Maybe It’s Time to Give Up on Africa

Britain’s international aid budget costs the equivalent of 22 days of national borrowing from international markets. By 2015, British Aid will have increased by 34.2% to £11.5 billion per annum. Including personal donations and state spending, Britain gives 0.8% of GDP in international aid. With state aid increasing, more people should ask: Why are average per capita incomes in Africa lower than 40 years ago after $1 trillion of aid being given over that period?

If there is one thing I simply do not understand in this scenario, it would have to be why Britain feels compelled to help Africa at all.  The British government’s only concern should be with taking care of its citizens and acting directly in their best interest.  (Of course, as a libertarian, I’m inclined to argue that this can be accomplished simply by ensuring that property rights are observed, and that the taxation necessary to ensure this result is as small and painless as possible.)

I simply do not see how giving aid to Africa is in the best interest of British citizens.  Need cheap labor?  Asia is a good place for that, and doesn’t generally require near the amount of aid that Africa does.  Besides which, Asian labor is more reliable in terms of quality, and many Asian governments have made a point of developing their infrastructure.  So why care about Africa?

This question becomes extremely poignant once on also considers that African countries have not simply stagnated in spite of aid, but have actually regressed.  This being the case, it seems obvious that aid, if not hurtful, is at least irrelevant to African countries.  And if they can’t manage the money transferred to them from the pockets of productive first-world citizens, then how and why would anyone think that they are worth investing in?

Quite simply, it is time to cut the purse-strings to Africa.  They squander the generous gifts given to them time and again, and it appears that this trend isn’t going to change anytime soon.  If insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results, then the sane thing to do at this point might be to cut the aid and force Africa to stand on its own feet.  And who knows?  It just might be crazy enough to work.

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