Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ending Aid Dependence

Cover of the book
by Yash Tandon

During my visit to Norway, I followed some classes of International Development Studies. I am very much interested in the topic, also because I have some experience with life in Ghana (both as a volunteer and a business owner).

To me, it is clear that 'aid' as the concept that we understand (or use) it today, is not working.

Good books on this topic are:

Recently, in our local library, I found the Belgian book De rattenvanger van Hameln: De Wereldbank, armoede en ontwikkeling by Francine Mestrum (in Dutch, published by EPO) which discusses the interpretation of 'aid' by the World Bank.

I would like to translate an excerpt of the foreword:

"Unlike solidarity, which is horizontal and takes place between equals, charity is top-down, humiliating those who receive it and never challenging the implicit power relations. In the best of cases, there will be justice someday, high in heaven.
Here on earth, charity doesn't worry injustice.
It just tries to hide it."  [1]
From Upside Down, Eduardo Galeano

This book is written out of anger and concern.

Anger, clearly because of the present state of the world. A world where daily 30.000 people die of poverty. A world were we are told that everything will be alright with more free trade. A world where rich countries have no money to help the poor countries and the poor people, but do have enough to wage war. A world where everything is for sale on the market and the welfare states in the best developed part of the world are being threatened. A world where the most solemn promises are being forgotten and where one pretends that UN conferences don't count anymore. A world where the most powerful call the shots. They decide what has to be done and what hasn't. They decide which promises they will keep and which not.

Concern for the responsiveness of the civil society. The slowness of the alter-globlization (movement) to propose concrete alternatives. The World Social Forum wants to stay an open forum and threefore can't come to a synthesis of what had been told and planned in Porto Alegre or Mumbai. Concern also for the reactions of the development NGOs on the plans for so-called 'poverty reduction', which aren't more than mere pretext in a neoliberal world. Concern because one forgets what development ought to be.

(translated from an excerpt of the foreword in 'De rattenvanger van Hameln' by Francine Mestrum)


No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...