The Relationship Between Africa And The World: Who Really Aids Who?

The African continent has been known to be at the constant mercy of the international community. We seem to be depending on them for a whole lot of things, most of which are financial assistance and support to aid our development. Now we wonder if we as a continent ever contribute to the well-being of these ‘aiding’ nations or are we just perpetually dependent on them? What do we actually contribute to the world? Of course we have been blessed with tremendous human and natural resources and I strongly believe that there is no way we have not contributed a quota or two of solutions to world issues with these free gifts of nature. In fact the world is immensely sapping Africa’s resources to the maximum level.

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As the western world receives appraisals for coming to the aid of Africans, it has been found that they have also been enjoying greater benefits than they give to the African continent. Sounds as if charity and concern has turned into a way of duping the African nations through the guise of foreign aid. How philanthropic are foreign nations? Are there always strings attached to the help they offer? And how come we are still the poorest continent even with all the endless foreign aid we receive? Today, more than 300 million Africans live in abject poverty. If we are to compare what goes in and comes out of Africa, we will find that Africa is no burden to the international community. They just give in a smart way and await their indirect benefits.

Ever wondered why a country that is faced by austerity measures would still generously donate to the African continent? Africa unfairly loses an enormous amount of $58 billion in just one year. In other words, Africa receives $134 billion in form of loans and foreign investments; and without knowing it, she gives out $192 billion as profits made by the foreign companies, tax evasion and costs of adapting and mitigating climate change. The more they lend to Africa, the poorer she becomes, and the more their pockets are stuffed up. Perhaps hindering the economic growth in Africa is in line with the global power pursuit.

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african loss

Africa loses more than it receives as foreign aid through several illegal and unjust ways. For instance, in the African Progress Report presented by Kofi Aanan in London, it was found that Africa loses a fortune of $1.3 billion and $17 billion to illegal fishing and logging respectively. These grievous losses particularly heighten the poverty rate in Africa. On March 18, 2014, 22 Chinese nationals were arrested for illegal/pirate fishing in the Nigerian territory, without due permit and authorization. As a result of their poaching on our resources, the report across west Africa was that of low and frustrating harvest of the fisheries. Illegal logging is not just criminal but callous in the sense that these nations are illicitly reaping us off of our natural resources. Did you know that the African continent is still obliged to pay a whooping sum of $36.6 billion for global climate change? Even when it is a fact that Africa has not tampered with nature as much as the western world has?

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The Africa progress report in 2013, shows Africa might have been tricked into believing they were being aided. The discovery of shadowy practices that enable these foreign companies dodge or evade tax payments points to the possible fact that they use ‘aiding Africa’ as an excuse to avoid paying their taxes. As a matter of truth, foreign aids have promoted the dependency syndrome; and guarantees no actual sustainability of resources.

aiding africa

The idea of foreign aid in Africa is simply not working or has probably failed. Aside the corruption levels of some of our leaders, and the constant rhetorical amazement of wondering if the aid really gets into the right hands, the western world seem to have strings attached to every single act of assistance given to the African continent. The ‘foreign aid’ mentality has not only duped us but has also affected and stifled from continental to the local levels, the ability of leaders to initiate pro-active orientations that can generate the funds they need. Everybody seems to be depending on somebody, and that only heightens gross irresponsibility and an unwanted lackadaisical attitude in governance.

The time has come for Africans to generate funds within Africa for Africa. If we can spin-off over $7 billion from hair care and hair weave business, we can equally generate funds for a better course. Maybe if we weren’t selfish or ordered our priorities to really give importance to important things, things will be a lot better than we complain about at the moment.

The giving culture in Africa is gradually resurrecting and should serve as an opportunity to help save our nation from 21st century exploitation. We get duped but still have to be grateful for it. There are about 25-30 million African working adults in foreign countries, the remittances from these Africans in diaspora can help us generate funds to solve the problems of the continent. It is not out of place to say there should also be more empowerment and encouragement given to the relevance and services of micro finance banks. This will be for the most good of small-scale businesses. The earlier we source for a way to help ourselves, the sooner Africa will be viewed as an equal partner in the international community. We should be aiming at the restoration of the African dignity.

If the international community truly wants to help the African Continent, they know exactly what to do to help. They can start by helping to tackle the problems- the core causes of poverty, head on and without mincing words ensuring a transparent account in the global financial system; secondly they can also desist from over-exploiting the African resources, worse of all in a criminal way. There has to be a structural change in the foreign aid business; the network of tax havens in the UK and other nations will have to be addressed since it creates avenues that rip Africa off; the concept of foreign aid will also have to be redefined back to its appropriate denotation- to aid does not mean to take advantage of.