70 Years of Helping Africa

In my article For Gods Sake - Stop Helping Africa, I pointed out that despite an unprecedented international aid effort in the past 25 years, more Ethiopians are starving now than in 1984. Actually, misguided good intentions go back 70 years:

Reason Hit & Run, 1938: Africans Need Bednets, Vitamin A, Clean Drinking Water. Sound Familiar?

From a paper called "Can the West Save Africa?" [PDF] by William Easterly, comparing findings about Africa's technological troubles from one Lord Hailey in 1938 with a 2005 U.N. Millennium Project report:

Is African poverty caused by lack of the necessary technical knowledge applied to disease, nutrition, clean water, and agriculture? Reading many discussions, like that of the recent food security initiative, or the UN Millennium Project (UNMP) on how to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, would make you think so. Would it change your mind if that technical knowledge already existed and there were attempts to apply it as long ago as 1938? The following table compares the technical recommendations from a prominent and exhaustive survey of African problems headed by Lord Hailey in 1938 to those of the UNMP in 2005.

African Problem to be AddressedAfrican Research Survey, 1938UN Millennium Project, 2005
Malaria"mosquito bed-nets …malaria control by the spraying of native huts with a preparation of pyrethrum""insecticide-treated nets…. insecticides for indoor residual spraying …{with} pyrethroids"
Nutrition"…the African suffers from deficiency of Vitamin A""Malnutrition {is also} caused by inadequate intake of … vitamin A"
Soil fertility"methods of improving soil fertility {such as} green manuring""using green manure to improve soil fertility"
Soil erosion"increasing absorption and reducing runoff on cultivated land {through} the use of terraces""Contour terraces, necessary on sloping lands… when furnished with grasses and trees…{to avoid} soil erosion"
Land tenure"… legal security against attack or disturbance can most effectively be guaranteed by registration""security in private property and tenure rights … registration of property"
Clean drinking watersinking boreholes"Increase the share of boreholes"

Newspaper columnist Kevin Myers who reported on the great famine in Ethiopia during the 1980s now admits that giving aid back then was a mistake and that continuing aid now will only lead to an epic disaster.

Independent, 22 Jul 2008, Writing what I should have written so many years ago

I am not innocent in all this. The people of Ireland remained in ignorance of the reality of Africa because of cowardly journalists like me. When I went to Ethiopia just over 20 years ago, I saw many things I never reported -- such as the menacing effect of gangs of young men with Kalashnikovs everywhere, while women did all the work. In the very middle of starvation and death, men spent their time drinking the local hooch in the boonabate shebeens. Alongside the boonabates were shanty-brothels, to which drinkers would casually repair, to briefly relieve themselves in the scarred orifice of some wretched prostitute (whom God preserve and protect). I saw all this and did not report it, nor the anger of the Irish aid workers at the sexual incontinence and fecklessness of Ethiopian men. Why? Because I wanted to write much-acclaimed, tear-jerkingly purple prose about wide-eyed, fly-infested children -- not cold, unpopular and even "racist" accusations about African male culpability.

Am I able to rebut good and honourable people like John O'Shea, who are now warning us that once again, we must feed the starving Ethiopian children? No, of course I'm not. But I am lost in awe at the dreadful options open to us. This is the greatest moral quandary facing the world. We cannot allow the starving children of Ethiopia to die.

Yet the wide-eyed children of 1984-86, who were saved by western medicines and foodstuffs, helped begin the greatest population explosion in human history, which will bring Ethiopia's population to 170 million by 2050. By that time, Nigeria's population will be 340 million, (up from just 19 million in 1930). The same is true over much of Africa.

Thus we are heading towards a demographic holocaust, with a potential premature loss of life far exceeding that of all the wars of the 20th Century. This terrible truth cannot be ignored.

But back in Ireland, there are sanctimonious ginger-groups, which yearn to prevent discussion, and even to imprison those of us who try, however imperfectly, to expose the truth about Africa.

More: Africa is giving nothing to anyone -- apart from AIDS, Excerpt: "How much morality is there in saving an Ethiopian child from starvation today, for it to survive to a life of brutal circumcision, poverty, hunger, violence and sexual abuse, resulting in another half-dozen such wide-eyed children, with comparably jolly little lives ahead of them? Of course, it might make you feel better, which is a prime reason for so much charity. But that is not good enough.

For self-serving generosity has been one of the curses of Africa. It has sustained political systems which would otherwise have collapsed. "

For those readers who think that I am a cold-hearted racist bastard who hates Africans, please read carefully: the reason I want everyone to stop helping Africa is because they are causing more misery and death. If I hated black people I would be posting articles asking people to be even more generous to Africa, you morons.

The following two charts are proof that helping Africa makes Africa poorer:

Median per capita income in Africa and non-Africa developing countries (Index, 1950=1.0)

Median per capita income in Africa and non-Africa developing countries

For a larger view click on image: The red line is the median per capita income in non-Africa developing countries during the last 50 years. The blue line is the median per capita income in Africa during the same period.

Now look at this:

Aid to Gross National Income in Africa and Other Developing Countries:

Aid to Gross National Income in Africa and Other Developing Countries

For a larger view click on image: The red line is aid to non-Africa developing countries during the last 50 years. The blue line is aid to Africa during the same period.

Both charts are from "Can the West Save Africa?". The more we give aid to Africa the poorer it becomes. When will liberals have the heart to stop making Africa more miserable than it already is?

### End of my article ###

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