Development Cooperation: Just a fraud or part of a conspiracy?

Development Cooperation (DC)

(First published on stopaidnow.wordpress.com in 2012)

As written in the blog http://anewparadigmindevelopmentcooperation.blogspot.com

DC has many negative side-effects visible in society (with Tanzania as example):

  • With the help of donors the same government has been able to stay in power for 50 years and has without complications been able to execute their poverty strategy;
  • Since NGOs are doing the work of the government (build schools and hospitals, implement health and economic programmes) the government has been enabled to do absolutely nothing and pocket the money which was meant for these projects and programmes;
  • Because in the world of development cooperation culture is elevated to a higher, untouchable level never to be changed, the culture of oppression, control and all harmful cultural and traditional practices have been allowed to stay in place and develop. For 50 years now ‘we’ have allowed that the rights of women and children are grossly violated every day of their lives;
  • With all ‘our’ foreign aid ‘we’ have explicitly and implicitly told the Tanzanian people that they need ‘us’ to solve their problems and lift them out of poverty;
  • The population has been made even more powerless than they already were, since apparently even their government is not capable of solving the problems;
  • The citizens of Tanzania are now patiently waiting till these foreigners take their responsibility and lift them out of poverty.

There are more side-effects not mentioned above. For instance the fact that international NGOs have made their partners (do not get fooled by the term, old concept, new coat) completely corrupt. In the beginning these ‘partners’ got so much money to deal with, that they used some of the money to build houses for themselves. In the past years many have skipped the pretence and just use the money for building houses and do not even bother themselves with projects. Do not think international NGOs are not aware of this, they know very well, but exposing corruption could lead to the loss of their job. So in order to make sure that the money keeps flowing in and they can keep their job they write nice year reports about what fantastic things they have done with your (taxpayers and private donors) money and let the corruption freely grow to immense proportions.

It was written in the blog that the side-effects could be intentionally or unintentionally. But if it was unintentionally: Why haven’t they changed course once these side-effects became visible? Why was there never an attempt to change the course of DC to minimise/limit these side-effects?We all know that most African governments are corrupt and that corruption is a major reason people are in poverty. Why did Jeffrey Sachs (advisor to the former Secretary-General of the UN Kofi Annan) write in his book ‘The end of poverty’ that African governments are not corrupt and if you say they are you are a racist? With this remark he closes all discussion since people prefer not to been seen as a racist. Why are people not allowed to know that African governments are corrupt? It is taxpayers in Europe, USA and elsewhere who have to come up with money which is given to these governments. It is they who are not allowed to know that that money is being used for the enrichment of a few and leads to more poverty for the majority. Why is the truth about what happens with their money being kept from them?

The reasons for the lack of development are obvious: 1) Corruption; 2) Violation of the rights of women and children; and 3) High rate of population growth. The budget support African governments are receiving is development aid (at least that is what they tell their taxpayers in Europe, USA and elsewhere). Which means, in my understanding, that this money is meant to develop countries meaning the eradication of poverty. If you want value for your money, in this case development, the best strategy is to eradicate the causes that lead to the problem, here underdevelopment and poverty. The best way is to tie your budget support to:

  1. The eradication of corruption; and/or
  2. Enforce respect for women’s and children’s rights; and/or/
  3. 100% coverage of access to family planning choices.

Yet Prime Minister of the UK, Mr. Cameron (and in the mean time President Obama of the USA) has just announced that the UK is going to tie their aid to the respect for the rights of homosexuals. Or they (African governments) comply or they lose the money. Why? 50 – 80% of the people in Africa live in deplorable circumstances (no clean water, sanitation, proper healthcare and education) and many of them cannot afford 3 meals a day. How will respecting the rights of homosexuals improve the lives of these people?

The widespread corruption has lead to a free pass for international corporations to empty Africa of its natural resources. African leaders have been receiving large amounts of money since independence from donor governments and have been allowed to stash that money on private off-shore bank accounts; this has lead to an insatiable greed that lead to sleazy under the table deals in which the natural resources are being sold off to foreign companies by leaders in the African governments. These natural resources are the property of the African people. These contracts are a gross violation of international law as we all know that the owners of the natural resources do not receive money for the sale of their natural resources nor have they been considered the owners of the resources. These deals are being made in private by individuals within the government. There is absolutely no respect for the property rights of the African people (Cameron and Obama: this includes homosexuals).

A violation which is authorised and aided and abetted by donors. No attempt has ever been made to respect the rights of the African people to own and sell their property. As the value of the natural resources that yearly ‘disappear’ from African soil in many countries (far) exceeds the total budget aid they receive, means in effect that the money called ‘development aid’ goes to these foreign companies. No development aid would be needed if African governments would receive the true value of their natural resources. In addition, in Tanzania all land is owned by the President, this is stated in the constitution. No private citizen truly owns the property he/she lives on and can be evicted any time the President wants to use or sell off the land. This is in violation with international law which states that every individual is entitled to own land (Cameron and Obama: this includes homosexuals).

In the past 2 years (Written in 2012 remember) there is a trend towards the investment in infrastructure. More and more donors give aid for infrastructure. The Dutch government has stopped the budget support and focuses ‘development aid’ on infrastructure and investments by foreigners. Last years budget of Tanzania shifted the focus from agriculture (considered the backbone of the economy), education and healthcare to major investments in infrastructure. Was this their own choice or a result of behind closed doors discussions with donors? Do not get me wrong, roads are important for the development of an economy, what bothers me is why donors and the government together are shifting the focus towards infrastructure. For an economy you also need an educated, healthy working population, however money is shifted by all players from these issues towards infrastructure, meaning that for instance the rise of illiteracy levels in the past decades will continue. In addition, these infrastructure projects are mainly to connect the sea-ports of Tanzania with the neighbouring land-locked countries. Not the rural roads connecting remote villages to the markets.

In the past 50 years the amount of countries and people in poverty has grown. If the goal of DC was/is poverty eradication, then why are we experiencing poverty growth in Africa? Obviously there was money enough (50 years times thousands of billions of dollars, maybe even millions of billions, is there a total number available? I guess it would be mind boggling). Despite all this money, according to Oxfam, the eradication of poverty in Tanzania will take at least another 120 years.

My questions:

  1. What happened with that money and why is the majority of people in Africa still in abject poverty?
  2. Why, when it became clear decades ago that DC was not leading to poverty reduction (on the contrary), were the strategies not changed to change the outcome of DC towards the goal of poverty reduction? Or: Was that not the goal?
  3. Why is nobody in DC interested in a programme that makes the people in the villages in Africa self-reliant and makes them responsible for their own development?
  4. Why is Africa (and the rest of the world) for the eradication of poverty relying on the people working in the multi-billion dollar business called DC, who have everything to lose by actually reaching the eradication of poverty?
  5. Why are the private donors of international NGOs being fed stories and statistics that do not reflect realities on the ground? Why is this whole business saturated with myths, misinformation or outright lies?
  6. Why are private donors and taxpayers not told that development workers live in luxury here in Africa with fat salaries (in the UN the average salary is around $25,000/- a month), big houses and cars, enough personnel to make sure that when you come home from work you can relax, 24/7 access to water and electricity, shopping malls with everything you can dream of, nice restaurants and hotels with swimming pools?
  7. Why does nobody explain that the rise in GDPs in Africa is a result of the rise in incomes of owners of these shopping malls, restaurants, hotels and other expat and tourism related businesses, managers of large companies and government leaders, which covers for the increase in poverty levels in the villages?
  8. Why are the taxpayers and private donors not being told that these development workers have no idea what is really going on in the villages in Africa as they spend their time in the air-conditioned office, air-conditioned car, air-conditioned malls, houses, restaurants, hotels or beach and rarely meet the people they claim they work for: the poor people in the villages?
  9. Why do taxpayers and private donors have to continue to pay for a luxury lifestyle, they themselves will never be able to afford, of a few without receiving any value for their money, namely: development and the eradication of poverty?
  10. Is DC only established to provide a few of the privileged and well off with a luxury lifestyle or is there another reason so much money is spend on a business that does not lead to development and poverty eradication, on the contrary, that is creating more and more problems in Africa?
  11. What is the real goal of this business called DC?

Famines do not occur overnight, they are build up in at least 12 months preceding the crisis state. Yet they are never prevented. Let us take Somalia as an example. Donors waited till the crisis state before they came into action. All the signs were visible before that and in October 2010 help was already requested. Now what is going on in Somalia with the money people around the world have collected to feed the Somali people? A story in the newspaper reveals (I will give extracts because it is too long to copy all):

UN Performance in Somalia a crime against humanity by Rasna Warah.

One of the most frequent complaints I heard during my recent visit to Mogadishu was the lack of physical presence of UN staff in this warn-torn city. …… I hardly saw any UN cars in the city, and very few foreign aid workers. The only foreigners whose presence could be seen and felt was that of Turks ……….. and the African Union soldiers……………… I heard from various sources that most of the food aid that comes through Mogadishu’s port ends up in private hands because there is no effective monitoring of how and where it is distributed. The mayor of Mogadishu,……., complained that there was no control over the aid that comes through the port because local NGOs that collect and distribute it are not accountable to anyone. This has led to theft of food and other aid. So I went to the port to see for myself, and sure enough, I saw Unicef bags being offloaded onto a ramshackle truck that had no UN logo on it and no UN staff was present to oversee the operation. I checked to see if there was a WFP (World Food Programme) office at the port ……….. but could not find any. Recent reports indicate that a cartel of local business tycoons controls the food aid business in Somalia through shady NGOs, and that the UN is often complicit in these transactions. Recently, a reliable source told me that a UN agency that has received millions of Euros from a leading Western donor to clean up Mogadishu’s streets was using one of the NGOs implicated in the food aid scandal to manage the clean-up operation. It seems everybody is profiting from the chaos in Somalia. Somali analysts told me that UN staff based in Nairobi would like Somalia to remain unstable so that they can maintain their luxurious and relatively safe lifestyles in Kenya’s capital. Indeed, almost all bilateral and multilateral donor agencies have their Somalia offices based in Nairobi. Almost none have a functioning office in Mogadishu. ………… One senior EU official admitted to me recently that the UN had probably slowed down Somalia’s recovery and that ‘if there is peace in Somalia, many UN staff will not retain their position in Nairobi’. ……………. (The Citizen 20 December 2011)

Questions:

  1. Why is DC every time waiting till the crisis state before they come into action?
  2. Why are they portraying themselves in the media as the heroes coming to the rescue of the African people, after they have deliberately brought them on the brink of starvation?
  3. In Somalia requests for help were sent by local organisations to prevent a disaster in October 2010. Why did no help come?
  4. Where did the millions of Euros go, paid by the European Union to the UN to implement irrigation canals in Somalia to prevent food shortages?
  5. Famines are preventable. People do not need to die, because the signs are visible long before the crisis state occurs. Why are they never prevented?
  6. Why, time and again, do Africans have to die for no reason?
  7. Why were the numbers in Somalia exaggerated?
  8. Why do private donors not receive the truth about what is going on and why there was nothing done to prevent these people ever entering a stage of near-death?
  9. Are these pictures more important than saving as many people as possible?

What was the reason for the mass information campaigns by organisations in DC in Europe, USA and elsewhere to convince people that African people are happy and content with their lives? That Africans, unlike Westerners, are not being affected by poverty, misery and traumas. Africans, unlike Westerners, stay happy and content with their lives, despite the fact that they have no money and cannot afford 3 meals a day. This ‘brainwash’ to dehumanise Africans has led to the facts that:

1) even development workers living in Africa are blind to the effects of poverty and traumas on people; and

2) the existence of a tourism business called ‘cultural based tourism’. Would there be so many tourists wanting to visit villages in Africa if they knew that many people in these villages are depressed and have lost hope on ever going to bed with a full stomach, let alone a decent life?

My questions:

  1. Why is it so important that the world thinks that Africans are not like (Western) human beings who are affected by the bad things happening to them?
  2. What was the goal of this ‘dehumanise the African people’-campaign?

Please read the blog anewparadigmindevelopmentcooperation.blogspot.nl to understand more about the economic migrants coming to Europe.

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