“The problems of Africa are very complex. Aid just gets swallowed up in corruption.” That argument, from the Daily Telegraph, has been repeated in various forms in the last week.
It is hypocritical nonsense. The G8 countries never worried about corrupt dictators when they were useful to them.
Mobutu in Zaire, Suharto in Indonesia, Pinochet in Chile, Houphouet-Boigny in Ivory Coast, Eyadema in Togo, Marcos in the Philippines — every one of these brutal rulers survived in power for decades on the basis of Western aid and support.
Corruption gets raised now to provide another fake excuse for not cancelling debt and not providing aid.
The G8 are ensuring that the slaves shall not be free until the rich have satisfied themselves they will do as they are told.
And the media and G8 rulers never speak of the corruption at multinational corporations such as Enron or WorldCom, or the other US businesses that are in a stratospherically different league of corruption to any African.
Still less is there mention of the embezzlement, links with business and political graft in the White House itself.
Of course there are very real questions about African rulers who connive with the IMF, the World Bank, the G8 leaders and the multinationals at the expense of their own people. That is why we support Africans fighting back in such situations — as you can read in The poor rise up in fury to protest in Cape Town, Work stoppage and riots in Harare and Africa round-up.
And there are searching questions to be asked about aid.
In particular it is a scandal that aid is tied so closely to market “reform” and that so much of it goes to “consultants” who are simply conduits for privatisation policy.
Socialist Worker argues for:
- Unconditional cancellation of all the developing countries’ debts, whether held by banks, governments, or multinational institutions such as the IMF.
- Treble the aid budget, but with aid transformed into a straight grant as compensation for slavery, colonialism and pillage by multinationals.
- Fighting throughout the world against war and imperialism, and for democracy that serves the interests of workers, peasants and the poor.