BBC BLOGS - Andrew Harding on Africa
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Aid to Africa?

Andrew Harding | 10:55 UK time, Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Apologies if you've seen this before but I thought it worth stirring into the mix in the context of the Millennium Goals update with its call for billions more in aid to Africa.

The anti-aid argument is not new of course but is it gaining traction?

I spoke to one of the writers of the letter, Andrew Mwenda, in Kampala, who said he had received hundreds of messages of support from around Africa, and only a handful of queries or criticisms - mainly from the "West".

"Aid used to be such a cool thing to talk about," he told me, "but in academic and intellectual circles the argument for aid has significantly diminished."

The original letter is short, provocative, and simplistic. Andrew acknowledged as much, agreeing that there "should not be one blanket aid [or anti-aid] policy for all of Africa," and that in many places, including his own Uganda, aid has been "critical to reconstruction."

The Millenium report itself welcomes the dramatic surge in foreign investment the continent has experienced in the past few years. Another fund just launched here,
and a famous pop star close behind...

But the report also rightly laments the lack of progress on key international trade negotiations, and points out that economic growth has not yet shown signs of trickling down to improve the lives of most Africans.


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