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Sunday, July 10, 2005

Stop African Aid? And End The Concerts?

Western philanthropy is killing Africa with their kindness says Kenyan economics expert James Shikwati to Spiegel. He asks the West to "please just stop!".

In a fascinating interview, Shikwati advises the following:

1. AIDS estimates are purposely inflated by as much as 3 times because the disease has marketability with Western charities. Meanwhile, malaria is the biggest killer and it is defeatable.

2. Food aid destroys local farming by under-selling the market price. This makes running local farms unprofitable. Then, without local farm production, more foreign subsidized food is needed. The friends, family and tribes of those in power get most of the food anyway. (Econ lesson: Prices are indicators of scarcity that induce more production.)

3. Clothing sent from Europe gets auctioned back to Europe over EBay at triple the price with local tailors and textile workers losing jobs. ("In 1997, 137,000 workers were employed in Nigeria's textile industry. By 2003, the figure had dropped to 57,000. The results are the same in all other areas where overwhelming helpfulness and fragile African markets collide.").

The growth industry in Africa, besides the Swiss accounts of African leaders, is bureaucracies that administer the foreign aid.

Shikwati's suggestion to Europe?

"If they really want to fight poverty, they should completely halt development aid and give Africa the opportunity to ensure its own survival. Currently, Africa is like a child that immediately cries for its babysitter when something goes wrong. Africa should stand on its own two feet."

Mr. Shikwati, you can tell liberals this over and over but they will never listen. Meddling is their credo. And it would just destroy the opportunity to hold a cranking good world-broadcast (repeated endlessly on MTV) concert. And isn't that the point of it all?


At 8:13 AM, Anonymous Skip March said...

I am torn on this one. When people of their own free will get together to help others I tend to think of this as a good thing. We should recognize that these concerts do not in any way solve the problem, bit it can keep the suffering on the front burner of people's consciousness. It should be noted that we had this kind of relief concert for Africa before and the plight and suffering of the people of Africa continues, but some/many? are helped and at least sustained.


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