In Your Face

In Your Face
Thought provoking opinions on topical issues.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Make Poverty History

There is currently quite a media frenzy over the forthcoming concert in aid of the "Make Poverty History" campaign.

People are being encouraged to go along to the concert, march on the G8 summit at Gleneagles and to buy a white wristband.

The idea being that this will spur world leaders into canceling the debt owed by Africa, and to channel more aid to that region.

This is all very well and good. However, it is naive in the extreme:
  • Canceling the debt will not serve the people of the region. At some stage they will need to borrow more money, those that have lent money in the past and have had that debt cancelled will not be inclined to lend more money in the future.

  • Channeling large sums of money into Africa does the people of the region little good. The majority of that money goes straight into the pockets of the corrupt leaders of Africa, as they equip themselves with ever more luxurious palaces and larger fleets of presidential aircraft. Until Africa addresses its internal corruption, money sent there will never reach its target. In fact aid does nothing more than perpetuate the corruption.

  • The purchase of the white wristband has turned into a nothing more than an egotistical fashion statement. People are using the band to pretend that they care, and to go along with the media frenzy that has accompanied this campaign.

  • The white wristbands have been made by sweat shop labour in China, the purchase of these fashion items in fact does more harm than good; by lining the pockets of the sweat shop owners.
The solution to Africa's ills lies in the hands of Africans, not ours.

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