Mike the Psych's Blog

What if psychologists ruled the world? In real life?


British International Aid (Part 2)……read and weep!

Kindadukish's Blog - I am not a number, I am a free man (The Prisoner)

 

1BC2DF1C00000578-3540886-image-a-65_1460675959967.jpg Robert Mugabe who has single-handedly reduced Zimbabwe to a state of abject poverty and corruption

Britain’s foreign aid budget keeps rising. Currently at £12 billion a year, it is due to soar during David Cameron’s two terms as Prime Minister, to £16 billion by 2020. As the Daily Mail revealed yesterday, Britain pays £1 in every £7 of aid donated by rich countries — three times as much per head as the U.S. — and much of it is being sent to the world’s most corrupt countries where despots line their own pockets and make life even worse for the poor.

Among the most egregious recent examples was South Africa, where — even as our Government gave the country £19 million a year to alleviate poverty — its president Jacob Zuma was spending £13 million of state funds improving his lavish home. Ministers have stopped direct aid to South Africa since…

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The scandal of British International aid…..

Kindadukish's Blog - I am not a number, I am a free man (The Prisoner)

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Britain’s foreign aid budget is now so swollen it accounts for £1 in every £7 given by rich countries. A global study shows the 28 leading industrialised nations handed out £86billion between them last year

The latest figures – from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development – show this target was exceeded last year, hitting 0.71 per cent. That was more than double the 0.3 per cent average of the 28 OECD nations. The UK gave twice as much as France, which has a similar population.

Britain spends three times as much per head as the US, whose population of 332million means it gave £61 per person last year. The UK, with 65million people, gave £188 a head. The Daily Mail has campaigned against the waste of billions of pounds in foreign aid, highlighting a number of scandals, including:

  • The granting of millions of pounds to China, even though…

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Corruption…………or merely different cultural norms?

Kindadukish's Blog - I am not a number, I am a free man (The Prisoner)

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Transparency International has published its 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), which ranked 175 countries and territories based on how corrupt their administrative and political institutions are perceived to be on a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

Compiled from a combination of surveys and assessments of “the abuse of entrusted power for private gain,” the CPI is the most widely used indicator of corruption worldwide.

Here are the 17 most corrupt countries, according to the index:

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The lowest ranked countries are perceived as “plagued by poor governance, and untrustworthy and badly functioning public institutions like police or media.”

The four least corrupt countries are Denmark (92), New Zealand (91), Finland (89), and Sweden (87), while the US came in 17th — along with Barbados, Hong Kong, and Ireland — with a rating of 74.

Top performers are found to have “high levels of press freedom, open budget…

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Christian Aid…………to give or not to give?

I’ve long shared this view about giving money to African despots. See http://tinyurl.com/6kbekkk

Kindadukish's Blog - I am not a number, I am a free man (The Prisoner)

Yesterday an envelope was pushed through my letter box asking me to donate to Christian Aid and the work it was doing in Africa. It exhorts me to donate £5 which will be enough to pay for a community farmer in Zimbabwe to attend a training workshop.

It then occurred to me that Zimbabwe was once known as the “bread basket” of Africa, so rich was it in natural resources and farmland. But then when Rhodesia gained independence and became Zimbabwe things began to go down hill.

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Robert Mugabe the president of the country has presided over a long term economic decline and in particular the “land grab” from white farmers has contributed significantly to this decline. Also the abuse of human rights has become high profile in the country.

Corruption in Zimbabwe has become endemic within its political, private and civil sectors. Zimbabwe ranks joint 163rd out of 176 countries in…

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Aid to African despots – why?

G550Charities often say they get more contributions from working class ie poorer sections of the community than the middle or upper classes. (OK, there are exceptions like Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates.)

And now that seems to apply to the UK as well. We’re in the s**t economically yet we strive to take the lead on overseas development. No wonder it’s causing a stink when we can’t afford to fund hospitals, schools or care for the elderly in our own country.

And some countries eg India, don’t even want our help let alone need it. India, like other BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia and China), is booming and can afford to have a large army, run a space programme, and be a nuclear power. That it doesn’t spend its money on improving basic living conditions for the 25% of its population living below the poverty line merely reflects badly on a country that claims to be the world’s largest democracy.

A lot of people refuse to give money to charities in Africa because they wonder how much aid actually gets through with all the corruption and inefficiency (and Bob Geldof can shove his “ignore the corruption thing”. Why should we? I don’t begrudge him the plaudits he got for Band Aid but since then he’s enjoyed the high life on the back of it – well it wasn’t his crap music was it – and no-one likes to feel they’ve been ripped off).

Stories of NGO staff riding around in expensive 4 wheel-drive vehicles, dictators buying top of the range bullet proof Mercs eg Zimbabwe (68% of population living below poverty line), Malawi which bought 39 S-class Mercedes (53%), and Swaziland which bought a fleet of BMWs for the King’s wives plus a £1/4M Maybach 62 for him (69%), don’t help.

And the latest news is that we gave Uganda £70M in aid and the President went out and spent £30M on a top of the range private jet – a Gulfstream G550. So is it any wonder that I don’t want to contribute to paying for some despot’s Mercedes or gold-plated Kalshnikovs.

Providing vaccination, largely courtesy of Bill Gates, is definitely better than giving money. Providing countries with the technology and skills to feed themselves would be even better and birth control to reduce the number of hungry mouths needing to be fed would help enormously.  

Jonathan Clayton’s commentary in The Times today (05/07/11) is spot on. He writes about Kenya being listed as one of the countries supposedly facing the worst food crisis of the century.

This he reminds us is the destination of choice for the rich and the royal with its capital Nairobi booming and full of 5 star restaurants.

And a country which makes millions exporting fresh flowers, which need a lot of water, and vegetables to the UK.

In short a country that can afford to feed its poor but doesn’t want to.  And why would you if the UN – paid for by western taxpayers –  and other aid workers and charities do it for you?

In this case it isn’t necessarily dictators and despots but lack of political will and pure commercial considerations, albeit influenced by tribal loyalties.

Updated 4 November 2011: November’s Management Today magazine lists the worst countries for corruption.

Here they are in order of their Trust Index Scores

  1. Somalia
  2. Afghanistan & Myanmar
  3. Iraq
  4. Sudan, Turkmenistan & Uzbekistan
  5. Chad
  6. Burundi
  7. Angola & Equatorial Guinea
  8. DR of Congo, Guinea, Kyrgystan, & Venezuela
  9. Cambodia, Central African Republic, Comoros, Congo-Brazaville, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Laos, Papua New Guinea, Russia, Tajikistan
Source: Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2010: