Here’s another guy who believes that Aid is not the answer. I listened to this TED talk by Andrew Mwenda, an Ugandan journalist who has apparently gotten into some trouble for criticizing the political elite in his home country, and who believes that business, enterprise, and wealth-creation will do more for Africa than Aid. Here’s what he has to say:
I really appreciated what Andrew had to say about corruption, and how with corrupt governments not making it easy for new businesses to be created, many of the brightest and most enterprising young people in many African nations end up seeing the Government as their best opportunity for success, which makes for an ever-growing bureaucracy. But without individuals paying taxes (because of widespread poverty), or businesses paying taxes (because they are so few), governments instead end up relying on foreign aid rather than taxes for survival, which means that they don’t need to encourage policies that are necessary to build up their economies, and as a result, don’t. They end up listening to international creditors rather than their own citizens.
This so resonates with my observations – Aid’s been around for decades, hundreds of billions of dollars have been given, but poverty is still growing across the continent. Then there’s the corruption – how can corruption be so rampant when people can see the horrible effects that corruption is having on their country?
I’m beginning to think that perhaps business is the answer, perhaps creating jobs by building businesses, or investing in local entrepreneurs to encourage enterprise – in an accountable and transparent manner – is how we will end up making a difference. Any thoughts?