August 9, 2018

Poverty: Foreign aid doing Nigeria more harm than good – Kalu

By Luminous Jannamike

ABUJA –  Prof. Kenneth Kalu of the Ryerson University Canada has decried the culture of dependency on foreign aid by countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, saying it has done more harm than good to the people.

According to him, aid from foreign governments and agencies to Africa in past fifty years have been successful only in soothing the pains of poverty but failed to eradicate or significantly reduce its level.

In a chat with journalists in Abuja on Thursday, Kalu, the author of groundbreaking book Foreign Aid and the Future of Africa, noted that lack of financial or human resources was not the root cause of poverty and underdevelopment but the nature of political and economic institutions that exist in the country.

He said: “During the past 50 years, Sub-Saharan Africa has received more foreign aid than has any other region of the world. Despite this high level of intervention by foreign donors, poverty has remained endemic in the continent and the region occupies the unenviable position as the centre of global poverty.

“The observed abject poverty does not necessarily imply that foreign aids to Nigeria has been useless. Rather, the poverty and misery in the land shows that the current regime of foreign aid which focuses on sending money and other materials to the country does not have the capacity to procure development or eradicate poverty. Foreign aid can only soothe the pains of poverty but cannot eradicate or even reduce poverty levels significantly.

“Consequently, the need for more aid is as canvassed by the UN and the global aid industry is wrongheaded, if the overall aim is to curb poverty. In order to fight poverty, the most appropriate approach is to target the root causes of poverty. Any developmental programme that fails to take a critical look at the state and its institutions would only be scratching the surface of Nigeria’s development challenges.”