Aid for Africa: Expectations vs Reality

Aid for Africa Picture

For several decades, many developed countries have provided aid for Africa. Africa is the world’s second-largest and second most populous continent consisting of 54 countries with a combined population of about 1.3 billion people.

Agriculture is the continent’s most common sector, which means that a sizeable number of people earn a living through farming, fishing and other agricultural activities. Africa is a land filled with milk and honey, a continent with so many natural resources in abundance yet, home to some of the world’s poorest individuals. But if Africa is rich, why is it so poor?

The Problem

Today, one in three Africans live below the global poverty line, and approximately 377 million Africans will still be living on less than $1.90 a day by 2030.

Most of Africa’s aid comes from Non-profit and philanthropic organizations in the united states. According to a 2014 report, Africa receives about $133.7 billion each year from official aid, grants, loans to the private sector, remittances, etc. This aid is given to offer assistance to the most marginalized and underserved community to tackle issues that threaten society in sectors such as gender inequality, sexual violence, domestic violence and poverty.

It is expected that with that amount of aid being given to Africa, most communities will be risen out of poverty, and most families will be able to afford the basic amenities. But that is not so; as the population of Africa increases, aid for Africa barely scratches the surface; it is seemingly not enough.

Grants and aid worth billions of dollars are channelled to Africa yearly, but a large per cent of it goes towards paying debts, which has been on the rise since the inception of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Africa’s debt has become one of the most critical constraints on the continent’s recovery and development. Giving aid to Africa is one of the most significant humanitarian interventions; many governments and influential individuals commit specific resources, but the call for more aid has never been louder. But is disbursing more aid into Africa the solution?


Is Aid for Africa The Solution?

According to WSJ writer – Dambisa Moyo – Money from rich countries has trapped many African nations in a cycle of corruption, slower economic growth and poverty. Cutting off the flow would be far more beneficial; this might seem illogical, but there is some sense in it. 

The reality is that as much as we refuse to admit it, aid for Africa can never be enough, and this aid increases dependency on foreign bodies and governments. As the aid flows in, the government will be more reliant on it, taxes will be more relaxed, and other revenue-generating sources will fall short. So why not reduce the flow of aid, at least to countries that can be self-sustained, to countries that can replace the money received in aid packages, thereby improving their economy.

Also, instead of providing aid to support governments, should aid for Africa be channelled to the last mile? Would direct support to local charities better utilize the fund and provide the required change and impact in communities?

Africa will forever remain in a debt and foreign dependency position if we do not snap out of it now. The solution is glaring; aid is dead in Africa, and it is sending countries into pits, but if we can reduce aid dependency, Africa can be great again.

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