The role of foreign aid in the underdevelopment of the states in Sub–Saharan Africa
Sithole, Kaiser John
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Since the end of the Second World War the states of sub-Saharan Africa have been subjected to a seemingly irreversible spiral of poverty as well as social, political and economic underdevelopment. This underdevelopment occurred despite the fact that large amounts of bilateral and multilateral foreign aid have been channelled to the region during this period. The channelling of foreign aid to the region coincided with the following global developmental occurrences: * 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. In terms of per capita income and social welfare sub-Saharan Africa is classified as the most impoverished region in the world. For this reason this study does not focus on a specific case study of a state in the region. The focus rather falls on the development challenges facing the region as a whole. Currently the region is so underdeveloped that it seems unlikely the Millennium Development Goals of poverty reduction will be met by 2015. Although this research acknowledges that a variety of internal and external factors contributed to the above underdevelopment, the focus falls on foreign aid as a causal factor of underdevelopment. In order to elaborate on foreign aid as one of the imperatives that stimulated underdevelopment in sub-Saharan Africa, a neo-Marxist approach is followed. In this regard the World System theory is employed as basic point of departure of research. It is believed that, in many instances, the structure of the World System itself can be exploitative in nature and can stimulate underdevelopment. An explanatory link is therefore established with the format and forms of foreign aid as causes of underdevelopment in sub-Saharan Africa. The study goes further by highlighting the current challenges that face the region as well as the contemporary international guidelines for the channelling of foreign aid. Here a specific emphasis is placed on poverty reduction, the Millennium Development Goals as well as the 2008 Gleneagles foreign aid commitments by the developed states. In the final analysis the study concludes that there seem to be no clear cut short term solutions to development challenges in the region. Recommendations and suggestions on how to improve the effectiveness of foreign aid are however made. In the absence of clear cut solutions it is evident that the effective use of the different forms of foreign must be based on a willingness to succeed. This willingness to succeed can be strengthened by mutual cooperation, commitment, goodwill and trust between developed and developing states. It also remains important that a state specific approach be followed during the channelling and utilisation of foreign aid.
- Humanities