O mito da ajuda externa a África

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Matilde Pais

Investigadora
"A ajuda aos governos africanos fomenta a dependência, encoraja a corrupção e prolonga a má governança e a pobreza"

Publicado a 21 Abril 2010 em Economia e Finanças

“If you live in the affluent West, no public policy issue is more calculated to produce schizophrenia in your psyche, and cause conflicts to rage in your conscience, than foreign aid. The humane impulse, fueled by unceasing televised images of famine and pestilence (especially) out of Africa, is surely to give more aid. But a contrasting narrative works the other way.”, Jagdish Bhagwati

 

Dambisa Moyo, nasceu na Zâmbia, estudou em Harvard e Oxford, é economista e escreveu o best-seller “Dead Aid: Why Aid is Not Working”. Dambisa Moyo defende que a ajuda desmedida aos governos africanos fomenta a dependência, encoraja a corrupção e prolonga a má governança e a pobreza. Dambisa acredita que aqueles que ajudam têm interesse em manter o status quo, na medida em que esta situação lhes garante trabalho.

Dambisa Moyo tem sido alvo de várias críticas. Niall Fergusson, professor, investigador e colaborador no Financial Times, escreveu no prefácio do livro de Moyo que ela estaria a aventurar-se num debate que pertencia, até então, ao Homem branco: o músico Bono, o político Tony Blair e os académicos Bill Easterly e Jeffrey Sachs. Este último chegou a acusá-la de pôr em risco vidas humanas por defender ideias perigosas.

Dambisa Moyo acredita que África pode ser um continente de oportunidades - algumas economias africanas cresceram muito no último ano, apesar da contracção da economia global. Ela acha que a ajuda bilateral, entre governos, não é a única resposta à pobreza e acredita que a maioria das pessoas concordam com ela, até o lóbi de apoio ao desenvolvimento. Moyo acha que o mundo desenvolvido – e África – devem pensar noutras formas de ajudar países em vias de desenvolvimento. Por isso propõe soluções alternativas, baseadas em estudos, para ajudar o seu continente: acabar com os financiamentos aos governos africanos e incentivá-los a aceder a mercados de capitais internacionais; investimento estrangeiro, nomeadamente da China; comércio justo; remessas e microcrédito.

Desta forma, os governos africanos podem tornar-se responsáveis pelo seu desenvolvimento e alguns podem diminuir a dependência da ajuda externa.

 

 

 

A cooperação “deve estar no centro da acção política dos Estados”, afirmou ontem o ministro dos Negócios Estrangeiros português, no arranque da iniciativa Os Dias do Desenvolvimento, que hoje termina em Lisboa. […] Luís Amado defendeu que o caminho certo é “trade and aid e não trade not aid”: “conciliar abertura dos mercados com ajuda ao desenvolvimento”.

Luís Amado, Ministro dos Negócios Estrangeiros, in jornal “Público”, 22 Abril 2010

It's not about charity it's about justice

[...] Africa makes a fool of our idea of justice; it makes a farce of our idea of equality. It mocks our pieties, it doubts our concern, it questions our commitment.

Bono, músico e co-fundador da ONE

Is Aid a Matter of Justice?

Appealing to a sense of justice may be a good ploy to silence the critics of foreign aid. But it obfuscates the most important problems Africa faces: bad governments and misguided policies.

The government of a country that follows good economic policies, like prosperous Switzerland, may opt to aid a country whose government has followed ruinous economic policies, like distressed Haiti. But such aid is a matter of charity and not of justice.

Africa is poor not because of Western consumption and stinginess, but because it produces too little. Most economists agree that Africa's low productivity is, in large part, a result of misguided policies, such as restrictions on private enterprise, bad institutions, and inadequate rule of law. Unfortunately, far from stimulating growth and reducing poverty over the last 60 years, aid has served as a disincentive to economic and institutional reforms.

Considering how foreign aid has hampered African economic development over the past 60 years, it is perhaps unsurprising that Messrs. Bono and Geldof prefer to defend the continuation of Western financial transfers to Africa in terms of justice rather than effectiveness. Yet, watching their self-righteousness, one cannot but wonder who is the real beneficiary of foreign aid. Are Africans really the hapless victims of injustice that some Westerners portray them to be? Or do we simply prefer to see them in that way because it allows us to play the role of their noble saviors? The truth is that only Africans can improve their lot. Our responsibility is not to make matters worse for them. Foreign aid does that and so do some other Western policies — primarily agricultural tariffs and subsidies for domestic farmers. The "just" thing to do is to remove them, not to give Africa more harmful aid.

Marian L. Tupy, analista político do Cato Institute's Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity

The three leading candidates in the UK General Election - Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg - are likely to agree on one thing: that Britain should increase its “aid” budget to 0.7% of GDP.

Yet a new report published today by International Policy Network, a development think tank based in London, demolishes the idea behind such a target. Key points of the report:

• The 0.7% target was formulated as a lobbying tool in the late ‘60s.

• The justification for the 0.7% “need” (so called “financing gap theory”) has lost all credibility.

• Even if the justification were sound, the figures on which it relies are forty years out of date. Recalculating with up-to-date statistics shows the “capital need” in poor countries has fallen to below 0.05% of national income in rich countries – less than 10 per cent of the aid that is currently being spent under the Labour government.

• The UK’s development policy should adapt to the changing circumstances. Tying spending to a discredited 40-year old target dreamt up by lobbyists makes no sense.

• Decreeing any aid spending target is backwards. Development aid should be focused on outcomes, not inputs.

"The more fundamental argument in this paper suggests that our current obsession with targets and meeting existing aid commitments is an inadequate and backward-looking approach to international development", writes Alec van Gelder in the report's foreword.

THE GHOST OF 0.7%, Origins and Relevance of the International Aid Targe, Michael A. Clemens and Todd J. Moss, April 2010, International Policy Network

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Comentários (3)

  • Karla 4 Dezembro 2012, 16:42 GMT
    I thought that Dambisa Moyo had a few good potnis in her book, though it annoyed me that such light fare got published and put in airport bookshops But if she actually agrees with this (does she?), she's lost all cred. One of the great weaknesses of all small-donor-funded NGOs is that they are beholden to people who don't know much, and don't have the time to learn. And I've seen this lead directly to incredible distortions, such as:(a) Mad rush to construct permanent housing in Aceh, contrary to known good practice(b) Mad rush to show photographable results in Aceh, including houses where there were no roads or services(c) Mad fund-raising by NGOs who'd never built a house in their history(d) Collection of funds far in excess of need(e) Inability to re-channel excess funds to Pakistan (for example) because they had been raised for Aceh .Say what you will about DFID, bilaterals, multilaterals they didn't do any of those, because they are beholden to governments, not individuals.
  • Só para lembrar que na ajuda externa à África além da Ajuda Pública e Ajuda Privada as ONG têm desempenhado um papel fundamental. A sua grande proximidade com as populações e o conhecimento do terreno tornam-nas muito eficazes na implementação de programas de assistência às populações mais carenciadas. As ONG são de facto os parceiros privilegiados nos programas de ajuda institucional quer seja bilateral quer multilateral. Dispõem de técnicos bem preparados e adaptados a cada situação de urgência. Têm estado presentes em todos os grandes conflitos
    ajudando as populações denunciando as catástrofes humanas e apelando para a comunidade internacional. Foram estas organizações que introduziram o conceito de "dever de assistência", votado na ONU e conhecido pelo termo "dever de ingerência".

  • Luís Faria 25 Abril 2010, 18:56 GMT

    Como um país africano que saiu de um genocídio há 16 anos pode ser um exemplo inspirador.

    Excertos da entrevista de Paul Kagame, Presidente do Ruanda, “A Supply-Sider in East Africa”, ao Wall Street Journal, 24 Abril 2010

    "We believe in private enterprise, free market, and competition. . . . So we have to make sure there is a conducive environment for people to be creative and innovative"

    Unlike many of his peers in the Third World, his focus is on how to create wealth—not on how to beg for charity. During our entire conversation, Mr. Kagame doesn't once utter the word poverty. "We can only have ourselves to blame for our failures," he says. "We don't expect anyone to hand us any success or progress we hope to be making."

    That attitude makes Mr. Kagame a skeptic when it comes to foreign aid, which he faults for many of the world's ills. "It has created dependency, it has distorted the markets, it has detached people from their leaders and their values, it has created conflicts in some cases."

    "Trading fairly with developing countries would put more money in the hands of the developing countries than [donor countries] give through aid."

    In September, the World Bank named Rwanda its "top reformer of business regulation," as the country soared to 67th place from 143rd the year before for "ease of doing business." On the matter of "ease of paying taxes," Rwanda, in 59th place, now bests the U.S. (which has fallen to 61st). All sectors are open to investors, and the government places no limit on foreign equity ownership.

    "We sent our team to Georgia because we learned they have been very successful with their flat tax. . . . We want to see where it works," Mr. Kagame says.

    And if the experiment fails miserably? "We're not afraid."

    "For so long, I've lived injustice, and have had to struggle and fight for my freedom and my people's freedom," he says. "I think you tend to have more passion for freedom and for rights to exist, for you and for everyone. . . . With that kind of life, you don't take things for granted, you want to earn every step of your life. You want to work hard, you want to achieve, you want to reach where you have not been before."