Required Reading

Great Der Spiegel interview here with Kenyan economist James Shikwati. A sample:

SPIEGEL: Mr. Shikwati, the G8 summit at Gleneagles is about to beef up the development aid for Africa…

Shikwati: … for God’s sake, please just stop.

SPIEGEL: Stop? The industrialized nations of the West want to eliminate hunger and poverty.

Shikwati: Such intentions have been damaging our continent for the past 40 years. If the industrial nations really want to help the Africans, they should finally terminate this awful aid. The countries that have collected the most development aid are also the ones that are in the worst shape. Despite the billions that have poured in to Africa, the continent remains poor.

SPIEGEL: Do you have an explanation for this paradox?

Shikwati: Huge bureaucracies are financed (with the aid money), corruption and complacency are promoted, Africans are taught to be beggars and not to be independent. In addition, development aid weakens the local markets everywhere and dampens the spirit of entrepreneurship that we so desperately need. As absurd as it may sound: Development aid is one of the reasons for Africa’s problems. If the West were to cancel these payments, normal Africans wouldn’t even notice. Only the functionaries would be hard hit. Which is why they maintain that the world would stop turning without this development aid.

Read the whole thing (and send a copy to Bono and Saint Bob). The interviewer’s disbelief at hearing such heterodoxy is almost as enjoyable as Shikwati’s bracing good sense.

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18 Responses to “Required Reading”

  1. Ed Driscoll.com Says:

    Not Now John, We’ve Got To Get On With The Show

    Jonah Goldberg looks at Live8 through a gimlet eye:You may be wondering how much money this intercontinental jam session raised for the sick and dying of Africa. Alas, not a farthing. Sir Bob Geldof was very explicit about this point….

  2. Bluepoint Vance Says:

    Indeed send it to St. Bob , Bono and Jessie “Hymietown” Jackson, the next time he speaks of a Marshall plan for our “inner” cities, i.e. his cronies.

  3. Ed Driscoll.com Says:

    Not Now John, We’ve Got To Get On With The Show

    Jonah Goldberg looks at Live8 through a gimlet eye:You may be wondering how much money this intercontinental jam session raised for the sick and dying of Africa. Alas, not a farthing. Sir Bob Geldof was very explicit about this point….

  4. Scott Says:

    Having spent six years in Kenya, I can say there are many people who feel the same as Shikwati.

  5. Publius Pundit Says:

    WILL COLLIER SAYS THIS IS REQUIRED READING

    Vodkapundit posts any interview with a Kenyan economist talking about how development aid has stalled if not destroyed progress in Africa.
    SPIEGEL: Mr. Shikwati, the G8 summit at Gleneagles is about to beef up the development aid for Africa…

    Shik…

  6. Lgude Says:

    I’ve likewise spent a fair amount of time in Zimbabwe and this view squares with what I’ve seen. Many, more than enough, African people are enterprising if given a chance. Unfortunately, the resistribution model of aid undermines that.

  7. Billy Fish Says:

    I’m waiting for all these demonstrators to demand that the African governments reform thier political and economic systems which are the main reason for their impoverishment, but I won’t hold my breath. Easier to ask the self flaggelating West to write a check to ease their conscience rather than make any kind of impact.

    By all rights Africa should be a superpower in terms of agricultural and mineral wealth yet it’s a basket case. Then again when you have rulers like Robert Mugabe who turned the most prosperous nation on the continent into a wasteland, what should one expect?

    But say that to one of the protesters and be met with slurs of racist, fascist, etc etc etc.

  8. winefan Says:

    Will, you are on fire with your recent posts about Pelosi and the Shikwati interview. Great stuff I haven’t seen anywhere else, precisely why I am an avid VodkaPundit reader. Thanks for the outstanding work.

  9. driven Says:

    Finally, someone who understands truth and isn’t afraid to speak it

  10. Jim Waddell Says:

    Excellent post!

  11. grocourt Says:

    Thanks for a great post. We urgently need to “fire” the Jeffrey Sachs academic crowd, and put Mr. Shikwati in charge of developing the intellectual model for how the G-8 should help African economies in the future.

  12. BladeDoc Says:

    I’d pay good money to see the interviewer’s face as Shikati stamped all over his “paladin on a white charger” beliefs. Hilarious.

  13. Easycure Says:

    I want to echo wirefan – you have stepped it up a notch. You’re posting fantastic stuff lately. You should get paid (more).

  14. voxdilecti Says:

    bladedoc, no one could’ve said it any better. Foreign Aid can be blatantly racist at times but I suppose one needs to be an African transplant to fully understand my meaning.

    They’ll love you when you’re in need but when you’re on your own two feet they dont particularly give a damn. Experienced this time and time again from the liberal priveledged in this country and its only a microcosm of global foreign policy.

  15. Parke Says:

    True — it’s provocative to hear this view from Shikwati, and some of the other comments from expats remind me of the severely anti-aid views held by many Peace Corps vets I have known. But, it’s not right to say, “Let’s just wait on ending poverty until African governments become less corrupt.” There are more candidates for blame — the heritage of slavery, colonialism, Cold War bullying, manipulation by multinational corporations, and the very much current-day U.S. and European protectionism, especially through trade-distorting domestic farm subsidies. A thoughtful libertarian like yourself, dissatisfied with the pro-aid line, should still push the United States and Europe toward some self-reflection and constructive action.

  16. INCITE Says:

    Aid to Africa: Please Stop

    You absolutely, positively, MUST read this interview with an African economist conducted by the German Spiegel.

  17. The World According to Nick Says:

    Stop Helping Us

    VodkaPundit points to this interview in Der Spiegel as required reading… and I have to agree. It is with an African economist who is not only asking, he’s practically begging Western governments to stop giving aid to Africa… and for good reason.

  18. Inside Larry's head Says:

    Clearly we should send more Aid to Africa

    Let me dig out of the Way back machine something from an earlier post of mine

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