Africa does not need aid, but the opportunity for fair tradeBMJ 2005; 331 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.331.7519.784 (Published 29 September 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:784
All rapid responses
A refreshingly frank response with which I wholeheartedly agree with
Inwani, on fair trade, but I also believe that areas of Africa also need
properly directed and managed aid - free of the strangleholds the IMF,
World Bank and other institutions that distribute our hard-earned taxes
place on receivers historically; only then will Africans be able to decide
which particular set of social, educational, medical and commercial
circumstances best apply to them, and in so doing can find the funds,
without strings attached, with which to realise their aspirations for
The huge amount of wastage on vaccines - billions of dollars spent
and 'promised' (for which there is little scientifically managed and
controlled follow-up of such interventions in areas of horrendous
malnutrition, sanitation which see virtually no medical support; yet so
many African children, already at the mercy of endemic diseases, are
concurrently at the mercy of greatly increased probabilities of vaccine-
induced mortality and morbidity that no one can quantify for those
children) - ought to be curtailed and much of that public expenditure
refocussed on sanitation, plentiful clean water supplies, food
distribution and essential nutrition, essential medicaments, education,
and wealth distribution to afford improved industry and commerce through
traditional trades, through a well-managed administration that reports
regularly and accurately on developments.
Many Africans, without 'competing interests', are abundantly
qualified to initiate, oversee and manage such projects but, as Inwani
implies, initiatives cannot be effected unless Africans themselves are
allowed to take control of their destiny; they have the opportunity
through a united continental body which should be answerable to the whole
UN body to which each African nation already holds responsibilities.
Allowing the IMF and World Bank to control African destiny is like
allowing the bank manager who makes your loan to set restrictions on your
business or household initiatives in the banks' and its associates'
interests - their interests are in the main not your interests.
It is clear that Africa, therefore under international law Africans
have riches beyond their wildest imaginings beneath their feet; rather
than allowing successive interventions to result in pillaging their
heritage, global community funds must be targetted decently and honestly
where it is most needed to save life and build health; first clean water
in abundance, sanitation and housing, essential nutritional and medical
supplies to deal with endemic diseases followed closely by educational,
industrial and commercial initiatives aimed to rapidly rebuild communities
- in accordance with tribal and social norms for each area - that are
healthy, well-nourished, and educated in subjects and vocations that best
suit those communities, their social and emergent commercial
initiatives....and unencumbered, free trade.
Isn't that what we all expect in the democractic context?
Competing interests: No competing interests