AID TOWARDS AFRICA 4
Most African countries, especially in the sub-Saharan region, aredestitute and they have continuously depended on foreign aid tofinance their budgets. Aid can be described as any form of voluntaryassistance from a private institution, country, or an individual.Poverty, hunger, diseases, and lack of skills are some of the primaryreasons why African countries rely on foreign aid. Notably, someAfrican countries such as Nigeria have huge oil reserves, and theycan easily finance their budgets. However, poor leadership andcorrupt governments have rendered such opportunities ineffective(Beshimov, 2014). Some of the major financiers of aid in Africa arethe UN, World Bank, and the International Money Fund. Essentially,some of the help from these organizations comes in the form oflow-interest loans. The effectiveness of these loans and the helpthat African countries gain has been questioned. There areaccusations that the aid is politically motivated and has left manyAfrican countries in huge debts.
The World Bank and the IMF have been offering aid to the Africancountries for centuries. The fund numerous development projects, fundeducation and healthcare, as well as offer financial assistanceduring times of drought and hunger. Since most Africa countriescannot fully finance their budgets, the borrow 40 to 50% funds tofund their budgets. Despite these foreign aid or loan havinglow-interest rates, most countries have been unable to pay the loans.In the year 2014, IMF committed over $17 billion to African nations(Beshimov, 2014). It is also essential to note that theseinstitutions offer technical and advisory support to Africancountries. The aid African countries receive from these organizationsalso comes in the form of security equipment or money to buy modernsecurity equipment. This is in countries such as Kenya, which isfacing the threat of the terrorist group Al-Shabaab based in Somalia.
Notably, aid from the World Bank and IMF has come under sharpcriticism in recent years. This is purely on the basis of theconditions that are tied to the aid. It is essential to remember thatthese organizations are primarily funded by the G-7 countries andespecially the U.S. and Germany. As such, the decisions made by theseorganizations serve the interests of these countries (Beshimov,2014). Countries in African that have discovered oil such as Libyahave received various conditions such as a change in leadership inorder to receive any foreign aid. The World Bank and the IMFdetermine how the aid they give poor African countries will beutilized. The force certain financial policies to countries seekingaid from them. This has been widely criticized by agencies arguingthat the assistance should be given on the basis of need and not onthe form of leadership or government policies.
The United Nations aid to African has been less controversialcompared to the one from IMF and World Bank. In fact, the U.N. Tradeand Development Agency (UNCTAD) has been in the frontline seeking thestreamlining of how these organizations offer aid to Africancountries (Beshimov, 2014). The UN has continued to provide aid interms of food, security personnel, medicines and education materialsto African countries. Notably, the UN does not have many conditionstied to their aid and many African countries have benefited immenselyfrom the support they receive from the organization.
While concluding, the assistance that the IMF, World Bank and theU.N. offer to African countries must be based on the needs and not onthe governance of such countries. Since aid is given voluntarily, itis essential for the G-7 funded organizations to offer loans and aidwithout conditions. There is no doubt that many African countries aredestitute and they need aid. However, when such aid is tied to someconditions such as a change in governance and government financepolicies, there is little success that is achieved.
Beshimov, B. (2014). Why foreign aid fails – and how to reallyhelp Africa. North Eastern University, college of professionalstudies.