…Africa’s dependency on aid and consumerism seems to be the order of the day.
Been watching events unfold in the Horn of Africa from the famine along with the question of aid be it in global immunisation drives by the GAVI organisation or the world food programme. The issues pertaining to famine or disease endemics in Africa is giving me cause to accept the sceptics who have long been echoing the likes of Dambisa Moyo as depicted in her book Dead Aid.
Recent calls for fundraising to generate help for the famine that is engulfing refugee camps in Dadaab, N.E Kenya took me back to a time in the 80s as a teenager. At that time, I remember participating in all sorts of fundraising schemes going, be it community or school run activities, to make a difference to the millions of persons that were suffering from the scourge of famine in Ethiopia. I was 13yrs old.
It was in 1980, when Toto released Africa which was to later launch the Live 8 concert at the Eden project England in 2005. In 1984, the now Sir Bob Geldof and Midge Ure of Ultravox founded the charity super group Band Aid to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia. They went on to organise the charity super-concert Live Aid the following year and the Live 8 concerts in 2005. Hot on its heels, the world was soon to see the American version of fundraising borne. Following Band Aid‘s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” project in the UK, an idea for the creation of an American benefit single for African famine relief came from activist Harry Belafonte, who, along with fundraiser Ken Kragen, was instrumental in bringing the vision to reality. Several musicians were contacted by the pair, before Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie were assigned the task of writing the song. Following several months of working together, the duo completed the writing of “We Are the World” one night before the song’s first recording session, in early 1985. The last recording session for the song was held on January 28, 1985.
All these two major global campaigns simply appear to have served as platform for business opportunities in the aid service industry.
From here on, we have had various aid agencies and charity organisations some under the UN charter, under religious umbrellas, and all scrambling to prove they can out-do the other in solving the crisis which depict Africa. They all have one common theme – to help Africans – and herein lay the problem. Africa has more aid or charity agencies than it has of affiliated innovative backed companies, research or grass root manufacturing companies. If you doubt this, check out some of the considered troubled areas and count how many aid vehicles or staff you see moving about. In some parts the food prices and accommodation in these regions has gone up to rival what the local person can ill afford! Africa has the land, minerals, climate, and man-power (albeit challenged in discipline), yet remains a huge global consumer base in all areas of her development. And this seems to suit those who are happy to support and perpetuate the dependency mentality; or maybe to perhaps appease or absolve themselves when they donate what is already underwritten as foreign reserves in their allocated national budgets.
Far better qualified persons to me have already raised alternatives to what ought to be done with the continent of Africa so I will not regurgitate it nor do I wish to rehash it. All I can say is that the song which is rehashed each time to play on the public’s emotions is getting over worn. It is baffling as to why the UN which overseas some of these refugee camps in desolate regions of the world is remaining silent to the root causes of such instability. Mainly that of corrupt leaders who are in the pockets of corporate firms/companies in developed nations. The objectivity of these leaders is to remain in power, whereby all the resources are poured in to harnessing military wear which they soon turn on their people in times of being threatened with loss of this power. For one has to ask: meteorologists give warnings of such climatic changes (and they tend to be quite vocal of late!), historically, persons from these regions used to harvest crops and store them in granaries, they also used to have well-maintained ater reservoirs – the list is endless. Yet we are led to believe and observe that these persons are now nothing more than global beggars, victims of climate change just fleeing about from one camp to the next leaving a huge chunk of their native country empty if we are to go by the numbers reported. So if most of these refugees have taken to living in atrocious refugee camps – who is remaining in their country of origin and why have they not been held to account for some sort of articulated genocide?
The actions of the UN in so far as redressing such crisis in Africa appears to indicate that it is far much easier to call on the public in developed nations every ~10yrs to part with money to deal in crisis management as opposed to prevention. I could go on with my rants…but I’m truly tired mentally (the flu has also taken its toll!) and exhausted of having the same song playing.