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Submitted by Nwabu on
Dambisa Moyo pointed out one great truth in that more aid has been given to Sub-Saharan Africa than to Western Europe after WWII. So the question is what has africa done with it? I suspect that aid is a failure in Africa because it often combines with typically useless people in equally useless organizational systems that results in resounding failure as it has equally been with the oil-rich states of Cameroon, Nigeria, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon where all that capital has gone to waste. Aid in Africa needs to change and firstly require minimum evidence of capabilities - that Africans are already helping themselves and striving to do more. The institutions that are aid conduits must have minimum efficient and effective standards and have a history of performance. They should NOT be, as they are now, headed by a few well dressed Sorbonne or Harvard-educated PHDs speaking great English and French in beautiful air-conditioned, wood panelled offices overseeing work that takes place in dusty, filthy backrooms or branch offices with paper strewn all over the place by careless, sleepy-eyed, incompetent and unprofessional personnel - as is the case with most African public institutions. After all, a state water board like the one in my home region of anambra, nigeria has not provided steady water to average people since the 60s at the least talk less laid new pipes since the 70s yet year-in and year out they get World Bank and EU assistance for water projects. Yet had the World Bank and EU officials done their homework like investment bankers and visited the offices of the state board and looked at their infrastructure and performance (or more lack of it), they wouldnt be routing billions to a state entity that is clearly a non-performing entity filled by terribly incompetent people. This to me is the first step western aid must demand of all recipient countries particularly in Africa. Prove that you can make something of the money. Speaking broadly about good governance like democractic institutions, etc is all nice but at a rigorous level proof has to show that disbursing institutions have strong accountability, well-trained management systems, clean accounting and evidence (through surveys for example) of striving to cater to local needs. After all, whats important is not teaching a person how to fish but is having a person eager and willing to learn how to fish with lots of desire to eventually go out there and fish.