Friday, July 25, 2014

Africa: " I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. "

Health Poverty Action blogs

The true story of Africa’s billion dollar losses

Today Health Poverty Action, alongside a number of UK and African NGOs, has released research revealing that Africa is losing $192 billion every year to the rest of the world – almost six and a half times the amount of aid given to the continent.

Or in other words the date has changed but that is about all. Lord Ashcroft a finer example of greed and mans casual inhumanity to man I have yet to discover sees it like this.

A billionaire lord has urged the British government to "turn off the golden taps" of foreign aid and stop pandering to "St Bob and Bono".

Lord Michael Ashcroft, who made his debut on the Forbes billionaire list this year with an estimated worth of $US1 billion, has written an open letter to newly-appointed International Development Secretary Justine Greening, cheekily signing off "Michael xx".

"At a time when libraries are being closed and people with disabilities face benefit cuts, there is growing fury over giving away ever-increasing sums to foreigners," Lord Ashcroft wrote in the letter, published on a conservative blog. "
It would seem that if the " Golden Taps " were turned off it wouldn't be us in the west doing the turning. 

This research is the first attempt to calculate Africa’s losses across a wide range of areas. These include: illicit financial flows; profits taken out of the continent by multinational companies; debt repayments; brain drain of skilled workers; illegal logging and fishing and the costs incurred as a result of climate change.

All fair enough but most are quite difficult to quantify, how do you calculate " brain drain " ? I suspect the figures are far higher than the estimates above. Think about it. Then think about how much of the money flowing in to Africa actually stays in Africa and how much simply clears Africa and moves on to western bank accounts. 

These figures highlight the huge disparity between aid and the resources leaving Africa. Health Poverty Action, along with our partner organisations, are calling on the UK government to reassess its focus on ‘aid’ which paints a misleading picture of the UK’s ‘generosity’ towards Africa, and take urgent action to address Britain’s contribution to Africa’s poverty.

Remember the United Kingdom is the inheritor of an empire, the greatest empire the world has ever known. Historically the wealth of a third of the world was at the disposal of that empire. So just how generous are the Brits. 

" The government ring fenced and raised DFID's budget by 34.2 per cent, to £11.5bn over the next four years. That outruns Britain's current record spend of 0.56 per cent GDP on overseas aid and will see it rise to 0.7 per cent of GDP in 2013."

0.7 per cent and the rest of the wealthy west are running on similar numbers. In other words we stole everything we could steal and our aid commitments wouldn't even begin to pay the interest had we borrowed what we stole let alone repaying some of the capital. But here is the rub... Lord Ashcroft and his ilk 

" In the letter published yesterday, Lord Ashcroft wrote he had spent much of his life travelling in Africa, Asia and South America and saw the "grinding" poverty.

Did he really see it ? I suggest not. Does he care well Wikipedia gives us some insight

"On 1 March 2010, after 10 years of holding his tax status as private, he revealed that he did not pay tax on his overseas earnings in the UK."

So we have a man who avoids paying tax and now wants to dictate where the people who actually do pay tax are able to spend it. He may sit in the House of Lords but he has never faced an election, he represents greed. "

Martin Drewry, Director of Health Poverty Action said:

“These figures expose the gross misconceptions about aid and ‘charity.’ The common understanding is the UK ‘helps’ Africa through aid, but in reality this serves as a smokescreen for the billions taken out. Let’s use more accurate language. It’s sustained looting – the opposite of generous giving – and we should recognise that the City of London is at the heart of the global financial system that facilitates this. As the general election approaches all party leaders must step up, and outline how they intend to take real responsibility and stop this plundering of Africa. And NGOs need to change too. We need to move beyond our focus on aid levels and communicate the bigger truth – exposing the real relationship between rich and poor and holding leaders to account.” 

" It’s sustained looting "  or in the words of Midnight Oil..

" The time has come, to say fair's fair, to pay the rent, to pay our share. "

Hat Tip Rosebell Kagumire

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