Acton Institute Powerblog

Africans to Bono: “Stop!”

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Here’s a great story by Jennifer Brea touching on a lot of favorite Acton topics. Brea observes that many Africans are getting wise to the fact that Western direct aid may be hurting more than helping their continent. We’ve long decried government-to-government aid and advocated expanded trade instead. More pointed is the article’s indictment of private charitable aid as well. Brea concedes the positive dimensions of such charity, but argues convincingly that Africans’ welfare really lies in the hands of Africans themselves—and in the creativity and entrepreneurship that can only be fully realized when full responsibility is also theirs.

Another interesting piece of the story: Treating Africans as “partners” in the global economy rather than as beneficiaries of global charity is what has helped China take a leading role in the region. That’s a theme that Anthony Bradley broached in his commentary last month.

Kevin Schmiesing Kevin Schmiesing, Ph.D., is a research fellow for the research department at the Acton Institute. He is a frequent writer on Catholic social thought and economics, is the author of American Catholic Intellectuals, 1895-1955 (Edwin Mellen Press, 2002) and is most recently the author of Within the Market Strife: American Catholic Economic Thought from Rerum Novarum to Vatican II (Lexington Books, 2004). Dr. Schmiesing holds a Ph.D. in American history from the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.A. in history from Franciscan University ofSteubenville. Author of Within the Market Strife and American Catholic Intellectuals, 1895—1955 (2002), he serves as Book Review Editor for the Journal of Markets & Morality. He is also executive director of


  • Florence

    I worked in Haiti for many years, and in India with Mother Teresa and what I noticed was that most of the money and materials that came in the form of charity, especially in Haiti, never reached the poor…Mother Teresa gave all she received but not all that was sent was received…in Haiti, obviously the corrupt government and their henchmen took most charitble gifts, money and materials. I think it would be better to send teams into Third World companies to set up building, farming, teaching programs that the native people could be trained to take part in. Bring the materials for building and then teach the people how to farm, to build, to teach, etc…why haven’t we learned that most of the funds going to Third World Countries goes into the pockets of the dictators, while the poor continue to go hungry and without education and medical care, or proper housing, or water, etc?…Florence