26 June 2005

Assessing Corruption in Nigeria

Nigerian expat Abiola of Foreign Dispatches notes a report in the Telegraph of 25 June 2005 about the extent of corruption in Nigeria.
Here's why scepticism over the world-changing impact of yet more aid and debt forgiveness is thoroughly justified.
The scale of the task facing Tony Blair in his drive to help Africa was laid bare yesterday when it emerged that Nigeria's past rulers stole or misused £220 billion.

That is as much as all the western aid given to Africa in almost four decades. The looting of Africa's most populous country amounted to a sum equivalent to 300 years of British aid for the continent....

The stolen fortune tallies almost exactly with the £220 billion of western aid given to Africa between 1960 and 1997. That amounted to six times the American help given to post-war Europe under the Marshall Plan.
I can't close this post without including the following excerpt, which goes to show that lots of sensible Nigerians understand all too well something a lot of foreign know-it-alls seem incapable of grasping.
The G8 has refused to cancel Nigeria's loans, despite writing off the debts of 14 other African countries this month.

Prof Pat Utomi, of Lagos Business School, said that was the right decision. "Who is to say you won't see the same behaviour again if it is all written off?" he said.
A lively discussion ensues in the comments to Abiola's blogpost.

Colby Cosh has a related post that quotes John Lennon at some length:
Lennon Where do people get off saying the Beatles should give $200,000,000 to South America? You know, America has poured billions into places like that. It doesn't mean a damn thing. After they've eaten that meal, then what? It lasts for only a day. After the $200,000,000 is gone, then what? It goes round and round in circles. You can pour money in forever. After Peru, then Harlem, then Britain. There is no one concert. We would have to dedicate the rest of our lives to one world concert tour, and I'm not ready for it. Not in this lifetime, anyway.
And Black Star Journal links to a new BBC World Service documentary on The Aid Trap:
In the run-up to July's G8 summit Britain is calling for the world's richest nations to treble the amount of development aid. But is Aid really a solution to the causes of poverty?

Many economists challenge the idea that aid offers an escape to the poverty trap. Some say it may even create a trap of dependency and corruption all its own. We visit the two poorest countries in the World, according to the United Nations, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

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