Aid: Made of Sand?

 

Where does all the money go?

Is the money well spent?

Why are we spending so much?

The UK is to increase the amount of foreign aid by a whacking 35% over the next few years. That will bring the total spend by 2015 to £12 billion, and change.

It’s a rich man’s……

The Government are keen to point out that it supports many laudable programmes via aid:

  • Supporting freer and fairer elections in 5 countries. (Where?)
  • Vaccinates some 12 million kids. (Great)
  • Supports 5.3 million children going to primary school. (Smashing)

And much more beside; but where is the evidence?

There are numerous stories about schools being built but have no equipment. Of others being supplied with computers but have no electricity. Hospitals constructed but without sufficient staff or medicine to cope with demand.

Rwanda

In support of fairer elections the government might point to Rwanda, where since the genocide of 1994 millions of dollars have been poured in. A previous Labour government under Tony Blair, was quick to praise Rwanda and its leader Paul Kagame, for the excellent work carried out. However, in the recent period the UK has withheld £16 million in aid because of a suspicion that the Rwandan government was/is supplying arms and supporting rebels in the Congo.

But, but, but,

Andrew Mitchell, the Conservative minister for International Aid has unfrozen the money and the first tranche of £8 million was released in early October 2012, with the second lot due to in December. The PM, David Cameron, has characterized Rwanda as a ‘success story’. However, Amnesty International says that the Human Rights record in Rwanda is appalling. While the UN, has accused Rwanda of giving aid and weapons to the rebels in the Congo. The leader of the rebel force, Bosco Ntaganda, and his M23 army are suspected of war crimes.

Land locked Rwanda

Why has the aid been re- established? Has Mr Kagame and his government agreed to do what they are told in the future. Were they perhaps looking towards China for help? Was it a case of better the devil you know?

What do Blair, and Cameron, know about Rwanda and its leader Paul Kagame, that no one else seems to know?

It has also emerged that the UK already gives £37 million from the general budget, – not the aid budget. Why is Rwanda so deserving?

There is considerable dispute as to the leadership of Paul Kagame, with several people calling for him to be tried for war crimes and various atrocities and suppression of opposition within Rwanda. Notwithstanding, the UK, the USA, and several Non Governmental Organisations, (NGO) continue to grant substantial amounts of aid to the country.

As aid makes up an estimated 33% of Rwandan government income, it does not take much imagination to see a link between aid and the supply of weapons to the rebel force in the Congo. How long was the suspicion held regarding Rwanda before the aid donors halted the flow of cash? It would seem that aid money was being used and therefore the international aid community were party to criminal activity. Well done guys.

 

Typical farm worker

Meanwhile, 90% of the population were busy surviving at subsistence level in the country’s agricultural sector. Over 45% of the population live below the poverty line. The main exports are coffee & tea; though the country has to import food. Is it just me or is there something wrong here?

Do the guys who dish out the dosh really know where the money is going and how it is being used? I would have thought that they were bright enough to have ‘intel’ on the ground. Hmm, I might be wrong on both counts.

 

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