FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Best Way to Aid Africa

by

Drought in Somalia threatens the lives of almost half the population, according to Somalia’s Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire. Over a two-day span, at least 110 people died of hunger in just a single region in the country. This highlights the tremendous needs Somalia and other African countries have for immediate help.

In the last few decades, enormous financial resources have been sent to the region. What has been accomplished, however, is subject to controversy since what has been achieved appears to have been counterproductive to Africa’s actual needs.

In spite of the considerable progress achieved in the fight against HIV/AIDS, other health problems remain. Although the Ebola epidemic has been largely controlled, the potential for a new epidemic still exists. Countries are now better prepared to deal with a new outbreak, but probably not to the extent that a serious new epidemic would demand.

Tuberculosis is still rampant in South Africa, which has the highest tuberculosis death rate per capita worldwide, followed by Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Worse yet, the high number of cases of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in several countries make the disease much more difficult to treat.

Five children under age five die every minute in the African region, two thirds of them from preventable causes. Diarrheal and respiratory infections, malaria, measles and malnutrition represent big threats to children’s health. Pneumonia and malaria are the leading causes of death among children under five years of age. The interaction of under nourishment and infection can lead to a vicious cycle of worsening illness and deteriorating nutritional status.

Health problems in Africa cannot be considered in isolation from the countries’ sociopolitical and environmental realities, and require continued foreign technical and financial assistance. Increasing efforts are needed to be made to expand access to primary health care, especially in rural areas, accompanied by health promotion, disease prevention and improved health education activities. The relentless exodus of physicians and nurses to industrialized countries only compounds health problems.

Despite some progress in the social sphere, some important difficulties remain. One of them is significant unemployment, particularly among the young. Around 70 percent of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa is under the age of 30, and 60 percent of the unemployed are also young people. New policies are indispensable to incorporate them into the labor force.

A first step is to provide youth with basic skills so that they can achieve their earning potential. UNESCO and the International Labor Organization (ILO) have recommended that governments, international donors and the private sector develop integrated policies to create jobs for young people and ease the transition from school to work.

Poverty in the continent is widespread and affects most of the population. In 2010, more than 400 million people were living in extreme poverty across Sub-Saharan Africa. Currently, a notable proportion of women lack any significant income. The expansion of micro credit together with rural development projects mainly aimed at women could significantly improve the situation.

Education is another area of concern. Africa has the lowest rate of children in primary schools of any region. In addition to significant gender disparities, with girls far behind boys in educational attainment, geographical disparities between rural areas and urban areas, and economic disparities between low income and high income households are also significant.

Many experts on Africa don’t believe in the efficacy of aid. “Money from rich countries has trapped many African nations in a cycle of corruption, slower economic growth and poverty. Cutting off the flow would be far more beneficial,” wrote Dambisa Moyo, a Zambian-born international economist and author with extensive knowledge of Africa.

Aid, however, can become effective in improving people’s standard of living and education. It is critical to help African countries improve governance before providing financial assistance. In addition, effective aid must bypass corrupt governments and find ways of helping people in more direct ways, such as through community and religious organizations.

Although considerable amount of money has been sent to Africa through bilateral and international aid, there are still no effective mechanisms in place to monitor and make recipients accountable for spending. This is a vital, since corruption is like a weed that saps the countries’ social fabric and energy. In addition, there are not enough ways to evaluate the quality of projects funded mainly by international lending institutions and UN agencies.

Aid to Africa should be aimed at strengthening civil society and community-based organizations. African countries need better trade conditions for their products and technical assistance that is carefully and responsibly planned. Provided with a generous nature and energetic and hard working people, Africa is still a continent of hope.

Dr. Cesar Chelala is a co-winner of the 1979 Overseas Press Club of America award for the article “Missing or Disappeared in Argentina: The Desperate Search for Thousands of Abducted Victims.”

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
May 26, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Charles R. Larson
Review: Mary V. Dearborn’s “Ernest Hemingway”
May 25, 2017
Jennifer Matsui
The Rise of the Alt-Center
Michael Hudson
Another Housing Bubble?
Robert Fisk
Trump Meets the New Leader of the Secular World, Pope Francis
John Laforge
Draft Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons Unveiled
Benjamin Dangl
Trump’s Budget Expands War on the Backs of America’s Poor
Alice Donovan
US-Led Air Strikes Killed Record Number of Civilians in Syria
Andrew Moss
The Meaning of Trump’s Wall
Leslie Scott
Trump in the Middle East: New Ideas, Old Politics
George Wuerthner
Environmental Groups as Climate Deniers
Pauline Murphy
The Irish Dead: Fighting Fascism in Spain, 1937
Brian Trautman
Veterans on the March
Eric Sommer
Trumps Attack on Social Spending Escalates Long-term Massive Robbery of American Work
Binoy Kampmark
Twenty-Seven Hours: Donald Trump in Israel
Christian Hillegas
Trump’s Islamophobia: the Persistence of Orientalism in Western Rhetoric and Media
Michael J. Sainato
Russiagate: Clintonites Spread the Weiner Conspiracy
Walter Clemens
What the President Could Learn from Our Shih-Tzu Eddie
May 24, 2017
Paul Street
Beyond Neoliberal Identity Politics
Daniel Read
Powder Keg: Manchester Terror Attack Could Lead to Yet Another Resurgence in Nationalist Hate
Robert Fisk
When Peace is a Commodity: Trump in the Middle East
Kenneth Surin
The UK’s Epochal Election
Jeff Berg
Lessons From a Modern Greek Tragedy
Steve Cooper
A Concrete Agenda for Progressives
Michael McKinley
Australia-as-Concierge: the Need for a Change of Occupation
William Hawes
Where Are Your Minds? An Open Letter to Thomas de Maiziere and the CDU
Steve Early
“Corporate Free” Candidates Move Up
Fariborz Saremi
Presidential Elections in Iran and the Outcomes
Dan Bacher
The Dark Heart of California’s Water Politics
Alessandra Bajec
Never Ending Injustice for Pinar Selek
Rob Seimetz
Death By Demigod
Jesse Jackson
Venezuela Needs Helping Hand, Not a Hammer Blow 
Binoy Kampmark
Return to Realpolitik: Trump in Saudi Arabia
Vern Loomis
The NRA: the Dragon in Our Midst
May 23, 2017
John Wight
Manchester Attacks: What Price Hypocrisy?
Patrick Cockburn
A Gathering of Autocrats: Trump Puts US on Sunni Muslim Side of Bitter Sectarian War with Shias
Shamus Cooke
Can Trump Salvage His Presidency in Syria’s War?
Thomas S. Harrington
“Risk”: a Sad Comedown for Laura Poitras
Josh White
Towards the Corbyn Doctrine
Mike Whitney
Rosenstein and Mueller: the Regime Change Tag-Team
Jan Oberg
Trump in Riyadh: an Arab NATO Against Syria and Iran
Susan Babbitt
The Most Dangerous Spy You’ve Never Heard Of: Ana Belén Montes
Rannie Amiri
Al-Awamiya: City of Resistance
Dimitris Konstantakopoulos
The European Left and the Greek Tragedy
Laura Leigh
This Land is Your Land, Except If You’re a Wild Horse Advocate
Hervé Kempf
Macron, Old World President
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail