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AfricaMoney | September 22, 2017

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Africa: Rich nations take much more from continent than they give in aid

Africa: Rich nations take much more from continent than they give in aid

While Africa is receiving less than $30 billion in aid each year on average, it is losing $192 billion annually in other resource flows, mainly to the same countries that provide that aid. (Image: Health Poverty Action)

Rich nations take much more from Africa than they give in aid, according to research released by a coalition of African and UK partners.

While Africa is receiving less than $30 billion (approx Rs 915 billion) in aid each year on average; the continent is losing $192 billion (approx Rs 5,856 billion) annually in other resource flows, mainly to the same countries that provide that aid.

This clearly demonstrates that in comparison with what it loses, the amount that Africa receives back in aid is negligible.

According to the report by the Health Poverty Action organization, Africa is not poor; but a combination of inequitable policies, huge disparities in power and criminal activities perpetrated and sustained by wealthy elites both inside and outside the continent are keeping its people in poverty.

As much as $35.3 billion (approx Rs 1,076.65 billion) a year is lost in illicit financial flows facilitated by the global network of tax havens alone.

Tax havens jurisdictionally linked to the G8 countries or the European Union are responsible for 70% of global tax haven investment.

The UK, with at least ten tax havens under its jurisdiction, and other wealthy governments, lie at the heart of this injustice to Africa.

On the other hand, debates on the role of wealthy governments in ending global poverty tend to focus on how much aid they should give.

UK politicians, for example, line up to defend the aid budget in a time of austerity and increasing public hostility, while the media and NGOs often publically applaud them for doing so, reinforcing the image of the UK’s benevolence.

However, if rich countries continue to perpetuate this dishonest aid narrative, they risk long term damage to development.

Thus, if the rest of the world continues to raid Africa at the same rate, $580 billion (approx Rs 17,690 billion) will be taken from the African people over the next ten years.

It is time for the British government, politicians, the media, and NGOs to stop misrepresenting aid as ‘generosity’ and take action to tackle the real causes of poverty.

In order to achieve so, donor governments need to stop contributing to the debt crisis and give their aid as grants, not loans.

There also needs to be greater transparency by making loan contracts publicly available and requiring parliamentary approval in the recipient country.

International financial institutions need to stop encouraging reckless investment through lending more to countries at risk of defaulting on their loans, thereby removing the risks to private investors.

Finally, there needs to be a fair, transparent and independent arbitration mechanism to resolve debt crises.

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