Been reading about the spoof staged by the Norwegian Students’ and Academics’ International Assistance Fund (SAIH) and I have had a good laugh. It represents a brave new world where Africa is increasingly looking away from its belly button, feeling like the world owes us jack. The world does not owe us jack.
Because the world is not beholden to Africa, the sooner Africa realises this the better because that would mean we will stop expecting Europe and the rest of the “development partners” to give us handouts if we keep on our best behaviour. This syndrome has made Africa docile, always jumping when Europe and America snapped their fingers.
By making the spoof Africa For Norway – New charity single, the group spoke out loud about many young Africans have been feeling inside them for years. The patronising spirit with which Bob Geldorf and his friends made the Band Aid videos has had many on the continent smarting for decades. The video on YouTube has got more than 1 million views and that should be a pointer to the views of many, especially seeing the number of ‘likes.’
It is true some would argue that Africa still needs the intervention of the West in areas like food aid and the like. But it is also true that Africa needs empowerment first before it can take the aid.
There are problems in the West too. That is something donors need to keep in mind as they answer questions thrown at them by a media bent on creating a certain impression in the countries where the aid comes from.
We would not be very negative about the West coming out and saying this is business; they give us something and we give them something back. Unfortunately, the impression created by people like Geldorf is that aid comes to Africa and all Africa dose is consume.
This is as far from the truth as it can ever be. If the relationship between Africa and the West is that of giver and receiver with not reciprocation, why is it that many countries in Europe and the Americas are getting hot under the collar about China’s involvement in Africa?
China is a dirty customer. They do not understand anything to do with human rights. But they come out and say so. They also come out and say they want our resources but in return they will build roads and schools and hospitals and power stations for us. We know we are important to China because we are trade partners.