Aid helps the poor. Think Again!
by Waleed Ali Khan
I know a lot of people back home feel like I should be helping Pakistan instead doing trips in Rwanda teaching children about technology. I myself feel a bit weird helping out others before helping my own. However, to me, poverty and hardship does not know any religious or national identity. These basic on-ground assistance that my team offered could potentially change lives and could make these children make wise decisions when they grow up.
I am approaching the topic today at a macro policy level and not at the individual level. I am not targeting individuals who give charity to the poor but to developed countries who feel like they have done their part by giving aid to the developing world by giving government grants and loans. In fact it is aid in this form that has retarded development in the developing world. The reason why i decided to touch this topic was because I have been reading this book by Dambisa Moyo named “Dead Aid”, which is written by African judging the poverty problem of Africa. Because this book is written by an African, it is free from the elitist opinions from the western world. She actually provides statistical evidence showing that the more aid a country gets, the less growth it sees.
Just like it is said to be wrong to give money to a healthy beggar on the street, by the same principle it is wrong to give developing governments money and give them freedom to do whatever they want with them. Not only does it bring us down to mere beggars, it gives the government the temptation to be corrupt and greedy. It is just sad that the western world points fingers at us for having corrupt leaders, when it is their policies that made us that way. The charity we get from these governments make us more and more dependent. Furthermore, it is precisely the reason why our governments took longer to privatize and wanted to own all the industries, which is definitely not healthy for a capitalist economy. Even when the western world gives us aid to set up industries, it does so by giving governments the money to do so, and hence makes it difficult for private business to enter the market.
However, there is hope. Organizations such as OLPC, the Foundation for Sustainable Development, and Micro financing companies try to help the developing world at the grassroots level. Every penny donated through these initiatives is immediately used and is effect are are readily shown.