Africa without international aid?


We tend to come across a lot of news flash regarding an international aid provider donating some funds to an African nation. Non-profitable organizations have even gone a step further by opening more aid centers in Africa, with the purpose of helping the community in need. For years, international aid has managed to empower quite a number of nations in Africa, for example,  loaning funds, sending out experienced professionals during a medical crisis or providing food banks during a shortage of food supply. In fact, counties like Egypt, South Sudan and  Kenya have earned a rather notable status for
being the biggest beneficiaries from international aid.

However, in recent times, some have urged that exceeded amount of foreign aid might be causing more harm on the long run; suggesting that it leaves a nation in debt, demotivates local professionals and also lacks a clear blueprint which would not be interfered by poverty. The aid provided may appear as an act of generosity to the open audience, whilst they set up the scene through an open invitation for various nation to explore the African continent; with closed plans of performing behind tall curtains guarded by various leaders, and perhaps exploit the continent’s resources. With such arguments being put forward, it raises the curiosity of knowing whether international aid does more harm to Africa compared to the intended good deeds. 

To discuss this matter, it might be worth measuring the effectiveness of foreign aid in Africa, by reflecting on the reported incidents which took part in the past and reliable predictions.

Aid is usually granted with an aim of helping or supporting an action; in this sense, helping out communities who need it the most in Africa. An issue like shortage of food supply which then causes hunger is often tackled by non-profitable organizations, by providing a sufficient amount of food banks, as help for a basic need. However, countries like China, United States and the United Kingdom tend to loan out funds to governments in Africa for development purposes. This however means that under certain terms and conditions, the governments loaning the funds would probably need to prove its capability in returning back the loaning funds. Unfortunately, we have also heard of countries failing to pay back the funds in time and this is mostly because of how some governments would have accumulated debts elsewhere and therefore they may have to cut down the spending on development to at least reduce the accumulated debts. This would not only put the country short in funds, it also means that some services may be cut down as well and having a large number of people made redundant.

Furthermore, countries from Asia, Europe, South and North America tend to provide aid to African countries by sending out human labour as professionals who are meant to find a way to tackle a disease spread; for example, Malaria and Ebola. Although the human labour may be assumed very useful and reliable, it certainly does demotivate the local professionals who may be experienced as well. This is because they may feel neglected and rather less useful and as a result, some may end up switching jobs and therefore running short of practicing doctors, nurses and other professionals. On the long run, this
certainly does become an problem for Africa as a whole. 

So, does this mean that Africa is well off without international aid? It is a matter of picking which point of examination. A rather neutral approach or suggestion would be, perhaps calling out both parties; African countries and International aid providers, to re-evaluate their standards, so as to be able to maintain equal amount of satisfaction from both sides. However, this is certainly a topic open for suggestions and with a number of potential approaches that can be useful. 


This article was written by Prody M. Mpambo. Prody is a student at the University of Salford.