Blaming the Victim

A common theme on international aid issues has been to “blame the victim”.

Following are some common “myths” often used to highlight such aspects, including (and quoting):

1. Africa has received increasing amounts of aid over the years
— IN FACT, aid to Sub-Saharan Africa fell by 48% over the 1990s

2. Africa needs to integrate more into the global economy
— IN FACT, trade accounts for larger proportion of Africa’s income than of the G8

3. Economic reform will generate new foreign investment
— IN FACT, investment to Africa has fallen since they opened up their economies

4. Bad governance has caused Africa’s poverty
— IN FACT, according to the UN Conference on Trade and Development, economic conditions imposed by the IMF and the World Bank were the dominant influence on economic policy in the two decades to 2000, a period in which Africa’s income per head fell by 10%, and income of the poorest 20% of people fell by 2% per year.

Christian Aid weighs in on this with a more recent report noting that sub-Saharan Africa is a massive $272 billion worse off because of “free” trade policies forced on them as a condition of receiving aid and debt relief.

The reforms that rich countries forced on Africa were supposed to boost economic growth. However, … they were left worse off.

The economics of failure: The real cost of ‘free’ trade', Christian Aid, June 20, 2005

[From MAKEpovertyHISTORY.org]

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