Please Stop The Aid

An interview in Spiegel with Kenyan economist, James Shikwati;

SPIEGEL: Even in a country like Kenya, people are starving to death each year. Someone has got to help them.

Shikwati: But it has to be the Kenyans themselves who help these people. When there’s a drought in a region of Kenya, our corrupt politicians reflexively cry out for more help. This call then reaches the United Nations World Food Program — which is a massive agency of apparatchiks who are in the absurd situation of, on the one hand, being dedicated to the fight against hunger while, on the other hand, being faced with unemployment were hunger actually eliminated. It’s only natural that they willingly accept the plea for more help. And it’s not uncommon that they demand a little more money than the respective African government originally requested. They then forward that request to their headquarters, and before long, several thousands tons of corn are shipped to Africa …

SPIEGEL: … corn that predominantly comes from highly- subsidized European and American farmers …

Shikwati: … and at some point, this corn ends up in the harbor of Mombasa. A portion of the corn often goes directly into the hands of unsrupulous politicians who then pass it on to their own tribe to boost their next election campaign. Another portion of the shipment ends up on the black market where the corn is dumped at extremely low prices. Local farmers may as well put down their hoes right away; no one can compete with the UN’s World Food Program. And because the farmers go under in the face of this pressure, Kenya would have no reserves to draw on if there actually were a famine next year. It’s a simple but fatal cycle.

[…]

Shikwati: If one were to believe all the horrorifying reports, then all Kenyans should actually be dead by now. But now, tests are being carried out everywhere, and it turns out that the figures were vastly exaggerated. It’s not three million Kenyans that are infected. All of the sudden, it’s only about one million. Malaria is just as much of a problem, but people rarely talk about that.

SPIEGEL: And why’s that?

Shikwati: AIDS is big business, maybe Africa’s biggest business. There’s nothing else that can generate as much aid money as shocking figures on AIDS. AIDS is a political disease here, and we should be very skeptical.

Via Cannuckistan Chronicles

FILED UNDER: Africa, General
Kate McMillan
About Kate McMillan
Kate McMillan is the proprietor of small dead animals, which has won numerous awards including Best Conservative Blog and Best Canadian Blog. She contributed nearly 300 pieces to OTB between November 2004 and June 2007. Follow her on Twitter @katewerk.

Comments

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    At Outside the Beltway, Kate points to an interview with a Kenyan economist making a similar point:

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  5. Peaktalk says:

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  6. Wizbang says:

    Please Stop The Aid

    Excerpt from a Spiegel interview with Kenyan economist James Shikwati: SPIEGEL: Mr. Shikwati, the G8 summit at Gleneagles is about to beef up the development aid for Africa… Shikwati: … for God’s sake, please just stop. SPIEGEL: Stop? The industri…

  7. […] A Kenyan economist says “Please stop the aid!”. Really. Posted by Ian S. in […]

  8. […] EDITED TO ADD: It seems James Joiner beat me to this one at Outside the Beltway. Filed under: General | |Send TrackBack | […]

  9. Please Stop The Aid (Pay attention rock stars, you might learn something)

    Wow. Just read it.

    What does Africa want and need?  The market.  If only more people would understand this very simple point…let the market have first crack at solving a problem.  You'll find that 90% of the time, it worls on it…

  10. […] Outside the Beltway) Posted by Mark | Jul 7th, 2005 @ 6:36 AM | Commentary Permalink | Add a comment Post aComment […]