Foreign Aid Requires ‘Paradigm Shift’

Zimbabwe Independent: The curse of foreign aid
Vince Musewe, economist and political analyst

“Foreign aid, by design or accident, has unfortunately become the most powerful tool which certain western governments continue to use to keep Africa a begging continent. … A paradigm shift needs to be drawn for the scope of foreign aid in developing countries to yield fruitful results and the two key issues which need attention include: Eradicating the aid dependency syndrome … Better economic development policies … [A]id does not help the poor; it actually empowers and entrenches their rulers and an elite who soon pursue [their] own political interests and not national interest[s]. It can therefore increase oppression, stifle the growth of a strong middle class, and further marginalize the poor who are the intended ultimate beneficiaries. Secondly, aid is not a critical requisite for sustainable development because it can distort local markets. It tends to create a false sense of security for governments, lead[s] to abuse of tax revenues, and increase[s] corruption, which result[s] in serious policy inefficiencies which stifle economic growth. It tends to have a short term impact and may offer temporary relief but does not foster the creation of sustainable incomes in the long term, especially for the marginalized poor. Foreign aid has therefore not achieved its intended objectives and this requires a totally new and informed approach if Africa is to rise through its own initiative and steam” (11/3).