Considering it is clear that mass migration of perspective African youth can only be prevented if they find education, meaningful work and decent income in their homeland. Therefore, many call for an increase in development aid. However, as a rule, development funds have not improved the lot of the poor masses, but have deteriorated.
The money is always largely infiltrated in the private pockets of corrupt elites who have no interest in improving the living conditions of the poor population. Development aid stabilises power relations and intensifies the causes of migration.
In an impressive book entitled “Africa is under arms rule or how to really help Africa.“Volker Seitz, who has worked as a German ambassador in African countries for a total of 17 years, has referred to this plight of official development aid without hesitation. In the introduction he writes:
My experiences have led to my assessment of the development opportunities in Africa and the often ill-fated role of development aid. Development aid is abundant and is not called into question as a good deed for the poor. On the contrary, in a survey, 71% said [..they advocated a doubling of development aid. If you are on site, you can see things a little different after a short time
The money is paid to mostly corrupt governments, whose Will is largely left to what they do with it. Most of the money disappears in private pockets. And projects set in motion have, in many cases, somehow transmitted over time. There’s nothing to do with the arms.
The central problems in education, health care and the promotion of entrepreneurial initiatives from the own population are not addressed.
The development aid as we know it today, invites abuse. I have encountered corruption as a private benefit at the expense of the common good in all developing countries."[..] “The Samaritan behaviour of the North weakens or destroys the incentives of the recipients to make their own efforts. With our long-term pity, we are only intensifying a social aid mentality, which is already chronic in some African states.
Less Development Aid
And Volker Seitz comes to the radical demand:
The overriding objective must no longer be more development aid, which paralyses the forces of self-help, but as little money as possible, only as much as is urgently necessary. Development, I have no doubt, can only take place through the active and convinced participation and initiative of each individual.
He sees his assessment shared by many Africans. He is quoted by the Ugandan journalist Andrew Mwenda, who has often been in prison because of his criticism of the government:
Of course, helpers may achieve humanitarian success by saving a hungry village and providing clean drinking water elsewhere, but at the same time they will destroy the most important mechanism that could eradicate poverty in the long term. The aid undermines the development of a competent, uncontested state apparatus serving the interests of the population.
James Shikwati, the founder of a Business development company (Inter Region Economic Network, IREN) in Kenya, writes in SPIEGEL and FAZ, exerts massive criticism of classic development aid policy:
In the industrialised countries, the impression is always given that Africa would perish without development aid. [..] Unfortunately, the devastating European urge to do good cannot be met with reason. [..] If development aid were discontinued, the political elites would be the first victim, because their power structures are polluted. The question of an independent African solution would then be on the table. [..] A cessation of aid will show that most international agencies have used the African misery to raise donations to give themselves a humanitarian touch.
Volker Seitz draws a first conclusion of the previous development aid right at the beginning. Apart from a few exceptions, development funds would not have provided lasting growth and raised the standard of living, nor would the lot of the poor improve, rather deteriorate. The distance between super rich and poor continues to grow. The authoritarian state apparatus does not care, that there is a lack of drinking water, power failures on the agenda and the hygienic conditions are responsible for the high child mortality. They took care of themselves. Even if development funds had to be spent for specific purposes, they would find their way into the wrong coffers by means of a detour.
If foreigners build hospitals, schools and roads, the government does not have to do it and can spend the money instead on luxury goods. The African elites are drinking champion of the world, in the Champagne, their motorcades were marked by an amazing Mercedes-Benz-density. People would like to call this type of leader “of the tribe Wa Benzi”.
Most of those responsible have luxury villas in many countries. There are heads of State who spend a week in New York for themselves and their Entourage the annual salary of a European head of government. In fact, if the media put forward any such accusations, they think that they will be able to defuse them with the deadlock ‘this is racism’.
In an honest survey, one finds, Volker Seitz writes, that the bulk of the aid has evaporated under the sun of Africa. Lack of good governance, i.e. lack of transparency, accountability, efficiency, democratic participation in decisions and, above all, lack of the rule of law,
[..“even after almost 60 years of independence, most African countries have not addressed the fight against poverty and corruption and the overcoming of its standstill. There is still incredible poverty and hardship. At the same time, the wealth of the upper class often takes on fairy-tale dimensions. As a viewer, we are faced with an expensive pile of shards, but no one has to justify how little the high expenses ultimately bring.
Migration does not care the elites
Seitz diagnosed, the African elites did not care when their citizens emigrate to tens of thousands uncontrolled and chaotic and turn to other countries in which they hope to find a better life than in the home. If it were responsible governments, they would have to call on their fellow countrymen to stay in the country and offer them an opportunity to improve conditions. But don’t do anything like that. On the contrary, some African governments demanded a right to Migration. - If I remember correctly, no African state has voted against the UN migration pact, which postulates a right to Migration and open, unhindered migration paths everywhere. –
For the African authoritarian Regimes emigration is obviously not an alarm sign,but a valve.
They will get rid of the dissatisfied young citizens, who are already living in large numbers in the African centres and have no Chance of finding a job there. Exports of unemployment reduce the urgency of our own development efforts.
The refugee tragedy from Lampedusa to remember African dictators is the Plight of their own people indifferent. No word on the official website of the African Union. But that is understandable, because ‘otherwise Africa would have to ask painful questions about its societies and leaders’.
The migrants knew how dangerous the Crossing is. In many families, Clans there is someone who has tried to find with the boat his happiness in Europe, which is usually only possible for him by the fact that family members, the Clan, the village, merge to finance the crossing.
People therefore know what they are getting into. Who does not succeed, has the blemish that he is one of those who did not make it. Because they should work there and send money. The African continent is the only World region in which the absolute number of poor continues to rise. If we look at population trends, if we take economic and political facts into account, then everyone should realize that people will continue to come.
In addition, many of the education-hungry, and training to prepare young people looking for their life chances, no opportunities in their home countries and therefore, left after the training period abroad often do not return.
African governments have no interest in them. Apparently, learning capacity, dynamism and Innovation are not always desired, especially if corrupt elites want to protect their possessions from the new and the competition in their own country. African students have great problems living in their home countries and try to find a job in Europe or the US.
Africa also lost thousands of university teachers, doctors, engineers and intellectuals year after year, because they were prevented from working in their own countries and because Europe and the USA offered them better working conditions and lucrative jobs.
In less than two decades, Africa has lost one third of its scientists. About 20,000 doctors and nurses leave sub-Saharan Africa each year. [..] The shortage of qualified scientists, such as in African universities or in companies, is becoming more and more serious. [..] It must not be allowed that more doctors and nurses from Ghana work in the British islands than in Ghana itself.
The loss of scientists, engineers, Doctors (every fourth African doctor working abroad) has devastating consequences for the economy, as well as the education and health system, of which the Overcoming of Hardship and misery run out of must.
The emigrants send a lot of money home. A company specialised in this kind of transfer, such as Western Union, has been booming for several years. But this is the opposite of development aid. It is absolutely necessary for the well-educated to live in the home to develop on their own merits. [..] It would be useful to limit the migration of skilled workers from developing countries and instead to ensure that they can work in their home countries.
The central Problem: the local corrupt power elites
German development aid for Africa is organised from state to state and always assumes, according to Volker Seitz, that we cannot interfere in the sovereignty of the poor countries and that their elites themselves are interested in improving the lives of their citizens.
But this does not work and has nothing to do with reality. The aid flows into government structures that are not geared to growth and the future, but solely to the preservation of power and self-enrichment of the potentates.
Development aid does not develop, but rather the political relations of power over the poor people are cemented with its help. The elites, in the end, have no interest in overcoming the poverty of the population, as the flow of development funds would then disappear into their pockets.
In countries where I have worked, donors (states) have often paid a ‘motivation premium’ to ensure that the responsible officials did their job. In all the countries I know, there is a finely balanced System of mutual benefit.
“The poison of good gifts” caused the opposite of development, because the governments felt no obligation to comply with the agreements.
We still hope for the good in man, even with regimes that have been in power for two or three decades. Political power, which is not controlled, always degenerates: neither economic nor social development can be imported. Anyone who still represents this, after more than five decades of development aid, is at best naive.
A former French ambassador to Togo, Volker Seitz, reported that at the time when the donor countries ceased their aid to Togo, corruption in the country had declined significantly. For there was nothing worth mentioning to distribute, and the Regime suddenly had to make sure that the few funds were not embezzled on a large scale.
Like no other country, Tanzania shows the failure of development aid. The country has all the resources you need to be happy, and nothing of what usually holds as an excuse, why it didn’t work out. (There was) no war of independence, not a despotic ruler, no military dictatorship, no coup, no tribalism (tribal conflicts), no religious conflicts, access to the sea, no drought or flood disasters, no excessive crime alone, no harmful Oil or copper wealth, but a sufficient number of different raw materials.
Despite this good starting point and the fact that Tanzania has been the donor’s favourite since independence, it remains one of the ten poorest countries in the world.
The African states have been governed since independence by oligarchies, which divide the country’s wealth undisturbed among themselves.
The Chiefs are primarily concerned with the details of the protocol. The rituals of presidents remind us of feudal estates. The courtiers (recruited from their own Sippes and Clans) do not think of the future of the country, but instead use all the energies to flatter the boss, get titles and take over cabinet posts that do little work, but offer many opportunities to get state money. [..] The autocrat does not rule, but prevails in the pre-democratic chief style.
In the Congo and Cameroon, the government has 65 ministers each, in Uganda 70, in Ghana 75 and 94 ministers enjoy in Kenya the favor of the president.
The president of Kenya expects development aid and at the same time approves an annual salary of 427,900 US dollars. In Nigeria, a Senator gets a million dollars a year. (For comparison: the US President earns $ 400,000.) Libreville, the capital of Gabon, is a mayor who receives about 30,500 euros a month (for comparison: his colleague in Berlin earns 12,500 euros), while many of the 700,000 inhabitants have to live without running water, sewage disposal and regular electricity supply.
Official development assistance focuses on the” Ownership " principle and is favoured at the expense of project-oriented assistance.
But if you want to make people in Africa laugh, you only have to talk about African Ownership. Yes, yes, there is Ownership, but it is primarily ‘private’ and less ‘African’. We should no longer overlook the laughter of the poor in Africa. Everyone knows that the chief staff has dozens of finest properties in Europe, Canada, the USA, Hong Kong and even Brazil. In the most expensive District of Paris, Avenue Foch is popularly called ‘Avenue des dictateurs’.
Luxury properties in London are also particularly popular among rich Africans from Nigeria, Ghana, Gabon, Cameroon, Senegal and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the traditional districts of Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea. According to real estate agent Engel & Völkers, a Penthouse apartment at Hyde Park was transferred to an unnamed African for about 162 million euros in autumn 2014.
Dignitaries in Nigeria are said to have embezzled the unimaginable sum of nearly $ 500 billion since independence (1960). In two cases, corruption investigators call back $ 139 and $ 584 billion, respectively, from former presidents who are not named by name.
Nevertheless, American economists, Western politicians and the UN believe that Africa needs more money. Volker Seitz remains there only the irony:
The International Conference' solidarity and globalisation: innovative sources of financing for development and against pandemics ' in Paris in the spring of 2006 was a good opportunity for the then French President Jacques Chirac, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and then president of the African Union, Denis Sasso-Nguesso, to call for new funds for the poor in Africa.
Nguesso had, as it became known, spent 280,000 dollars in a Hotel in New York for a week. A light for a president (the people’s Republic of the Congo) who, as French media reported in February 2009, needed 18 Estates and 112 bank accounts in France. The UN requested $ 50 billion for the fight against poverty and calls for ‘innovative financial instruments’. A source of money should be the introduction of a separate flight control. Since the mark-up is to be applied to the benefit of the poorest, there will certainly be great support among the population.