Politics, Foreign Policy, Current Events and Occasional Outbursts Lacking Couth

That being Loretta Napoleoni's "Rogue Economics," after reading this article which highlights the aforementioned authors contention that funds raised by super stars with the best intentions actually serve to prolong and empower tyranny in Africa:

Her latest book, Rogue Economics, studies the destabilising effect of economic globalisation, focusing in part on why more than half a trillion dollars worth of aid sent to Africa since the 1960s failed to reach the intended destination - developing the nations' economies.

That huge amount of aid, which includes money from the United Nations and donations generated by Live Aid for Ethiopia, organised by Geldof, and the Live 8 concert in 2005, organised by Bono, has instead "served as a rogue force, notably as an important form of terrorist financing" in countries such as Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Kenya. Ethiopia, for example, received $1.8 billion in foreign aid between 1982-85, including a large contribution from Live Aid; $1.6 billion of that, she points out, was spent on buying military equipment.

"The money has ended up making Africa poorer and more violent because the money has been diverted towards warlords, weapons and armed invasions," she says. "The problem of Africa is corruption."
When the best intentions and the most passionate and effective fund raising fuel tyranny isn't it high time for a laissez faire approach to Africa? The natural resistance to this is a "well, if it helps one child, then..." but does it really help any child or anyone beyond the selective short term and the selfish satisfaction of being able to say "I gave?"

Africa needs a solid decade to sort itself out, sans western charity. Cold, no doubt, but when the hard earned coinage of Western citizens is undermining the very intention behind such charity, it's time to reconsider and have another look. Prolonging disparity and misery under the umbrella of empathy, in this case, is worse than apathy.

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Adrian said...

Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. It's true that aid can hurt in many cases - like when food aid in Mali was sold by corrupt officials and used to build "Castles of Drought", mansions for the officials. But some aid is very good - education, infrastructure, tax incentives, microloans, etc.

Anonymous said...

I was reading through this book last night -- I was startled to see one of her proposed solutions was Sharia Islam finance! No interest, no speculation.

I have an Ahmadyya moslem friend who's been telling me for 3 years now that Sharia was a simple cure for capitalisms myraid afflictions -- and it leads to vastly more stable currency, too.

This is her article in support of Islamic Finance

Jay@Soob said...

Adrian, state delivered aid (such as the Indonesia relief and the on and off Myanmar relief) with military and official custodians is one thing. Simply flinging money at activist groups and hoping that cash helps the children doesn't seem to be helping the cause in the long run.

Jay@Soob said...


Intriguing concept. As a temporary measure for failing or recovering states, it might be worthy. Bear in mind I'm no economist, however as a long term economic strategy I see this:
It does not allow investment in pornography, prostitution, narcotics, tobacco, or gambling. [One presumes alcohol as well.]

As holding a hefty potential for black marketeering.