Saturday, January 30, 2010

Arm Chair Politics: the aid question.

"If you had to choose between getting rid of all the Development Partners in say five years time, or keeping the relationship as it is and continuing to receive aid, what would you do?" I was asked this last night, after a long and candid conversation about aid, development, politics and personal agendas. I was a few glasses into my membership in the Red Wine Political Party (In Vino Veritas), so the question triggered a powerful fantasy- you know the one about having a real chance to bring change?

I said that I would choose the first option, if in those five years I was able to make up the aid deficit through bi and multi-lateral trade agreements that favored Tanzania, increased foreign direct investment, internal trade green industrialization, smart agriculture, a booming services sector, a small but solid base of mining/oil. And high-quality low-volume tourism.

What would you have said?


  1. I'd said the same thing, but included some serious dealing with the corrution and the distribution of wealth (and hope that you didn't mean 'Kilimo Kwanza' by smart agriculture...


  2. Who would decide otherwise?? I agree with the fact that it is new and fair trade agreements together with non-corrupt and efficient bureaucracy and politicians that are needed most.

  3. What she said. I actually thought the 2005 Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative would have been a good point to write off debt - and in return also stop aid.

    But it's not gonna happen. All those poverty administrators would be out of a job. They'd also be out of a job if poverty actually disappeared. Interesting incentives.

  4. What do you mean Pernille? Kilimo Kwanza is a wonderful policy! Heh. Redistribution is...complicated. I kept away from the C-word because I find that it has a bizarrely hypnotic effect and tends to derail conversation into activism-speak. It doesn't make sense to me, to talk about redistribution unless there is some kind of wide-reaching productive platform, i.e. something to redistribute. And sometimes, this means doing business and keeping the petty politics (yes, even the economic crusades) out of the way of tangible productivity. Its a delicate balance, but maybe the neoliberals are not completely crazy...

  5. I would also vote for No More Aid. But yes, we would need a level playing field... Nobody ever accused countries of playing fair though, so.
    The poverty administrators can become consultants like everyone else.

  6. well we all know i am for Aid to be stopped immediately. as it is we already owe so much. i dont see how anyone in their right mind would keep throwing more money our way. i tend to agree with Pernille on the corruption factor, and once aid has been halted and no more excuses can be given to the citizens maybe just maybe we will see the social revolution that this country so desperately needs. as dreamer (ok let me take that back...) but really i do think that the only way some of these things will be turned on its head (such as the foul education system, health system etc) is when we as citizens really take on our reponsibilities. and please lets not talk about poverty, yes we do have some areas in this country where people live in abject poverty but most of us are actually able to get by most of the time. now that doesnt remove the fact that its still pathetic but its a long way from virtually starving. as for most of the poverty administrators, they way past their sell by date!


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