzania, and buy their food there. This type of trade is vital for Africa. It would force us to improve our own infrastructure, while making national borders -- drawn by the Europeans by the way -- more permeable. It would also force us to establish laws favoring market economy.
SPIEGEL: Would Africa actually be able to solve these problems on its own?
Shikwati: Of course. Hunger should not be a problem in most of the countries south of the Sahara. In addition, there are vast natural resources: oil, gold, diamonds. Africa is always only portrayed as a continent of suffering, but most figures are vastly exaggerated. In the industrial nations, there's a sense that Africa would go under without development aid. But believe me, Africa existed before you Europeans came along. And we didn't do all that poorly either.
Spiegel: SPIEGEL INTERVIEW WITH AFRICAN ECONOMICS EXPERT - "For God's Sake, Please Stop the Aid!"
2) Cardinal Okogie says strings must be attached to aid packages and that "bribery and corruption have eaten deep into the nation's fabric"
All-Africa.com: Debt Relief Unnecessary: Cardinal Okogie
Hat tip: National Review's John Derbyshire from "The Corner"