Is Developmental Aid Stifling Africa’s Growth?

Thilo Thielke makes a bold statement in this recent piece from Spiegel Online: "No one has to starve in Africa. Hunger there results from the failures of unscrupulous rulers — and their friends in the West. Paradoxically, it is the aid workers who are standing in the way of progress." Obviously, I wouldn’t have started Appfrica if I didn’t believe in the power of personal perseverance, free market competition and entrepreneurship. These things are hard to nurture in an environment where everything is handed to you before you ask. Thilo goes on to make a strong case against Aid programs and what he perceives to be the end result... [More]

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  • Jon Gos

    It's a paradox indeed. This is why I feel being proactive about supporting successful ventures in Africa is the better rout to success.

    Also, much like China and the Middle East, one of the larger problems is the various governments. Access to information will make big difference and it will make it much harder for leaders to have complete tyrannical control without resistance.

  • Marianne Bellotti

    As someone who has worked in Africa, Thilo in my mind is not too far off the mark. Aid workers tend to come into these situations with a world view remarkably similar to the imperialists that came before them. That is to say they believe Africans are absolutely incapable of helping themselves and come with the intention of "saving lives"

    Some people change their minds, most do not. But the real problem is the way help is FUNDED. Some aid programs (especially microfinance and Fair Trade) are really helping, but these programs are funded on campaigns of guilt. It's counterproductive because Africans are exposed to this media, so how can you encourage someone to be ambitious and spread this image of Africa as a hopeless place that needs a Western savior at the same time?