Are We Hurting Africa by Helping It?

This is going to be controversial, but bear with me for a second. Kevin Myers of the Irish Independent News of Ireland wrote an opinion piece baitingly titled "Africa is giving nothing to anyone - apart from AIDS."

In it, Kevin wrote how Ethiopia (and other basket case African countries) are actually hurt in the long run - not helped - by the Western generosities:

[Other countries] -- one way or another -- virtually all giving aid to or investing in Africa, whereas Africa, with its vast savannahs and its lush pastures, is giving almost nothing to anyone, apart from AIDS.

Meanwhile, Africa's peoples are outstripping their resources, and causing catastrophic ecological degradation. By 2050, the population of Ethiopia will be 177 million: The equivalent of France, Germany and Benelux today, but located on the parched and increasingly protein-free wastelands of the Great Rift Valley.

So, how much sense does it make for us actively to increase the adult population of what is already a vastly over-populated, environmentally devastated and economically dependent country?

How much morality is there in saving an Ethiopian child from starvation today, for it to survive to a life of brutal circumcision, poverty, hunger, violence and sexual abuse, resulting in another half-dozen such wide-eyed children, with comparably jolly little lives ahead of them? Of course, it might make you feel better, which is a prime reason for so much charity. But that is not good enough.

For self-serving generosity has been one of the curses of Africa. It has sustained political systems which would otherwise have collapsed. It prolonged the Eritrean-Ethiopian war by nearly a decade.

So. Are we doing Africa a favor by helping it feed its starving population, or are we actually prolonging their suffering? Link

Newest 5
Newest 5 Comments

Ya know... I have to actually agree with that article. Not about Africa giving AIDS part o_O but the rest of it actually makes alot of sense.
I don't think all aid should stop, but maybe a different approach. TEACH them instead of just giving handouts.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Care and all those other organizations that have been feeding them created this problem. Let them deal with it. It is only multiplying.

Can't we bomb over there for humanitarian reasons?
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Seriously, are we going to accept this as a thoughtful and coherent evaluation of the 'Africa Problem'? How do you even progress past the title? Africa = AIDS?!! All Africans have AIDS and are doomed to be turned into circumcised sexual deviants with an AK in one hand and a misguidedly given fistful of our hard earned dollars in the other are they? I'm all for sensible debate on Africa, but this aint it. He's been there.. so what. I've been in a plane but that doesn't make me a pilot. And the fact that he pre-categorises all criticism that this reductivist drivel will draw as self righteous is pretty lame given the tone of the article. If you're really interested, go find out why post colonial countries are amongst the poorest in the world (spoiler alert.. it's something to do with being forcibly asset stripped for decades then continually bullied by western economies). Go find out what the EU and US like to do at WTO trade talks ( There are people who's job it is to think about Africa. Go ask the internet what they are saying. Don't listen to this guy, he seems to have a problem with foreigners, and there's a word for that (I mean Xenophobic not the other one). Letting people die so they don't get their hands on our stuff is a bit morally bankrupt and.. well just not very nice. Besides, it's a bit rich of us westerners to fret about Africa being a drain on resources. Where do the world best polluters and resource drainers live? If he wants to save mother Earth by population control then we'd better start handing the cyanide pills out amongst ourselves first.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Ok, so I didn't feel like reading EVERYONE's posts... seeing as there were so many of them... but I work in the Charity Sector in Africa, and I deal with this every day...

The truth is this: Africa doesn't need food... it's not a shortage of food that is a problem (yes, in certain areas like Ethiopia it's necessary)... the issue is that Africans have lost their culture to do things for themselves. I think to a great extent this is because people have come and given instead of taught. The old chinese proverb is well illustrated here in Africa... we give to them to feed them, but never teach them to grow, to plan, to strategize. The end result is fed tummies today, hungry minds tomorrow.

Now move look at it from a different perspective, as an African. Here you are in Nigeria, where you hardly have any chance of getting employed. Food isn't particularly scarce, as you can grow veggies or fish for food... so you cruise down to your local fishing spot to pick up some lil' ones for dinner... BANG, suddenly there's this big-ass oil refinery fenced off where you always fished... where did this come from? now suddenly this "Shell" has introduced something called a Cell phone? And it costs less than my groceries? And these "casettes and CDs"? What are these wonderful things? Wow... and all this to take the oil from my land? Sure... take away! Oh, but what if you leave... what then? So you leave us with no resources, you've polluted our water, and given us blank cd's and the remnants of the MTV generation.

Let's be honest here... Helping Africa help itself is the way to go, but up till today the only reason why anyone has shown ANY interest in Africa has been due to it's wealth of resources and minerals. The Corporations and Governments (US, China, UK, etc) have been plundering the continent like the savage pirates they are... leaving nothing behind but old Nike's, satellite dishes and cheap cellphones. Africa cannot save itself because the trade agreements with China secure cheap goods to flood our market... this means that locally produced goods have no where to go...

So before anyone points fingers as to whether Africa should or shouldn't be helped, let's first ask whether our INTENTIONS for helping Africa, and even our METHODS, are sincere.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
I went to College with some guys from Kenya.
They said:"You Americans have been sending food to Africa for over 100 years--the only result has been more starving Africans."

Euro-whites and weinies have not allowed any of the African countries to defend their borders and their populations from immigration. Cultural "Relativism" has made it impossible to defend and improve their circumstances--it is impossible to pull yourself out of the stone-age if you are supposed to preserve stone-age tribes and social morays like they are in some sort of "ZOO".

The Kenyans described some of the tribes to be as locusts; the are nomadic only in the fact that the destroy the environment in which they live, then move on. The movements of these tribes has resulted in genicidal wars in the past--and the present--in Africa.

Those who are anti-religion have made their bias clear. Christianity condemns promiscuity, as does Islam--They both also condemn pedophilia and sex-for-food. All of which are responsible for the spread of AIDS.

Stone-Age peoples' population was controlled by disease, starvation, and genicidal war; not some sort of "new-age" connection with the land. People who spread and/or believe such are woefully ignorant--regardless of their profession or professed education.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Login to comment.
Email This Post to a Friend
"Are We Hurting Africa by Helping It?"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.


Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
Learn More