We’re being asked to make poverty history today. But we need to make corruption history first.
African governments are some of the most corrupt in the world. And until corruption ends, poverty will always exist
The events of today are about calling for the African debt to be dropped. But where did all the money go? The poor, sometimes starving people of Africa have little to show for all that dept.
You need to look at the wealth of the governments, leaders, heads of state, sovereigns and ruling families of Africa.
Like the king of Swaziland, who a few months ago bought BMWs for each of his 10 wives (at a cost of $820,000). And not to be out done, the king bought himself a $500,000 Maybach – possibly the most luxurious car you can buy, with on-board TVs, DVD players and a whopping 21-speaker surround sound system.
Where did all that money come from? It certainly didn’t come from trade – Africa exports just 2% of the world’s trade. Everyday a third of Swaziland’s population rely on UN aid handouts just to survive.
Don’t forget it will almost certainly be our tax money that will be used to relieve the debt. But if we “drop the debt” without tackling the corruption in Africa first, then we’re effectively consenting to our money being given to the ruling classes of corrupt African countries whilst the poor continue to have nothing.
Is anybody else out there wondering about the irony of the gift bags(purportedly worth $12k apiece)being presented to the performers at a world wide event meant to raise awareness for extreme poverty? I have been on board with this whole gig since first hearing about it last winter. I’ve signed everything, gotten everybody I know to sign, purchased the wristbands, spread the word to anyone who would listen (& some who wouldn’t)signed on to Care.org to make automatic monthly donations to the poorest of the poor, all in all trying to do my part, so this whole “gift-bag” thing has me reeling at the irony of it all! Here’s a thought: How about the co’s who are so generously giving to the gift bags instead make a comparable donation to the cause these concerts are all about????!!!! Just a thought!!!!
The money goes in and out, the money live 8 generates goes to the same corrupt western governments that oppress Africa in the first place. Africa’s corruption isnt the only corruption that exists, as most of the problems generated in Africa have a lot to do with corrupt governments in western societies.
Absolutely ! If corruption is Killed, Poverty will almost be killed as well, but how do you achieve that ?
Issues such as corruption are one of the key reasons that Jubilee 2000 didn’t merely call for debt cancellation, but called for it to take place “through a fair and transparent process”. Throughout the history of the debt buildup in developing countries there has been corruption on both sides, and lenders are just as guilty as the borrowers. For example, the rampant corruption in Mobutu’s government was well known, but that never prevented lending.
Stamping out corruption is going to take a long time, and debt relief for poverty reduction is needed now. There are many proposals on the table relating to new mechanisms to channel money directly to citizen groups which can ensure that the funds currently used for debt repayment go to poverty reduction projects (for one example, see the final chapters of Noreena Hertz’s “The Debt Threat”).
If the creditor governments really believed that corruption needs to be stamped out, they’d be more proactive about it. As it is, the status quo affords them considerable power over the indebted countries and the corruption card is a useful one to play in favour of maintaining the status quo.
It’s never going to be an easy issue to resolve, but it is very sad that so little headway has been made when there are a number of workable proposals on the table.
I hear you. I’ve blogged about this a bit myself. And the gift bags…somebody should definitely get all over that.
[…] cording Live8, I have noted some extremely interesting thoughts from others: Ben Metcalf: Make Corruption History We’re being asked to make poverty history to […]
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