Collective foreign aid and development prospects for sub-Saharan Africa
Van der Elst, Herman
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Since the end of the Second World War in 1945, the states of sub-Saharan Africa have been subjected to a seemingly irreversible spiral of poverty as well as social, political and economic unpredictability, causing continued underdevelopment. This underdevelopment occurred despite the fact that a total of $568 billion of bilateral and multilateral foreign aid have been channelled to the region during the abovementioned period. This channelling of foreign aid coincided with, and was motivated by decolonisation in the post-Second World War dispensation, the Cold War dispensation, the energy crisis of the 1970s, the post-Cold War dispensation, and the era of trade bloc formation and expansion (global developmental time frames). The most recent so-called “big push” initiative to kick start development in the region was the adoption and implementation of the (pro-poor) eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the United Nations (UN) in 2000. This initiative was supported by the adoption of the G8, Gleneagles commitment on aid and debt relief in 2005. From a global perspective, the MDGs seem to be successful in poverty reduction efforts in specifically Asia and South America. There is, however, consensus amongst most academics and thinkers that the MDGs will not be met in sub-Saharan Africa before the target date of 2015. The reality is that the levels of underdevelopment remain high and are even escalating. In terms of relevance and scholarly contribution, this article seeks to analytically describe and explain the presumed failure of collective foreign aid, and suggests ways and means to stimulate development in sub-Saharan Africa in the years to come.