SONGOT, KENYA - FEBRUARY 03: Distribution of food in North Kenya, Nomadic people are receiving different staple goods, Close-up of a Nomadic Man holding a bag of grain. (Photo by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images)
  (Photo by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images)

Over the past 60 years at least 1 trillion dollars of development-related aid has been transferred from reach countries to Africa. Yet real per-capita income today is lower than it was in the 70s, and more than 50% of the population, over 350 million people, live on less than a dollar a day, a figure that has nearly doubled in two decades.”

For decades core developed countries have been granting the developing ones huge amounts of money, food, medicines and fuel as AID all in the name of development, and upon that, it seems like it hasn’t changed the situation in any of the poor countries, instead corruption still persists, the economic growth is still very slow and a lot of people still live in poverty. The biggest criticism of aid is linked to corruption as aid flows that are meant to help the average African, end up supporting bureaucracies, as a matter of fact before the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in May 2004, Jeffrey Winters, a professor of Northwester University, said that the World Bank had participated in the corruption of 100 million dollars of loan funds intended for development (Moyo, 2009).

Therefore the obvious conclusion is that only AID is not that helpful especially if they are just given amounts of money without any form of infrastructure, guidelines or training. Thus, I ask myself, is that he best way to help? This heavy criticism to many forms of aid started in the 70s when dependency thinkers started viewing it as a tool of domination and exploitation. They doubted that it could be an effective means for reducing poverty in the Third World, they thought that those measures would be only beneficial to privileged class in those poor countries, and that leads to more corruption, as aid gets into the hand of few people, who decide what to do with it (Burnell 2008, p. 506).

It’s funny how developing countries today, are being so constrained in their national development strategies by proliferating regulations formulated and enforced by international organizations (Hunter Wade 2003). In order words the developed nations set some regulations that aim not to limit companies options, but on the contrary they are about limiting the options of developing country government to restrict the options of companies to operated within their territory. As a matter of fact those regulations, with the help of international organisation, are aimed to increase the options of core countries and make it more accessible for them to enter and exit markets more easily. These countries, especially USA and the UK, are trying to legitimize intrusion into the economies of developing countries. As a result both the US and the EU have not followed through on their general commitments to improve market access for developing countries and both have kept large parts of their economies off the negotiating table (Hunter Wade, 2003 p. 622). Therefore the development space for upgrading policies in developing countries is being shrunk caused by universal liberalization and privatization. The self determination space of the Third World countries also gets contracted as they can’t take decisions about their economy due to the fact that those same rules set by the developed countries (as well as international organisation) definitely prevent developing countries from pursuing their kind of industrial and technological policies adopted by new developed countries (in Asia such as India and China) and by older developed countries when they where developing. So, at this point I ask myself, why are developed countries limiting market access and opportunities to poor countries, by imposing laws that are not beneficial to them, but give them aid and yet expected developing countries to improve their situation and reduce poverty?

We all need to remember that aid is not free and it createsnothing but dependency! It fuels corruption, and African governments will never be motivated to use the funds properly. The solution to the Third world’s poverty is GOOD GOVERNANCE (as in picking the best process to implement decisions) as no country can be developed from outside.


Burnell, P. (2008): “Foreign aid in a changing world” pp. 503-507 In: Desai V. & Robert B. The comparison to development studies. 2nd ed. Publisher: Hodder Education

Hickney, S. (2012): Beyond “Poverty reduction through Good Governance”: The new political economy of development in Africa. New political economy journal, vol. 17, no. 5 pp. 683-690

Hunter Wade, R. (2003): “What strategies are viable for developing countries today? The World Trade Organization and the shrinking of ‘development space’”, Review of international Political Economy, vol. 10, no.4 pp. 621-644. Available from:

Moyo, D. (2009): “Why foreign aid is hurting Africa” Available from: [Accessed 5/12/2015]

Jessica Obah


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