Eritrea aspires to be self-reliant, rejecting foreign aid

Eritrea, a struggling, low-profile nation is doing something virtually unheard of in Africa. It's turning down foreign aid.

With a president who vows not to lead another "spoon-fed" African country "enslaved" by international donors, Eritrea, a small, secretive nation on the Horn of Africa, has walked away from more than $200 million in aid in the last year alone, including food from the United Nations, development loans from the World Bank and grants from international charities to build roads and deliver healthcare.

President Isaias Afwerki, a former Marxist rebel who has led Eritrea since its independence from Ethiopia in 1993, defends the nation's exercise in self-reliance, even if it results in short-term hardships.

Relying on its meager budget and the conscription of about 800,000 of the country's citizens, the program so far has shown promising results. Measured on a variety of U.N. health indicators, including life expectancy, immunizations and malaria prevention, Eritrea scores as high, and often higher, than its neighbors, including Ethiopia and Kenya.

It might be one of the most ambitious social and economic experiments underway in Africa.

[Excerpt of an article by Edmund Sanders, Los Angeles Times]


Simon Mace said...

What are your thought ?

Grant Montgomery said...

I applaud Eritrea's determination to be self-reliant, even though it's an uphill climb.

Aid dependency is the road to ruin, especially when it comes with the strings attached to govt funding.

Politically, I assume additional reasoning enters into this decision and it's more than meets the eye. From your experience in the Horn of Africa, what are your thoughts?