Cut off Foreign Aid to Certain Poor Countries
Since most African countries gained political independence more than half a century ago, nearly all African nations are still dependent on foreign aid. However, half a century of aid has not created economic growth or prevented conflicts.
Of the top twenty poorest countries in the world, seventeen (17) are aid dependent ‘independent’ African nations. With certainty, foreign aid not only failed to bring economic growth, it also provides cover that exacerbates corruption and creates a safe space for corrupt African politicians to arbitrarily increase their salaries and benefits leaving no resources for health, education and infrastructure. Foreign aid has lost its way!
Torli H. Krua, [email protected], Contributing Writer
Therefore, aid must be terminated in poor countries whose politicians have excessive salaries and benefits relative to the medium salaries of their constituents.
In 2014, foreign aid soared to new heights of US$135 billion dollars globally, with Africa getting the lion’s share of US36 billion. Although well intended, foreign aid has largely achieved unintended consequence; increased dependence on foreign aid, erodes government accountability, widening the gap between the political elites and ordinary citizens and directly motivates ritualistic killings.
How is foreign aid fuelling violence, corruption and poverty in Africa? Let us consider the Republic of Liberia, Africa’s oldest republic as a case in point.
Since declaring independence in 1847, Liberia has relied on foreign aid from partners including the United States of America and European countries.
In justifying spending on foreign aid, the United States of America sets its international relations objectives as follows: “…to shape and sustain a peaceful, prosperous, just, and democratic world and foster conditions for stability and progress for the benefit of the American people and people everywhere.”
Year after year aid flows to Liberia no matter who is in power and no matter how much of the country’s resources are plundered by politicians.
Spending American taxpayers money for projects in poverty stricken Liberia makes no sense when the beggars’ salaries and benefits are far higher than the donors’ salaries.
These excessive salaries & benefits build mansions for politicians at home and abroad, sustain and fuel war instead of peace, deprive citizens of equal opportunities and create an undemocratic country where the president appoints all mayors of all cities, all governors, all ministers of government, all heads of public corporations, all board members of public corporations. With such a scale of dictatorship, violence and depravation, American aid still flows unabated!
Foreign aid has not been complementary. While American taxpayers bankroll Liberia, the Speaker of the House of Representatives in the war ravaged and poverty stricken ‘republic’ arbitrarily sets up his annual office budget at US$1.5 million dollars.
With an annual national budget of only US$600 million dollars, some lawmakers in Liberia earn over one hundred thousand dollars annually.
Compare the salaries and benefits of Liberian lawmakers to lawmakers in Massachusetts, a state with a budget of US$40 billion dollars and a higher cost of living.
Massachusetts members of the House of Representatives make US$65,000 a year.
Even by American standards, Liberian lawmakers and politicians are getting away with murder! According to a report from the American Social Security Administration, nearly 40% of American workers earn less than US$20,000 yearly.
Because public service is the primary avenue to wealth, politicians literally kill innocent citizens in ritualistic murders in hopes of winning the elections. American and European aid still flows unabated!
Isn’t it about time that European and American donors, in fairness to taxpayers in donor countries, cut off foreign aid to African countries like Liberia with excessive salaries and benefits for politicians relative to the medium salaries of their constituents?
We need a new foreign aid model that leverages the advancement of democracy, encourages citizens ballot measures and is complementary to the national development agenda of the countries, not the economic agenda of politicians.