The question of international aid to developing countries in Africa is one of the most controversial subjects in modern development. Even more controversial it is when summits and/or conferences are held and hosted by countries that actually aid the African countries. At first glance it’s very noble deed. However, when scrutinized deeply questions are raised. This paper concentrates on the recently and first ever U. S - African Leaders’ Summit under the theme “Investing in the Next Generation”. The aim of this essay is to provide an objective view of this summit and also on the views given by a number of development analysts with regards to the summit.
To begin with it’s vital to give some ...view middle of the document...
Retrieved 29th January 2014)
The summit was the first such event hosted by the United States. It signalled both continuity in long-standing U.S.-African cooperation and increasing U.S. engagement with Africa on numerous fronts—particularly with regard to trade and investment, following strong economic growth on the continent and a marked rise in U.S. development assistance to Africa since 2000. It may also be interpreted as a U.S. response to the increased pace of African economic and political engagement with a wide range of major or rising economic powers, including China, Japan, the European Union, France, India, Brazil, and Malaysia. (http://www.whitehouse.gov/us-africa-leaders-summit)
At the end of the summit were a number of noticeable occurrences like the renewing of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), described by many as most friendly piece of legislation passed. It facilitates duty-free exports of African goods to the US. There was also the introduction of a new project called the Power Africa Initiative. This projects plans to provide electricity to an estimated 60 million consumers. Thirdly and fourthly was the launching of Trade Africa and Young African Leaders Initiative to emphasize the theme. All generally deal with improving the continent’s capacity to grow economically.
In my objective view, the summit and the focus were right. This summit brought out as many others have, although slightly differently, the ideology of African solutions for African problems becoming the order of the day. It provided an opportunity to draw out themes guiding U.S engagement in Africa emphasis being on the shift away from a government-to-government, aid-based relationship to an emphasis on the U.S private sector and the focus on various initiatives. Major corporations like Coca-Cola, Citigroup, IBM, Ford Motor, Lockheed Martin etc. showed interest and enthusiasm in partnering with Africa. (Pace J, 2014)
This, in my view is extremely more beneficial than government, more so donor aid. The purpose is control. If African governments were to receive the full value of their exports and without strings attached, the West would lose its control over Africa's raw materials base and lands. In other words, Africa would go alone. Now, they can 'withhold aid' at the drop of a hat. Dambisa Moyo (2009) bluntly calls a spade a spade and defines that aid is the fundamental cause of poverty and therefore eliminating aid is critical to spur growth in ailing African states. Aid is the disease; the treatment requires stopping the disease. The summit’s emphasis on partnership deals with the private sector is most definitely a way to halt dependence on fellow governments.
Another aspect that I believe is very vital and duly addressed at the summit was governance, inclusive, particularly the strength of democratic institutions. Countries governed by legitimate democracies have a proven track record of delivering superior living conditions for the majority...