Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Rape of Africa

Despite decades of public fundraising and aid, the end to Africa’s poverty is nowhere in sight. This “aid” is actually a smokescreen used to hide from public view the fact the it is the donors themselves who are perpetuating this cycle of dependence. Africa is essentially not poor. A combination of inequitable policies, massive disparities in power and criminal activities perpetrated and sustained by wealthy elites both inside and outside the continent are keeping its people in poverty. The UK and other wealthy governments are at the heart of this theft.

A coalition of UK and African researchers has released findings that illustrate how the continent actually loses over six times the amount it receives in aid. 

As we often watch wealthy countries heap on themselves and each other generous portions of praise for helping ‘needy’ countries and using their donations to accelerate development in impoverished regions so as to end poverty, another scenario is playing itself out. This scenario is rarely reported. Africa, the receiver of $30 billion in annual monetary handouts, is not only making nothing from the aid it receives but it actually loses $192 billion to the rest of the world within the same time frame.

Research published recently indicates that current practices within the continent tend to favour wealthy countries. These practices include tax dodging, the repatriation of multinational companies’ profits with their unjust trade policies, the costs incurred from climate change and the exodus of skilled workers. This means, basically, that if you take into account the money coming in through aid, investment and remittances ($134 billion), Africa is left with a $58 billion annual loss. To put this into perspective, the money that Africa loses each year is over one and half times the amount of additional money needed to deliver affordable health care to everyone in the whole world!

$35.3 billion annually through the tax evasion and other dodgy financial flows enabled by tax havens. These tax havens are jurisdictionally linked to the G8 and the European Union and account for 70% of global tax haven investment. The UK has 11 tax havens under its jurisdiction!

It is time to stop misrepresenting the real nature of the relationship between aid and poverty in Africa.

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