Africa: Aid to Africa - Don't Be a Cheap Date


Africa receives $60bn in official development assistance each year. To this amount should be added another $25bn or so (the figures are opaque) of Chinese aid and US$7bn in other, fresh sources (such as Turkey and Iran). Despite a fad to bash aid as the explanation for Africa's problems, Asian countries received comparatively large amounts of assistance and have used it well. However, this does not mean that the development-through-aid model works for Africa. It might be wise to rethink.

At one point, the World Bank had its largest representative office outside Washington in Hanoi. Vietnam was the poster-child of development through foreign aid, receiving on average more than $5-billion a year for 20 years. Compared with Africa, where aid has a track record that is dismal at best, with donors pushing various agendas that are not always in the interests of the recipients, Vietnam largely succeeded in using aid to its advantage.

Expert at foreign policy since it fought its "people's war" against America, Vietnam was able to play donors against its own needs.

With China upping its flows to Africa, aid to the continent now reaches $100-billion annually. Rather than favouring one side over another, China over America...

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