George Ayittey - A Tyrant’s Best Friend





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Published on Jun 23, 2011

George Ayittey speaks at Oslo Freedom Forum 2011
The Aid Debate


Ghanaian economist George Ayittey dives directly into his argument about the uselessness of foreign aid in Africa with a quote from Albert Einstein: "Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting different results." The parallel to foreign aid in Africa is clear—while developed nations pour money into the continent, war and economic trouble are still widespread. As Ayittey sees it, the channeling of foreign aid into Africa is "pouring water into a leaking bucket." The total amount of aid given annually amounts to $30 billion, but corruption alone costs Africa $148 billion. There are types of aid, though, that are more useful than others. While military aid often ends up going to despotic regimes, humanitarian aid can make a difference when combined with political action. In each case, however, the West is trying to help a people that it doesn't quite understand. Ayittey pleads for a more informed approach; the African people should have a say in what kind of aid they receive, because they know their own needs better than any foreign power.


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