A recent report by international researchers claims Western aid is being used as a cover to plunder Africa’s resources.
The report, “Honest Accounts? The true story of Africa’s billion dollar losses”, released in Britain a fortnight ago, was undertaken by Health Poverty Action, Jubilee Debt Campaign, World Development Movement, African Forum and Network on Debt and Development (AFRODAD), Friends of the Earth Africa, Tax Justice Network, People’s Health Movement Kenya, Zimbabwe and UK; War on Want, Community Working Group on Health Zimbabwe, among others, with support from the European Union.
It says Africa records a net annual loss of US$58,2 billion through activities by foreigners which include profits made by multinational companies, illicit financial outflows and brain drain while the continent has to pay heavily to adapt to climate change caused by industrialised countries.
The report fingers Britain, which boasts giving African countries aid mainly for political reasons, as being part of this “deception”.
It notes that the so-called aid has strings attached including the awarding of contracts to rich donor countries.
Britain, through its aid agency Department for International Development, claims to have invested millions of dollars in Africa.
“If politicians really want to outdo each other in demonstrating their desire to tackle global poverty then they need to accept their role in perpetuating it and commit to reforming those international systems that cost Africa resources. And the UK’s international NGO sector must pressure them to do so,” reads the report.
“The reality is that Africa is being drained of resources by the rest of the world. It is losing far more each year than it is receiving. While US$134 billion flows into the continent each year, predominantly in the form of loans, foreign investment and aid; US$192 billion is taken out, mainly in profits made by foreign companies, tax dodging and the costs of adapting to climate change.
“The result is that Africa suffers a net loss of US$58 billion a year. As such, the idea that we are aiding Africa is flawed; it is Africa that is aiding the rest of the world.”
The report adds: “An aid smokescreen has descended. It has facilitated a perverse reality in which the UK and other wealthy governments celebrate their generosity whilst simultaneously assisting their companies to drain Africa’s resources; companies promote their ‘corporate responsibility’ whilst routing profits through tax havens; wealthy philanthropists donate money whilst their companies dodge tax.”
Previous researches, including Dr Dambisa Moyo’s “Dead Aid”, have doubted the efficacy of aid to Africa.
By Tichaona Zindoga Senior Political Writer