U.K. Aid System Exploits Sub-Saharan Africa, Disregards Impact On Poor

Noting a recent U.N. study (.pdf) showed that, despite progress on tackling child mortality globally, sub-Saharan Africa “is trailing far behind,” David Dominic, a consultant for non-governmental organizations, writes in this Huffington Post U.K. opinion piece, “[T]he more we look, the more it seems that the U.K. aid system, with regards to sub-Saharan Africa, is carefully designed to control and exploit the region, with scant regard for the impacts upon the poor. That is, aid seems to be used as a tool of modern imperialism.” He continues, “This is significant to us in the U.K. because sub-Saharan Africa is the region which has received most aid from the U.K. over the last few decades and is also where the U.K. has had the most influence.”

“To start with, U.K. bilateral aid is still conditional upon African countries following discredited pro-foreign investor, anti-poor, anti-growth programs designed by the World Bank and IMF,” Dominic writes. “The U.K. government is also using aid to promote increased corporate control of African food production with a range of harmful impacts upon the poor,” he adds, citing DfID’s Food Retail Industry Challenge Fund (FRICH). He notes, “DfID also funds the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund, which makes grants of between $250,000 and $1.5 million for investments in Africa, primarily to large scale agribusiness companies” and writes, “Aid is also helping the U.K. to co-opt poverty groups in Africa.” Dominic concludes, “It is a definite possibility that ending these imperialist aspects of U.K. aid would help sub-Saharan Africa improve its record on child mortality” (10/22).

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