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Submitted by Anonymous on
Tijah, I do not know which of President Kagame’s views you agree with or which ones you disagree with. I have read his FT article and I have to say you have mischaracterized his argument as a championing ending aid to Africa. The fundamental issue the President raises is that Aid in its present construct will not solve the problem of the poor because it “rarely addresses the underlying issues of poverty and weak societies’. I am sure you agree with that. In the same line of argument, aid can be potentially distractive and makes governments more dependent. Many African countries are well endowed with un harnessed natural resources yet they are equally holding the ‘begging bowl’, don’t you agree that there should be an exit strategy? Aid should come in form of supporting them to build capacity to tap this potential. Yes Africa needs Aid and but needs an exit strategy, through more open trade, investment and building domestic capital markets. In my view his argument is about the old adage ‘don’t hand a man fish but teach him how to fish’. Both donors and African leadership should have a strategy and target date for when Africa should eventually graduate from the ‘fishing school’ and feed on their own catch. You are absolutely right on the role of African leadership but that’s precisely President Kagame’s point as highlighted in the title of his article, and he has clearly demonstrated that with good leadership he has provided to his country, Aid goes a long way, however he also rightly argues that this is not sustainable. You rightly argue that Africa needs a Marshal Plan, I am sure President Kagame would agree with you as well, but to me that’s precisely the point. The marshal plan was targeted, time bound, sufficiently funded and tailored to the needs of the recipient countries, on the other hand aid is unpredictable, fragmented, not customized to the recipient needs despite all the talk about ‘ country ownership’ ‘demand driven’ and is more of ‘drip feed’ which can only maintain Africa on life support for ever. Will it solve Africa’s poverty problem? I doubt.