It is now becoming more clearer than ever that foreign aid only helps to further trap African economies in an unending quagmire of poverty. It has always been a tool to strangle the economic independence of African countries. The United Kingdom is now admitting the failure of its foreign policy aid, especially in Malawi.
The Southern African country was a darling of foreign aid from the UK. But after a string of scandal, especially the infamous "cashgate" scandal, the UK has now come to terms with how foreign aid has been a dismal failure.
Rory Stewart, a British MP, highlighted this. "The British Government has spent something in the region of £4.5 billion over the past 50 years and Malawi is, if anything, poorer than it was when we started."
The only explanation to this is poor governance and rampant, unfettered corruption. All the money for aid never got to the rest of the population. It ended in the hands of a few elite politicians, business-people and military leaders. This process leads to the disempowerment of the whole population.
The infamous "cashgate" scandal, which resulted in about one-third of the nation's budget being looted, led to Western powers freezing aid to the country. The scandal was a nasty affair - 70 arrests, an investigator being shot, and documents for the probe being stolen.
British aid has done nothing to reduce poverty in the sixth-poorest country on the planet. The factors prevailing in the country do not complement the flow of aid in the country. Corruption, human rights abuses, risk of instability, deteriorating government all work to ensure foreign aid is not effective.
It is always up to the African governments to decide whether they want to work hard for economic independence so that people are empowered, or continue on the path of selfishness and lack of innovation.
Perhaps one day this narrative will change for a number of African countries. But one thing is for sure - foreign aid does not help African economies.
Header image credit - Daily Mail