Development aid needs poverty

The poison of good gifts has not helped anyone in Africa for decades except the organizations that are active. In the end, organized development aid is nothing more than Greenpeace or Campact. It is a single hunt for the money and a job creation measure for the Modern do-gooders like these can be found among others in the Greens.


Thus, as the long-standing German ambassador to Africa Volker Seitz complains, a huge industry has been set up that lives on current development aid and has become an end in itself.

For the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and development (BMZ), the Central Organisation for international practical development aid on site is the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), a German limited company with 20,726 employees in 120 countries, 70% of which are locals. It has an annual turnover of 2.6 billion euros (2017). It is on 1. The company was formed on 1 January 2011 by the merger of the “Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit” (GTZ), the “Internationalen Weiterbildung und Entwicklung gGmbH” (Inwent) and the “Deutsche Entwicklungsdienst” (DED).

In addition to this, six other non-governmental organisations are recognised by the BMZ as “development service providers”. However, in addition, there are several thousand Development Policy non-governmental organisations in Germany that are subsidised upon reasoned request. According to Volker Seitz, a total of about 8 billion euros per year in the German development aid, and 16 %, i.e. about 1.28 billion to flow to NGOs.

No Overview

However, there is obviously nowhere a detailed overview of all previous projects that have been carried out as development aid in the various countries and, above all, not for what reasons projects have failed. Only then could consequences be drawn for the future. When Volker Seitz was transferred to Niger in the 1980s, he wanted to find out which projects had existed in Niger since the beginning of German development aid. Neither a ministry nor the then GTZ and DED would have had an overview. It had also been refused to commission a former aid worker who knew the country well to carry out such an investigation.

Leiner really wanted to know why the project slaughterhouse in T. or the wells in Z. were “blown away by the wind”. To date, you can’t get an overview anywhere. You can’t read which projects were tackled in a country, and why they ultimately failed. I have learned a lot about the global relief business over the years. I saw how taxpayers ' money was sunk into pointless projects, into conference, Workshop and travelling circuses, how the Rest flowed into the pockets of the local power elite and watered huge bureaucracies that henceforth had only one thing in mind: to secure their Feudal Life with the warm flow of money.


Volker Seitz laments many taboos and bans on thinking, which should finally be lifted, and calls for an analysis of the results of several decades of development aid in Africa. However, this analysis will not exist until we know which projects have been financed. Many mistakes and embarrassments could have been avoided if one knew and knew more about the why and how of development aid. In any case, Dirk Messner, head of the “German Development Institute”, has also recognized how not to move forward: “mild gifts and technical miracles do not turn impoverished people into progress-oriented Packers.”

The main reasons for the Failure of aid are probably just the different world views and values of the African population on the one hand, and the Western development workers on the other. One has to question why donor countries presume to have to impose their supposed model model on foreign cultures. In principle, help for self-help and development cooperation must take place “from below”. In July 2013, the Benedictine abbot primate Notker Wolf also voiced his criticism of development aid. The mistake of Germany is that " we always think we know what is good for others."


This seems to me to be a very crucial point. The completely different state of consciousness of the Africans is not perceived enough. Some of them still live entirely in a mythical-religious soul Constitution, which knows no separation of religious and earthly world. In part, they are in a transitional state to the Western intellectual consciousness, which is directed only at the sensuous-perceptible world. (See here chap. View of life of Dagara)

In any case, the individual is still completely integrated into the collective of the blood-related family and clan, whose moral and social traditions and laws determine him from outside, to which he is subordinate. A comparable individualization has not taken place in General, and its intellectual rationality is not achieved on average. This often manifests itself, for example, in a lack of abstract thinking. Concepts such as" space"," time"," past"," future"," possibility " are not sensually perceptible things, they are abstract, to be grasped only with the mind and therefore not available to most Africans. For this reason, for example, there is hardly any provision in the form of stored spare parts for necessary repairs in the future, so that the systems are loosened and no longer function.


One must build on the state of consciousness in development aid. The abilities of self-help are tied to one’s own possibilities. They must not be presented with something sensible according to Western ideas, but must develop together with them the appropriate ways, even if they bring more modest results.

voluntary service

Volker Seitz also strongly criticizes the development volunteer service, which is organized in Germany by the “ENGAGEMENT GLOBAL gGmbH”, service for development initiatives, Coordination Office “Weltwärts”, on behalf of the Federal Development Ministry.

Thousands of inexperienced young people are sent to developing countries. To whom does this commitment, in which no expertise is explicitly required, really benefit?“He quotes filmmaker Jean-Marie Teno from Cameroon as saying:” Who needs 20-year-old volunteers to help with the well digging? Have they ever dug a well in their homeland? They don’t even know what a well looks like.


Without significant life and professional experience, one cannot provide development aid.

You also need the indispensable sensitivity for people and situations in a completely foreign environment. Trying to do something good for international understanding as a hobby helper is not enough. An EU delegate in Benin once referred to the pale young German girls and boys who want to' help ‘as’ needy people with a will to help'. They like to wear trousers made of' typical African ' fabrics with a Java Batik pattern or have turned their thin hair into Rasta braids to show their solidarity. Many Africans make fun of it.

Apart from that, the young people take on jobs for which there would be enough staff available in the countries concerned. One would only have to guide the people there and pay them appropriately.

Imagine the outcry at a local school or Kindergarten if a Ghanaian school-leaver came here to teach German children in English or to educate kindergarten children. He would probably be asked about his qualification first. [..] It is nice when young people are committed to positive change, but then they also have to ask themselves critical questions: is growing up in Germany automatically a qualification to be able to ‘help’ in Africa? Where can a high school graduate with no training and experience? What could an unskilled local do just as well-and earn something to feed his family?


Of course, it is positive when young people can be lured away from their smartphones, and reasonable when high school graduates or students look around the world, gain experience with inefficient bureaucracies and corruption, and are thus subject to the same or at least similar hardships as Africans in everyday life.

After the return, a few illusions will be put aside, and the realization that public things usually take place in an orderly fashion with us matures. But people in Africa do not benefit from these ego trips into misery.

Young people with the German “Weltwärts"program to finance an adventure holiday (with taxpayers' money in the amount of 29 million annually), may pursue a domestic political goal, but it has nothing to do with development aid. Especially since most developing countries – as I have experienced it-are not asked whether they want this kind of ‘help’ at all.

Volker Seitz complained, some politicians believed, that young people are offered a professional orientation by the program.

Shouldn’t we finally ask ourselves whether development aid can be a profession at all? Development aid must not be understood as a lifelong task, because the purpose of the aid is precisely to make itself superfluous in a few years. But we have been saying this for 50 years. So we’re doing something wrong.


Outgrowths of the development aid industry

Over the course of many years as ambassador to Africa, Volker Seitz has become increasingly painfully aware of how far development aid is from the reality and the problems of the local population. The growing cash flows and the rampant development aid industry would not have reduced poverty, on the contrary. If this does not change, the accusation made by critical Africans such as James Shikwati or Andrew Mwenda would be confirmed that we do not want to change anything because too many ‘helpers’ benefit from it.

A characteristic feature of development aid is its incessantly growing need for more money and staff while at the same time decreasing efficiency. But he had doubts whether development aid had or could have any serious interest in solving the problems. The rather lavishly endowed and laid out international aid bureaucracy would no longer be justified if there were no more poverty.


Martin Elsässer, former ambassador, had already found clear words for this in a letter to the FAZ from 3.12.2007:

A very important group of profiteers of development aid: the army of freelance German ‘Consultants’, who, on behalf of the German bureaucracy, collect government fees for every project with feasibility studies of all kinds. It would also be interesting to learn how many billions of euros are in the' Pipeline ' of German development aid. These are budget appropriations, which are binding promised, but (yet) not retrieved.

Most lines are clogged for many years. In the case of a country like Egypt, in my time as ambassador there, there were hundreds of millions over decades. The reason was that either the projects were pushed back and forth between the local and the German bureaucracy in an unbalanced and immature way, or they were stopped by lengthy ‘feasibility studies’ and ‘updated feasibility studies’ on the German side. Until after many years a project appeared ‘ripe’, feasibility studies were due again, because the budgeting was outdated due to time lapse or technical requirements.

As I hear, this has changed little in the meantime. This absurd and expensive game, in the end, the German side benefited almost as much as the developing country itself, for years a fundamental Change. However, it is successfully prevented by the countless interest groups on both sides.

Volker Seitz quotes the former Africa correspondent of the Neue Züricher Zeitung (NZZ), Kurt Pelda, from the NZZ of August 15, 2009, about the strange advertising methods of the development organizations:

The image of Africa in the West is becoming shaped less by reporters and aid agencies. Only a few media can afford to have permanent staff in Africa correspondents. The freelance journalists stationed south of the Sahara are so poorly paid that they threaten to become dependent on charities. In their reporting, which is still associated with expensive travel in Africa, they often rely on aid agencies: they willingly cover the costs of flights and accommodation, provide translators and vehicles, and help with paperwork with the local authorities.

The nice Gestures do not come without conditions. Journalists are expected to report on aid projects and to let those responsible for the organisations have their say in their contributions. Anyone who does not adhere to these unwritten agreements or even dares to mention the negative gets to feel this quickly. Criticism can therefore often only be afforded by the financially secure and thus independent correspondents of the leading media.

But that too can have its price: The wife of the NZZ correspondent in Nairobi, was threatened by her former employer – a Swiss relief work – even with the consequences, if the Journalist should make a specific project of the organization in a bad light.

This ensures a good Image in the public and among the responsible politicians.


The huge car parks of the development aid industry, continued V. Seitz, and the 200 to 400 NGOs operating in each country are a profitable business for a small minority of the local population. The additional 280 multilateral institutions needed expensive accommodation, office supplies, security technology, drivers and fuel, the vehicles had to be repaired and after a reasonable time would be exchanged for new four-wheel drive Toyotas and sold to meanwhile wealthy employees of the development aid organizations.

Such local employees could significantly increase their salary through business trips and daily allowances for attending training events. Some would be paid by the development aid industry to do their work in the ministries in their interests. They are the real winners of the system and interested in keeping the aid industry alive. For the normal population, however, the benefits are limited.


A friend who worked for the DED wrote Volker Seitz:

As a representative, I – like all my colleagues from other organizations – drove around the country like a commercial traveler and asked responsible people, according to the Motto ‘What can it be?‘And before government negotiations, the experts write down to the African governments what they should ask for. The perverse incentive structure means that employees of GTZ (now GIZ) who are entrusted with the’ acquisition ' of projects receive revenue-dependent income components.

So there is the crazy tendency to pay for being allowed to help.

“An activity in development aid”, says Volker Seitz, " is today considered by many as a lifelong employment. But as long as development aid is understood as a profession of quasi public service (also for sociologists, ethnologists, cultural scientists, who do not find employment in Germany), poor and backward Africa is needed. Poverty and backwardness set no limits to the ideas of the many NGOs – often fed with taxpayers ' money. In every country where I worked, there were about three hundred different people. Aid organizations that trumped each other with ever new development aid projects. NGOs often market disasters outright.”

“Why does nothing change, why does Development Aid continue as usual with changing priorities and relationships? Why are the demands – to spend 0.7 percent of the national product on aid – still being made, even though every year a few hundred billion euros are flowing from the industrialised countries to Africa for oil and Gas? Quite simply, A Giant machine that lives very well from the responsibility ‘for Africa’. We can no longer imagine anything other than a continent of beggars, Africa, dependent on our charity. This is also ensured by the press departments of institutions that make a living from development aid.”

Of course, there are exceptions. In Cameroon, for example, the Initiative GREEN STEP works, which produces wind turbines with local craftsmen and simple materials. The local people did not receive mild gifts, but grabbed and were grateful for the support. But this Initiative has a disadvantage: it costs almost no money.

If Nancy Birdsall and William Savedoff’s new “Cash on Delivery” (COD) concept were to prevail, thousands of career development workers would no longer be needed. Then the sole responsibility, for example, for the construction of a school or hospital lies with the developing country. Then there would be a concrete outcome agreement between donor and recipient. As soon as the receiving state proves results that have been approved by independent auditors, the donor pays the promised sum for the achievement of the results. Norway is already implementing the concept in Tanzania.



Currently, about eight billion euros of taxpayers ' money goes annually into development aid, and this is widely accepted politically. Every federal government is not tired of affirming that it wants to spend much more. But it is still impossible to discuss errors of this help. In this way, one deliberately closes one’s eyes to the fact that reality in Africa is not aligned with the guidelines or concepts of the BMZ or GIZ. But he who is not able to acknowledge reality cannot shape it either. The federal government currently has no concept for a development policy in Africa, no old and no new.

So poverty remains, and so the development industry organizations, well fed by taxpayers ' money, remain. And there remains the exploitation of the population of most African states by corrupt power elites, in whose pockets a large part of the development money as well as the oil, Gas and other resource income disappears.


And millions of poor and criminals continue to leave their hopeless homeland in order to seek a better life in Europe and especially in open Germany. Development aid Minister Gerd Müller of the Seehofer party, who jumped as a Bavarian lion with the reputation “rule of injustice” and landed as Merkel’s bed rug, take over! It is your clientele. Surely you can use them all in your ministry as experts for development aid and send them to Africa. At least they know their way around there.

Or the conceptual - and success-free development assistance, it is precisely the UN-wanted mass migration to Europe, to the resolution of the homogeneous peoples?

A rogue who thinks something Evil.