Africa needs more than fiscal inputs…

Richard Haass, now back in the US from his stint in Northern Ireland has a couple of caveats (subs needed) to make on the general pitching of Africa as a key issue for the Group of Eight meeting in Scotland next week:

The last thing anyone needs is for the G8 to degenerate into an argument about levels of aid. Left out of simplistic calculations are investment flows, debt forgiveness, help from charities and market access. More to the point, aid is just an input and can be of little import, or even counter-productive, if it simply perpetuates dysfunctional ­policies and is not accompanied by ­governance reforms. Second, no discussion of Africa can be complete if it ignores the genocide taking place in Darfur in western Sudan. At a minimum, the G8 ought to increase and accelerate what it provides – intelligence, logistics, training, arms – to the force of the African Union.

We could be in for a remarkably high level of consensus on debt forgiveness and aid. But will the same be true for his second suggestion that the west take action on genocide? Or indeed the idea that difficult structural reforms will be key to ending endemic poverty on the continent?

  • 6countyprod

    Darfur is a damning indictment on the ineffectiveness of the UN. Last year Colin Powell tried to get the UN to declare the action of the Sudanese government as genocide. No one was interested, and some (including France, surprise, surprise) actually opposed US efforts to deal with the problem.

    However, progress in Africa is possible. Examples of democracy and good governance can be seen in Ghana, Senegal and Mozambique, and should inspire us to see that things can work there.

    The ‘strings attached’ approach by the developed world is the only way to see the money given being used effectively. Otherwise it is throwing good money after bad, and will only result in the reinforcing of tribal dictators like Mugabe and Gbagbo of Ivory Coast.

    Bob Geldof and Bono seem to be impressed with the contribution of George Bush with the needs in Africa. Let’s hope the Europeans and Asians are as generous with their money.

  • aquifer
  • 6countyprod
  • Marty

    Personally, I’d prefer to see the EU scrap the CAP, and reform trading terms with Africa, than pass a coffer around HQ in Brussels! Was at St.Paul’s in London, listening to Kofi Annan, Gordon Brown and 2 NGO reps speak about what required of our govs, and they all stress that sustainable devlopment will only come about through better trading terms, democratisation, targeted and ‘no-strings’ attached aid. The fact that democratisation, as it is understood by Bush, is closely tied with the modern “war on terror” means that it is unlikely to prevail in countries, which aren’t considered to be strategic in Bush’s “war”. In the minds of many Western civil servants in various finance departments, the other 2 recommendations are unlikely to receive much attention beyond mere tokenism.