Assessing Aid to Africa

The continent of Africa represents some of the world’s most impoverished and underdeveloped regions in the world. The site of frequent conflict and natural disasters, the people of Africa often find themselves in dire need of international aid.

Aid to Africa takes on a multitude of form, and varies based on the source of the aid, the level of need, and the location where it is delivered. The process is far more complicated than it appears on the surface.

Initially, aid to Africa is distinguished by the form it takes on. For example, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank provide loans to developing countries, but these loans often come with major strings attached and high interest rates.

These loans still qualify as aid to Africa. Other organizations are more charitable. For example, the Red Cross gives as much as they can, even in the face of violence. Still other organizations mean well, but end up causing problems.

For example, USAID has tried on multiple occasions to provide food aid to central Africa, but because they use genetically modified crops, the food goes to waste in storage facilities.

Aid to Africa is often made difficult by conflict occurring in the countries it is intended for. In the Greater Horn of Africa, conflict runs rampant. Between the genocide occurring in the Sudan and the wars being waged in Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia, the region is not a safe place for aid workers. This makes it tremendously hard to get the aid to the people who need it the most.

Natural disasters also create their own road blocks, metaphorically speaking. In a lot of African countries, if you are not in a metropolitan area, the roads are in bad repair and best and non-existent at worst, making it next to impossible for aid workers to get to the people who need help.

However, even in a world where violence, nature or internal politics aren’t getting in the way of delivering aid to Africa, it is quite possible that the governments overseeing the countries will.

Western nations delivering aid are often seen as imperialist, and trying to advance a political agenda. As a result, governments in Africa will often deny access to aid workers to the most needy parts of their country, which limits the scope of aid to Africa.

Aid to Africa is desperately needed, but it is also a convoluted process. The effectiveness of the aid often depends on who is giving it, where it is going, and who is receiving it. Hopefully, this process will become more simple in the future.