Sunday, August 11, 2013

This is why we should not be giving foreign aid

It should not be up to the taxpayer to support humanitarian aid abroad unless they choose to give personally. Most of the aid goes where it shouldn't and either lines the pockets of kleptocracies or is seized by militants to keep wars going for far longer than they need to. There is strong evidence that the 'Live Aid' cash and supplies did exactly that in Ethiopia and led to dependency on foreign aid rather than looking out for themselves as the Ethiopian army and the rebels both seized supplies and kept the 'poor' starving and requesting aid.
Humanitarian aid supplies worth £480,000 - funded by UK taxpayers - were seized by al-Qaeda-linked militants in Somalia, it has emerged.
Supplies were in warehouses captured in a raid by al-Shabab in November 2011, the Department for International Development's (DfID) accounts reveal.
DfID would not specify what those supplies included. It said all material was destroyed in the raid or later.
A DfID spokesman said working in "fragile states carries inherent risk".
The department's annual accounts said the £480,000 was written off "following the theft between November 2011 and February 2012, by al-Shabab in southern Somalia, of DfID-funded humanitarian materials and supplies from the offices and warehouses of partner organisations, to which DfID had provided funding to deliver projects and programmes".
The accounts said DfID's partners had "no prior warning of the confiscations being carried out and therefore had no time to prevent the loss by relocating goods".
Completely missing the point that had we not sent aid, the islamics wouldn't have been able to seize the aid.
It's not just the UK taxpayer of course, it's pretty much any charity which involves itself abroad where much of what is given is wasted, stolen, misused or just the wrong stuff. A lot of charities have done well for themselves by doing good, nice plush offices in London and well heeled officials drawing their wages from the generosity of others. That's not to say I don't admire those at the sharp end, though as those two young ladies attacked by islamobarbarians in Zanzibar found out, volunteering has its own attendant risks too.
I'm sick and tired of the government taking our cash to give to those abroad, charity begins at home and we have enough problems here. If it's a bribe to get foreign governments to buy our stuff, then fine, say so and let's be done with it. But stop the aid, it's not getting in anything like the quantities needed to those in real need, if anything its only prolonging their agony by feeding or funding their oppressors.

3 annotations:

selsey.steve said...

I grew up and lived in Zambia, I've seen the waste and chronic dependency 'foreign aid' causes. So-called 'foreign aid' is a recipe for disaster. The 'give-give-give' sort of aid is completely destructive.
I have, however, seen one sort of aid which did work and it involved no 'giving' whatsoever. It involved a group of about twenty young men who purchased a small farm in the middle of an area farmed by local Zambians who followed traditional agricultural ways. The twenty young men didn't preach new methods to the Zambians, they just farmed, using identical implements and crops as the Zambians.
Their methods differed. They didn't plant the maize (Zambia's staple crop) in rows, they planted their maize in large (100 feet or so in diameter), shallow hand-made basins to retain rainwater. That one change increased their crop. The next year the Zambian farmers followed suit. Why? Because they'd seen the advantageous result of planting in such a fashion.
The next year the twenty young men spent the dry season scattering chicken and cattle dung over their maize basins. The increase in productivity was noticed by the local farmers who, in the fourth year did exactly the same, with similar results.
In the fifth year the twenty young men grew an entirely new type of maize seed, with spectacular results. They harvested all of their maize and gave it to the local farmers as seed for the following year. The twenty young men then left and went back home to Israel. They left behind the most productive maize growing area on the Zambian Copperbelt.
It still is, over thirty years later.

James Higham said...

Absolutely - begins at home.

Dioclese said...

'kleptocracy' is not in the dictionary - but it bloody well ought to be because that one word sums it all up beautifully...