A non-partisan journal of the left.

Global Development: Aid the myth of Western support

Fri 28th Oct 2011

‘Development Aid’ has to be one of the most misconceived and ill composed terms. We believe aid to be a donation to an individual or collective that will help suffice their needs. However, Development Aid is in fact a term coined by Western enthusiasts to try and dampen the disgusting truth. Aid (in the Western context) is in fact a loan that carries an unfixed interest.

To give an example, we need not look any further than the DFID (The Department of International Development). In a report the DFID made it clear of their intentions that aid was going to be directed into the most important areas of the developing countries. Of course by ‘important’ they mean ‘areas that suit capitalist interest’.

Furthermore they stressed the matter of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s failure to construct a sufficient number of paved roads. According to the DFID, the need to construct more paved roads lies in the interest of the poor and the vulnerable of the sub-Saharan countries. First and foremost, roads cannot allow greater geographical or social mobility if people cannot afford cars and if there is no public transport, as is the case in the DRC and in many other sub-Saharan countries. Secondly the word ‘paved’ really stands out to me. Why is it that to alleviate poverty, a country must have paved roads? Apparently this creation of paved roads will benefit the economy. Whatever way you look at it, it will ultimately benefit the capitalist world and hinder the development of sub-Saharan countries, whose GDP will be mostly spent on paying back the debt amounted from ‘aid’.

Western countries do not give aid to countries as a symbol of amity but because it creates a good profitable return. So much so that the aid given to Sub-Saharan African governments will be paid back at a higher sum, thus creating a boomerang effect. Why is it that Western countries are so insistent on giving aid but not keen to cancel a country’s debt? The aid transference from one country to another goes through multilateral institutions, these could include the IMF, WTO and World Bank, for example. If these pro-capitalist organisations are monitoring the transference of Development Aid then such ‘aid’ is under the manipulation of fat cat capitalists. International development in infrastructure is un-surprisingly aimed at capitalist interest. For example, the development of factories with outdated technology creates a dependency on the West. A moderate portion of the aid spent by Britain (although an official figure is not given as DFID has selectively not released this information) is on Governance and National Security to tackle problems such as terrorism and gang-warfare. Somali pirates are a Western influenced problem as are many of the gang and terrorism related issues in Africa. Putting more money into a country’s military budget only hastens to bring about the corruption of governments run by the elites, who were elected with support from the West.

The imperialism that exists today is that of a hundred years ago. Instead of overt slavery, the West cushions itself by covertly oppressing the people of developing countries. Development Aid is a invitation to spiraling debt with increasing interest. As countries cannot afford to decline the poisoned chalice for sakes of their people, they must oblige. One study by UK and US academics found that aid was one of the ‘good things about capitalism’.If I had to choose two of the most contradictory words in the dictionary it would be ‘good’ and ‘capitalism’. The only good that can be done is to cancel all the debt owed by poorer countries. This won’t have a dramatic effect on

Western economies, as most countries owe millions rather than billions. Take Niger for example, a nation which owes £8 million to the UK. If the UK were to simply cancel this debt, then the nation would be free to tackle issues of disease and poverty. Mozambique is also a country with a fairly small debt- it owed Brazil around £185 million in 2004. Brazil was kind enough to cancel 95% of the debt, thus releasing most the pressure on Mozambique. The IMF had lent Mozambique in the region of $16 million to sustain their budget up until 2006. Consider the ‘loaning’ by the IMF and the ‘cancelling’ of the debt by Brazil. Only one of these acts actually benefits the country in terms of finance and development, especially as Mozambique’s government had said that the debt was virtually un-payable. In the Ivory Coast, the IMF decided to ‘wipe away’ $3 billion dollars of debt from the previous $13 billion. This debt will eventually build up again as the country cannot afford to pay any of the debt. Furthermore, the IMF had actually loaned the Ivory Coast $565 million to pay for debt and poverty related issues!

Is it not ridiculous that the loaning of money is to pay for a loan from the same organisation? There are many other examples of countries in this debt and loan fiasco. It seems that less affluent nations have a greater understanding of the need to cancel a debt in order to foster development. South Africa cancelled around $137 million owed by Cuba in order to sustain relations between the two countries and to allow for Cuba’s economic development.
You must be logged in to post comments on the site or you can use Facebook above.