5 months ago I caught up with one of my best childhood friends from secondary school.
As the son of our village only doctor, all kids were afraid of him because he was more famous for being the ‘doctor’s son’, the man with the long needle at the hospital.
He was one of the best pupils at our school, always first or second of his class. He was good with math and grammar, but lonely character indeed.
I befriended him because he was smarter than I, so he could teach me some math and grammar tricks. I wanted to be a good like him.
In childhood, I was a very interested child. I befriended only kids who have books at home or kids who are smarter than I, or have something I don’t have. I was ready to go trough pains and tribulation to learn, discover and get knowledge.
I was like a knowledge addict.
When we met last time after over 20 years of separation, we spent 3 hours chatting like if we have never left each other. We can’t stop poking each other, and looking so friendly. He grew much wiser than I, but strangely, when he was talking it was like we have followed the same path of maturation.
It was Unbelievable. I was marveled with the genius in the mind of my friend. I love him so much.
During the conversation, he told me something profound about a way we Africans could get out of our dependency on foreign aid.
We both agree that aid and humanitarianism is an humiliation for our people, our continent, and we should do our best to get rid of it as soon as possible, to recover our lost dignity.
Aid is a sensitive topic. Many African governments and people became addicts to aid like drug addicts under the dependency of their favorite drug. They can’t imagine their live without begging for assistance and foreign humanitarianism.
On the other hand, for europeans and other foreigners, aid is the most effective tools for corruption of our elite, the best trojan horse for african culture destruction.
When you say “let’s stop aid”, you hear a loud chorus from Africa and Europe saying “No, No. Aid is important. You need aid.”
My friend then come up with a gradual aid de-intoxication and rehabilitation process.
Here is his proposal.
Every year, all branches of governments and civil society would receive a letter from the Head of state or the country executives to reduce their budget, and finance dependency from foreign aid about 10 to 20% a year.
A review of effective dependency reduction and rehabilitation progress would be done yearly, and a carrot and stick system would be applied as a motivation tool.
With such a progressive system in less than 10 years, most African countries would get out of foreign dependency, and consequently refuse any new assistance program from foreigners.
Once completed, only trade and diplomacy will be the philosophy of African foreign relationships.
Aid is a trap for Africa and Africans.
My friend rehab program is a good way to go. Ten years in the life of a state is not much, and courageous countries would attain that goal even faster with discipline and consistency.