The politics of food aid in Africa

Document Type:Thesis

Subject Area:Cultural Studies

Document 1

The controversy is whether the food aid given to sub Saharan African countries is helpful to them. African countries depend so much on the food aid that they have failed to address the issue completely. They have become a slave of the western countries that provide them with food. The problem of the African countries is that they lack a food reserve system that can be of help especially when there is a crisis like drought in any parts of their country. However, research shows how rich the content that receives aid is. The greatest challenge facing African farmers is a lack of technology and low chances to sell their yields. The prices for their hard grown food is relatively very low making it hard for them to gain even from domestic selling of food.

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These among other challenges continues to make Africa a slave to food aid. While food aid to Africa may seem to be a good deal, there are so many questions that surround the genuineness of the food western countries give to the Africans. The truth is that they do not spend so much money for aid in Africa for nothing. It is a sign of their ‘goodness’ to the Africans. This is not as simple as it looks. Even though the Africans received their independence from colonialists, modern colonialism is being practiced by these rich countries. During the old colonial times, the western countries would forcefully take wealth from African countries. Today, they steal wealth from them in disguise for helping them.

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One might wonder the source of the huge outflows. African countries have been made to believe that the western countries are helping them while in real sense they are using them to expand their economies. The food aid that they receive from the western countries are aimed to foster good relation with them. In return, they take a lot of money as loan to be able to develop their countries. The result is that the interests on those loan become very huge and difficult to pay. It is a realization that the western countries do not have the interest of the Africans at heart when giving food aid. If so, why don’t they formulate strategies to help people of African origin depend on themselves? It is because they want to use that as a means to bring African close and siphon all their wealth and make them beg from them.

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The Chinese dealings with the African continent are questionable. There is a heated debate in Africa about the economic ties that China has with the continent. The late Michael Sata who was a president in Zambia accused China of being “infestors” instead of investors in Africa. Most of Africa’s export to China is raw materials which they use to grow their industries. Because of rapid growth of China’s industry sector, they were in dire need for oil and other raw materials. Africa was in return a potential source for these which is why China is so close to Africa. They have invested so much in Africa. While helping Africa through aid, they are gaining a lot form investments and raw materials.

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A certain documentary, ‘Stealing Africa’ by Christoffer Guldbrandsen exposes more evidence on why Africa will continue becoming poor while the western countries get rich at their expense (Christoffer). Christoffer talks about a Swiss company which was making billions of money from mining copper in Zambia while in contrast the country is ranked top twenty among the poorest in the world. It is surprising that organizations like International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank were among those who sold the mines which has led to the poverty rates in Zambia. The documentary reveals a village; Ruschlikon in Swizerland who had very low tax rates and the residents are rich It is sad yet surprising that Glencore makes a lot from mining copper in Zambia that the mayor can’t consume it all.

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