by Yanique Dawkins, Atlanta Black Star
Western countries are using aid to Africa as a smokescreen to hide the “sustained looting” of the continent as it loses nearly $60bn a year through tax evasion, climate change mitigation, and the flight of profits earned by foreign multinational companies, the Guardian quoted as a group of NGOs as saying.
Although sub-Saharan Africa receives $134bn each year in loans, foreign investment and development aid, research released on Tuesday by a group of UK and Africa-based NGOs suggests that $192bn leaves the region, leaving a $58bn shortfall.
According to the report, while Western countries send about $30bn in development aid to Africa every year, more than six times that amount leaves the continent, “mainly to the same countries providing that aid.”
The perception that such aid is helping African countries “has facilitated a perverse reality in which the UK and other wealthy governments celebrate their generosity whilst simultaneously assisting their companies to drain Africa’s resources,” the report claims.
It points out that foreign multinational companies siphon $46bn out of sub-Saharan Africa each year, while $35bn is moved from Africa into tax havens around the world annually.
The study, which also notes that African governments spend $21bn a year on debt repayments, calls for the aid system to be overhauled and made more open.
It says aid sent in the form of loans serves only to contribute to the continent’s debt crisis, and recommends that donors should use transparent contracts to ensure development assistance grants can be properly scrutinised by the recipient country’s parliament.
The report was authored by 13 UK and Africa-based NGOs, including: Health Poverty Action, Jubilee Debt Campaign, World Development Movement, African Forum and Network on Debt and Development, Friends of the Earth Africa, Tax Justice Network, People’s Health Movement Kenya, Zimbabwe and UK, War on Want, Community Working Group on Health Zimbabwe, Medact, Healthworkers4All, Friends of the Earth South Africa, JA!Justiça Ambiental/Friends of the Earth Mozambique.