Friday, July 08, 2005

Aide to African leaders?

Bob Geldoff has done a great thing ... drawing attention to the plight of poverty stricken Africans, and wanting to get the G8 nations to dedicate a percentage of their riches to help these desperate people. However, one must view the past to evaluate the future.
There is widespread curruption among the leaders of these impoverished nations, and while some have tried to help them, many have become resistant to outside help, blaming the West for much of their woes, yet accepting their money.
There are many documented instances of abuse of aid and where the money went, two leaders of two countries, when receiving dollars in the amounts over 100 million, bought themselves private jets. (cost-30 million) It is well known that many country's warlords SELL the medical help that arrives. Some leaders have swollen Swiss bank accounts. One leader is suspected to have stolen up to 750 MILLION from international aid! Civil wars break out daily. Aids is rampant. Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan etc etc ad nauseum, resist any Western influence, no matter how well meaning. In Swaziland the King has built 8 palaces and has a fleet of Ferraris while having the highest HIV+ rate in Africa!
In contrast, when Ian Smith was in charge in Rhodesia, it was the blooming flower of Africa, moving forward with ideas and modernization to guarantee its successful future. Some would say the same of South Africa twenty years ago.
Today Robert Mugabe destroys Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) systematically in his hatred of whites and the West. Once productive farms lie dormant or destroyed. The equipment supplied by the West to perpetuate their forest industry rusts. It can be said also that South Africa continues to decline.
My friend worked in Africa for many years for the United Nations, he believed it was his career triumph to have implemented systems and methods to help some nations become successes on their own. Today his efforts lie in scattered ruins because of corruption and waste of materials and equipment. The last time he was there he saw truck after truck passing with soldiers and military equipment on board, ALL the trucks with UN markings as supplied by the West to carry food to the needy.
If the rich West is to help these poor of Africa, throwing money their way will not do it. There needs to be systems implemented to make sure the aid efforts reach those who need it. The UN is simply not doing it. We cannot trust that money will filter down to food and medical aid for the starving and sick.

Perhaps the West needs to listen to an unlikely source, Moamar Khadafi, who recently commented that African nations should stop begging and start working together. The trick of course, is how to help them do that. As Libya is one of the few rich nations in Africa, the UN should have pressed him to start it himself! There's a HUGE opportunity to help Africa and allow Khadafi to redeem himself in the eyes of the world.
The Live8 Concerts continue to draw attention but it's only a start, it's not as easy as rock n roll, the politicians knew that going in.
Money isn't necessarily the answer, creative thinking is.

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