Editor’s note: This letter was published in the Telegraph (UK) on August 22, 2010 with the title given above for this post.
SIR – The parlous state of the public finances in Britain provides the perfect opportunity for British taxpayers to end their half-century-long experiment with “development aid”, which has, since its inception, stunted growth and subsidised bad governance in Africa.
As Africans, we urge the generous-spirited British to reconsider an aid programme they can ill afford, and which we do not want or need. A real offer from the British people to help our development would consist of the abolition of the Common Agricultural Policy, which keeps African agricultural exports out of the European marketplace.
It is that egregious policy, combined with the weight of regulations, bad laws and stifling bureaucracy, subsidised by five decades of development aid, which prevents Africans from lifting themselves out of poverty.
Andrew Mitchell, the Secretary of State for International Development, speaks about a “moral imperative” to combat poverty around the world. We could not agree more. The British have a unique opportunity to cut the deficit and help Africa: please, ask your new government to stop your aid.
Editor, Independent newspaper, Uganda
Executive Director, IMANI Center for Policy and Education, Ghana
Lecturer, University of Ghana and Ashesi University, Ghana
Executive Director, Initiative for Public Policy Analysis, Nigeria
Director, Free Market Foundation, South Africa
Law Review Project, South Africa