8 Apr 2009

Dead aid to Africa's North-South Corridor?

Africa wall patternDFID, the UK aid department, asked me to volunteer to come down here to Lusaka in Zambia to help “facilitate” the launch of the North-South Corridor project for which they and other donors have thus far raised $1.35bn.

It involved four presidents, the head of the WTO, a DFID minister, an EU commissioner, international banks, ministers from 26 countries in east, central and southern Africa (from Angola to Zimbabwe), and a thousand delegates.

Bit of a handful, you might say.

Africa wall pattern

But as I have mentioned in my earlier blog, this is a huge endeavour promoted by three regional groupings: the East African Community (EAC), COMESA (central Africa), and SADC (southern Africa).

Presidents Banda of Zambia, Museveni of Uganda, Kibaki of Kenya, and Motlanthe of South Africa talked eternally of its merits – Museveni for 40 minutes, including an intriguing attack on donors.

The event coincided with the Zambian economist (and former World Bank and Goldman Sachs banker) Dambisa Moyo’s book Dead Aid. I shall be interviewing her at the Hay Festival, intrigued to know whether she regards this $1.35bn to this infrastructural endeavour a total waste of money.

Her book is a provocative and important read. I hope to make a film sometime on the subject of this blog.

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6 reader comments

  1. Tina Louise says:

    I wonder at the whole aid enterprise – we seem to send and send , launch appeal after appeal and yet we improve little more than the day to day lives of a minority. Why can’t we intelligently use the vast funds to better a standard of living that lasts longer than the appeal?

    I cannot believe we don’t have the capability… we are human, we are ingenious.

    1. Dennis Junior says:

      Tina Louise, you forgot something in your comments: That how much in-effective assistance in the ran of food aid that doesn’t do much for the people in the Africa Bureaux in the International community.

  2. Adil Hasan says:

    From the tiny little bit I read about Dead Aid I’d support her views. I don’t think the investments a total waste of money provided it’s not invested irresponsibly all in one go with no thought about checks to see where the money has gone.

    As with any investment, the investors should be extremely cautious about where their money goes. They should make sure they don’t invest all the money up-front and should fund in phases ensuring work is completed before the next tranche of funding.
    There should be a clear plan along with a clear plan as to how the infrastructure will be maintained and supported after the funds have run out.

    I fully agree Africa should not rely on aid. The aid agencies have been irresponsible for far too long in helping (unwittingly) to prop-up corrupt regimes.

  3. Whitney Lukuku says:

    The fact that Banda, Kabaki, and Motlanthe are tauting the merits of this aid just reinforces Dr. Moyo’s argument. These presidents should be ashamed standing there, cup in hand, when they could have spent that time attracting direct investments.

  4. BRUCE CROFTS says:

    IF THE PROBLEM IS MOVING COPPER
    REFURBISH THE ” TANZAM ” RAILWAY

    KAPIRI TO DAR ES SALAM BC

  5. D Banje says:

    Importer Exporter. Koko water production

Comments are closed.