Acton Institute Powerblog

Five ways the West gets African development all wrong: Ibrahim Anoba

World leaders have converged on Africa in recent days, but their development plans may do more harm than good. And increasing foreign aid may be their worst proposal yet, writes Ibrahim B. Anoba in a new essay for Acton’s Religion & Liberty Transatlantic website.

“Limiting the power of the government and its cronies, and tempering bureaucratic overreach with a firm respect for individual rights, are prerequisites for economic progress,” writes Anoba, acting executive director of the African Liberty Organization for Development.

He gives the background before noting the “five ways the West gets African development all wrong”:

In the last few weeks, Africa witnessed two major events that could influence the continent’s economic landscape in the coming decades. First was the visit by British Prime Minister Theresa May and her pledge of $5.1 billion in investments continent-wide, as the UK prepares for life after Brexit. Next followed the gesture of Chinese President Xi Jinping, who offered $60 billion in loans and aid to African leaders at the Forum for China-Africa Cooperation in Beijing. These two offers ironically sum up the status of the continent: Africa is the new economic frontier that needs a tremendous amount of help – and the proper way to help is seldom understood by the West. Unfortunately, what development efforts should promise, and how they should be implemented, are questions both African leaders and their partners have gotten wrong for years. But here are a few things the world must understand about helping Africa.

“A seemingly altruistic policy is only truly noble when it is applied with a thorough consideration of all its consequences,” he concludes.

Read his full essay here.

(Photo credit: Global Justice. CC BY 2.0.)

Rev. Ben Johnson

Rev. Ben Johnson is the former Executive Editor of the Acton Institute's flagship journal Religion & Liberty.