IS there a point helping Africa?

The problem area that I am going to focus on in my paper is aid to Africa. The area that I want to focus on looks at whether there is a problem with how the international community (primarily developed countries) is helping Africa. Is the amount of aid counties are sending to Africa enough or is it too much? Are the avenues that they are using (through governments and NGOs) the best way to reach the people who need the aid? And is monetary aid the solution to the poverty issue in Africa or is it something else?

Prevailing thinking says that aid is needed in Africa and as much as we can get there. African governments are not trusted as much to get the aid to the people so more organizations and developed country governments are using NGOs more and more to get the aid to the people. Monetary aid is also preferred as those providing aid have been convinced that they are getting more “bang for their buck” if they send money and the money is used to buy what the people need at a cheaper price.

But even those who attempt to purchase or create opportunity in Africa run into the roadblock of time which is the mere fact that it literally take up to 300times for something to go through legal procedures in Africa than in the developed world. Sadly, the infrastructure to handle aid and a lot of the poverty alleviation projects just does not exist.

There is some research that is countering the idea that monetary aid should be sent at all! In fact, some believe that introducing more technology aid to people will be more likely to create more innovation, more jobs, and a better educated society. My high-school guidance counselor, Steve Peifer, believed this thought and started a computer center in a below par secondary education program to help children in those areas learn.

Skip video to 7:35 and end it at 8:22

While monetary aid can only last for a certain amount of time until it is used up, technology and the knowledge it can bring is something that cannot be taken away from someone and, especially in this world that relies so heavily on technology, is worth its weight in gold!


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8 Responses to IS there a point helping Africa?

  1. Hey Odeke, such interesting stuff here. I think alternatives to money are always more beneficial than a check. Analysis can be done to find out what will help the situation the most and what will last longer than a quick money fix. My concern is that technology without education is worthless. Are you suggesting technology will help to aid education? This I would completely agree with.

  2. Also, new comment, are you focusing on a specific country in Africa? Different countries could benefit from different forms of aid, so this specificity might add to your argument.

    • Alyssa Haglund says:

      Good question Eli. I feel like countries in Africa are so often just grouped together. Odeke, are you focusing specifically on Kenya? It would also be really cool if you had any insider information on this or could use your personal experiences to strengthen your arguement…seeing as you are Kenyan 🙂

  3. Alyssa Haglund says:

    I actually watched the entire video because I was intrigued by his story. I think that the situation in Africa should not be supported with money; it needs to be supported internally. This goes directly with the old saying that you can give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Therefore, I really like the idea of bringing technology to the children. Feeding the students also helps the dropout rate, which will allow more students to graduate and invest back into the school and community. Therefore the aid of food will only be temporary until the community is self-sustainable.

    It would be cool if you could also focus on where the donated money goes towards in your report. I am not sure if they have this information anywhere, but to see how much of a dollar actually goes towards the community and not the government’s new Mercedes Benz’s would be very interesting

  4. meganm423 says:

    it would be interesting to look into the case of Kiva and how thorough their process is when seeing if they money gets to the small businesses that they provide for in Africa. I’m sure there must be difficulties with that process.

  5. Jordi says:

    NEw Yorker article on economics, experiments, and poverty…

  6. Pingback: Best of Blog Week 8 | Biz Gov Soc

  7. baudolino says:

    This is why good solutions are usually *hard*.

    Example 1: It is easy to say “more education is needed”. Yes, it makes people warm and fuzzy, but consider: you need infrastructure (i.e. a roof above your head). You go in trying to build a school, and you run into the local bureaucracy, which has a knack for sucking up your (usually) meager financial resources. So this is why, perhaps, microfinancing initiatives could be the key: they bypass the middleman.

    Example 2: Each year, there’s some huge US sporting event (say, the Superbowl). In order to hedge, companies print a tons of t-shirts and other assorted junk that feature *both* finalists. Team A wins, their shirts become best-sellers in the US, whereas team B’s t-shirts are dumped somewhere in Africa or Latin America. The PR department trumps the “generosity” of, say, Reebok (while Reebok writes off the entire inventory of “loser” t-shirts as a charitable donation) because it helps the poor folks over there, right? Wrong. Consider what’s happening: you’re dumping a ton of *free* shirts every year, thus bumping up the supply, thus destroying the local textile manufacturing industry, because who can compete with free? So in this sense, wouldn’t not helping actually help?

    This has been a PSA from your local friendly Ops prof. Keep up the good work!

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