AerospaceFan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 2004 times:
When it comes to African famine, or any of the other forms of suffering there, the West considers the matter much like the weather: Everyone talks about it, but no one does anything about it. (Apologies to Mark Twain.)
There are some particularly strong opinions about how to solve Africa's continuing problems. Every year, we read about proposed solutions such as debt forgiveness, lower sugar subsidies, and so forth. But, nevertheless, every year seems to bring about a set of renewed crisis on Earth's second-largest continent.
Can we not do something to help Africa that will actually work? International conferences that will result in only minor forgiveness of debt, or mere millions in aid, it seems, simply won't cut it any more.
What can we in the West do to truly alleviate Africa's perennial suffering?
Thank you in advance for your considered responses.
BHXFAOTIPYYC From Portugal, joined Jun 2005, 1644 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 1990 times:
Re-colonise the place. Well, it's an idea, because not much else seems to work.
OK, seriously, most of Africa has been independent for several decades, some countries for half a century, so the time for blaming "whitey" is over. For as long as I can remember there have been endless appeals for this that and the other. 30+ years of starving Africans on our TV's. What does Africa do to help itself? As long as the Umbingo tribe is happy that their arch enemy the Umbongos are starving and they aren't, even though they may both be from the same country, not much will ever change. Half the nations on the continent are klepocracies. Giving endless aid is pointless, and the whole aid thing is an industry in itself; people are making careers out of it.
One of our local churches raises money for an aid organization in Mozambique, and a couple of years ago they got food and blankets together, sent them out only have to raise more money to get them through Customs the other end. Their own people were hungry and it really didn't look like they were that bothered.
Breakfast in BHX, lunch in FAO, dinner in TIP, baggage in YYC.
Cfalk From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 1982 times:
You can't drag 10th century mentalities into the 21st century. Tribalism is the worst enemy of any kind of modern society, and the African continent has it in spades, although it is not the only one.
Frankly, I don't care anymore. The rest of the world has given massively for the past 50 years, and I don't see any improvement. After all those debts have been forgiven, I say build a wall around the continent, with a peephole or two so that we can look in from time to time to see if they've sorted themselves out.
GDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13423 posts, RR: 77
Reply 3, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 1957 times:
Two things, one we could do, the other politically we could not.
Firstly-Last year, fairer trade as an idea came into the political mainstream.
In this, the past actions of both the US and EU have been equally culpable.
To be fair, the US recently agreed to end cotton subsidies for US cotton farmers, if this is the case with not too many strings, the US, which means the Bush administration, should be congratulated-there, I said it!
There are other unfair, distorting subsides to be amended or scrapped, but this is a big step, your move EU.
But in fairness to the EU, some governments do seem much more committed this this than others, whatever you think of him, Blair has really pushed for this.
However, until his nemesis Chirac retires, I don't see much movement here, but politically the current situation is untenable.
The impossible one is more direct.
Go in, with a UN mandate, and despose the worst of the plutocrats, clearly Mugabe would be an obvious first.
Then establish UN protectorates, before moving to elections, heavily monitored ones too.
(Before anyone says the obvious, the UN is only as good as it's members, big and small).
However, as well as the impossibility of getting a UN agreement on this, who would provide the 'punch' for this?
US (like it or not, tarnished by Iraq/Gitmo all the other stuff, understandably no stomach in the US population for this).
UK (Iraq, worse a former colonial power).
France (another former colonial power).
South Africa-what with AIDS denying, Mugabe apologist Membeki in charge?
And he is one of the better African leaders by some measure.
WhiteHatter From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 1946 times:
One major factor in the cancel debt and liberalise trade equation has to be better governance, so when tinpot dictators go to Bombardier for $30 million private jets they don't do so out of debt the country takes on.
The days of blind lending have to stop. If money cannot be targeted to where it is needed, and demonstrably so, then it should not be lent in the first place. It only creates even more debt down the line.
Go3Team From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 3269 posts, RR: 15
Reply 5, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 1941 times:
Why even bother. What has all the tax dollars, money collected and donated in the last 20 or so years done? Nothing. Hopefully all the scammers, and the corrupt get the HIV, and the people who are able to survive, and accept change are able to prosper in a new environment.
AerospaceFan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 1931 times:
Thank you for your kind comments.
I think that Africa presents a unique challenge. It is not enough, in my humble opinion, simply to throw up our hands and say, "This problem is too much for us!" As the richest part of the world, the West must continue to do what it can, because we owe it to our shared humanity.
The fact may be that eventually, the West will exhaust most of its patience. However, I hope that that day will not come before the East, too, will help, and perhaps with the combined resources of East and West, Africa will finally receive all the assistance it deserves.
Who cares about the politically correct thing to say? Africa under colonization can only have been better than what we have today; likewise a renewed colonization would certainly be better than the current disaster.*
At the end of WW2, the US was given a "trust territory" over many Pacific islands, all of whom eventually decided to retain a relationship with the US even after independence. Maybe the 1st world can and should adopt the same policy for Africa - just fucking adopt certain parts, with the will of the people of course.
I remain hopeful for Africa. It was just a few years ago that China was considered hopeless and India not much better. Both countries are still racked by poverty but now have definite promise. I feel with a little organization and security provided by the west, Africa could eventually come to show real progress.
*most of the African nations touching the Med are ok and there are patches of acceptability here and there elsewhere in the continent
StarAC17 From Canada, joined Aug 2003, 3544 posts, RR: 10
Reply 11, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 1914 times:
Well organizations like "Engineers Without Borders" are trying very hard to inprove the situation of certain countries in Africa and not by means of throwing money at them. They do it by providing them with basic technology to make their lives somewhat easier. They also have sent dozens of volunteers overseas to help out as well with the fight against poverty.
Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 6): The fact may be that eventually, the West will exhaust most of its patience.
That is a huge problem and I think people need to realize that this is a long term fight to solve the problem and forgiving debts is a start but not the total answer. Fair trade is probably a bigger solution to get their economies moving because they have a chance to compete in a world market and be succesful from it. This is a long term solution to solve and one that would require the commitments of several generations to make the MPH campaign succesful.
Quoting Cfalk (Reply 2): After all those debts have been forgiven, I say build a wall around the continent, with a peephole or two so that we can look in from time to time to see if they've sorted themselves out.
For the countries that are unstable we should not be forgiving debt because it is pointless to do so but if they are actually stable such as Ghana and Bostwana are they actually deserve a chance for a fresh start if they are showing some kind of initiatve to better their situation.
AerospaceFan From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (9 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 1909 times:
Quoting StarAC17 (Reply 11): That is a huge problem and I think people need to realize that this is a long term fight to solve the problem and forgiving debts is a start but not the total answer. Fair trade is probably a bigger solution to get their economies moving because they have a chance to compete in a world market and be succesful from it. This is a long term solution to solve and one that would require the commitments of several generations to make the MPH campaign succesful.
That's quite correct, it seems to me.
I see that you are a citizen of Canada. Canadians have always been one of the most generous people in the world with their time, effort, and interest in the development of less fortunate countries.
I believe an appropriate initiative for your Prime Minister is to convene an international conference of trade representatives who, in the spirit of Lester Pearson, will commit to reducing trade barriers to African goods by 25% in less than five years. Further, I believe that certain countries in Africa who do not abide by international standards of governance should be considered for sanctions.
I am deeply troubled by what I see as negative comments concerning the prospects for Africa posted in this thread. Africans deserve our sympathy, not our derision. They are part of our great human family, and cannot be condemned for the failures of leadership and the world's economic system.
We in the West cannot fail to heed our own highest ideals, which are to reach out to those in need. It is not so much those whom we help who benefit from the knowledge that we do what we can; it is ourselves. And this is something that history teaches will issue great returns in the fullness of time.