Africa should reject the Western familiarity
By Goldino Nyamugabwa
Last week, the whole world woke up to the news of a three-year deal worth 30 million pounds that was signed between Rwanda Development Board and Arsenal Football Club- a partnership that is aimed at boosting tourism as well as sport in the country among other exchange programmes.
This news was greeted with great euphoria in Rwanda and beyond, and in Uganda; social media was awash with comparisons between these two countries.
This development however, has irked the western world with many wondering why their respective countries should continue to give aid to Rwanda, with some columnists in the Daily Mail - UK-based paper - suggesting that the president of Rwanda who is a long time admirer of the club, donated the money to his team [to them, it was a donation], while others invoked the expected labels of âdictatorâ, âdesp otâ and one headline read âwhy do we give 60 million pounds to a despot who lies about poverty levels in his countryâ?
This only confirms the assertion that aid which the continent receives has never been that to help her to develop but rather one to keep her in perpetual poverty. The persisting and seemingly intractable problems bedeviling the continent can be substantially traced in her relationship with the Western world in which Africa has been treated as an object of charity rather than a development partner with which they can work on equal basis. Worthy mentioning, is the fact that the phenomenon of foreign aid has had grave consequences for the continent and as Dambisa Moyo noted in his famous book titled âDead aidâ, it [aid] has not only been ineffective but malignant.
From slave trade to colonialism and now the continent is grappling with the sore taste of neo-colonialism as âAfrican helpersâ want to determine the actions, policies, and the decision making processes of Africans. Consequently, year in year out, Africa is repatriating millions of dollars to their banks and governments. In Uganda, 23 per cent of our 2017/18 National budget went to interest payment and this situation is widespread across the continent and one cannot help but conclude that the outsiders are motivated by all and/or insincere motives.
If their aid was to help Africa to fight poverty, grow strong domestic economies, and eventually take care of themselves, why would they be surprised that after so many years of their financial aid, an African country can strike a partnership worth 30 million pounds with a football club in their backyard?, wouldnât that be their ultimate target?-to partner with Africa in the development process, and where are the projects in Africa worth the money they claim to be injecting into the continent? And to ask the most obvious, who installs and maintains these dictators in power?
The whole hullabaloo about this partnership signifies the selfish nature of the western world and if Africa must make a positive stride on the development ladder, it must wean itself of this aid and begin to chart its own economic and political Blue print. Africa has latent potentials- both human and mineral resources-to spur development and as thus must reject this Western familiarity.
Writer is a student of the Uganda Martyrs University
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