Africa And The Gigantic Myth Of Western Aid

The drama of Western aid to Africa has been stage-managed repeatedly since 1945

Dr. Kallol Guha

During recent months, heavyweight officials of the US government have been racing to various parts of Africa with promises and assurances of so-called aid and assistance to insure “economic development and prosperity” of the recipient countries on the continent.

This drama of western aid to poor countries for development and prosperity has been stage-managed repeatedly since the end of World War II in 1945. Third World nations that have been circling the orbit of so-called aid from the likes of the World Bank, IMF (International Monetary Fund), USAID, and other western entities over the last 80 years are showing no signs of inclusive growth and prosperity that is meaningful to the common people.

Even after eight decades of deceptive aid, the ‘free press’ of the Anglo-American West has done a good job of conditioning the African people at the grassroot level into believing that aid to poor countries is a sign of generosity of the donors.


However, some neutral and honest intellectuals from both the West and the Third World have analysed the real effects of these so-called aid, which have emerged as effective tools of pauperisation of the recipient countries.

‘Sustainable Development’

The purpose of this narrative is not to criticise the donors of aid who donate with full knowledge that their contribution will never lift people from poverty and underdevelopment. On the contrary, donor countries are fully conscious that recipient nations are destined to remain trapped in ancestral poverty. That is exactly the scenario the world is witnessing after 80 years of operation of aid programmes through various international agencies.

Numerous economists, sociologists, historians, and politicians have made their career on the pretext of delivering aid that is gift-wrapped in sweet-sounding names, such as ‘sustainable development’, ‘prosperity’, ‘inclusive growth’, etc. Irrespective of the aid, masses of recipient nations are becoming poorer and poorer, and their conditions are worsening.

The aid that Africa receives from western countries comes with strings attached (Photo: Pexels)

It must be emphasised that the development of any given nation is induced not by international aid or foreign investment or by erecting spectacular buildings and bridges with foreign money or by sending citizens to study in Europe and America. The single most important criteria of national growth, prosperity, and sustainable development is conditioning the indigenous population through indigenous vernacular-based schooling and preparing them to take part in inclusive growth.

Citizens of a given nation, through indigenous schooling, must be conditioned to believe that one can’t pretend to be anything else but what they actually are.

Schooling in all poor countries are designed to comically imitate others, and the products of such schooling are delinked from their origin and aspire to make careers as cheap labour in the job market of the West.

Language Colonialism

It is interesting that only 2% of Africans can express their thoughts in English or French. In South Asian countries, about 3-5% of the population can express their thoughts in English. Yet these two languages of minority are linked to the means of dignified livelihood and public services. The question is, how is it possible to conceive of any kind of development and prosperity by excluding 90% of indigenous population?

In the process of nation-building, the citizens of a nation must be thoroughly in tune with indigenous language, culture, and tradition to gain expertise in science and technology. It is worth noting that western Europe and the US have done precisely that – with meticulous care.

Schooling in every single developed country, without exception, is designed to tune their population with indigenous language, literature, history, tradition, and culture. Everything that you can see in the developed countries, such as their infrastructure, educational institutions, municipal life, administration, daily life of the general population, and so on, are a reflection of their schooling.

The same principle applies to the pauperised nations. Their shabby, deplorable, chaotic, and mismanaged conditions are reflections of their schooling, which is a pathetic imitation of their colonial masters and far removed from their original culture and tradition.

Adaptation of schooling that is a replica of colonial masters, the mindless imitation of things foreign, and despising everything indigenous doesn’t command prestige or respect. Instead, such acts are considered an appendage of the West, promoted by contemptible clowns.

Anglophonic South Asia

Some prominent examples are nations of the Anglophonic South Asia and Francophonic Africa. Of course, the US-led western media, representing the rich countries, never ever express their contempt of the schooling in poor countries. On the contrary, they repeatedly praise the ‘progress’, and encourage the continuation of the futile and pernicious system by awarding, once in a blue moon, a trophy such as the Nobel Prize to neutralise mass discontent or juggle with data to show the rising rate of literacy and growth, which basically conceal the ground reality.  

The West always makes it a point to advertise its so-called charitable drives and rescue missions (Photo: Pexels)

Writing intellectual narratives on underdevelopment and cursing western imperialism have little significance in making people aware of the facts. But realisation of the genesis of underdevelopment and mobilising people to work towards a solution is primarily a question of leadership and working out a strategy to counter resistance from powerful quarters from within and without.                                 

What does that mean? It simply means, any effective step taken to empower people to rise above underdevelopment and pauperisation will be discredited through aggressive publicity using the highly influential media houses and persuade people of grassroot level to believe and act against their own interest.

West Vs. China

Let’s take an example. In China back in the 1930s, droughts and floods were perennial phenomena, resulting in crop failure, followed by famine and eventual mass migration of peasants into the cities.

At that time, China was littered with numerous western NGOs and church-related organisations, which is the situation today in most of the poor countries. These entities were pretending to be “helping” develop China. Many of them were recommending that China needed more aid from the western countries. 

In 1949, the Communist Party of China defeated its adversary Kuomintang, whose members fled to Taiwan. A new government was formed under the leadership of the Communist party. Its priority tasks were to mobilise people and make them participate in reforming education, offer universal healthcare, build government-owned industries, construct infrastructure, and above all, create a disciplined workforce.

Right from the first day of the new dawn in China, the US and the collective West fiercely resisted and opposed the Communist government. US president at that time, Harry Truman, is known to have reprimanded western ally and former Chinese president Chiang Kai-shek by saying, “Because of you, we lost China!”

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The significance of this statement is discussed and analysed to this day. What did the American president really mean by “We lost China”? He realised that China’s leadership had the political will and the capability to mobilise the entire nation, condition them through the right kind of schooling, and make effective use of their natural and human resources that could result in immense political, economic, and cultural growth of the nation of 540 million people.

Russia, China As Examples

A China that could compete with the West was by no means desirable for the US. It wanted China to remain poor and underdeveloped, so that there would be no competition. America’s historical and modern-day hostility with both China and Russia is mainly because they have torn apart the western trap to keep them poor and remain unable to condition their human resources to make use of their own natural resources for their own national use.

In both these countries, leadership played an instrumental role in helping society grow without relying on or without falling prey to external forces.

Centuries of colonial rule have mentally enslaved people of all the underdeveloped countries. They are conditioned to despise their own life and unconditionally accept everything that belongs to their colonial masters. People of the underdeveloped world must empower indigenous human resources through drastic reforms of schooling and condition their people to gain confidence in themselves, develop respect in their own language, literature, history, tradition, and culture, and create a disciplined work force fit enough to participate in inclusive growth.

Such life-changing transformation requires a unique kind of leadership towards which the collective West will inevitably be fiercely hostile. Since the 1950s, several such personalities appeared all over the world, including Africa, and met savage resistance from their colonial masters.

Lumumba Of Congo

One of the standout personalities was Patrice Lumumba, the first prime minister of Congo. How Lumumba was treated is now part of African folklore. He was assassinated, and his body dismembered and dissolved in acid. Decades later, his tooth was returned to his family by Belgium, Congo’s former colonial masters. The entire process was engineered and supervised by the Anglo-American West, even as some native Congolese cheered.

A file photo of Patrice Lumumba (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

There were other promising leaders in Africa who tried to liberate Africa from the clutches of the US-led imperialist West, but their leadership didn’t achieve much. Julius Nirere of Tanzania, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Jemo Kenyatta of Kenya, Samora Machel of Mozambique are some of the African leaders who stood up to the West.

They famously tried to break away from their colonial past, and therefore, experienced deadly resistance from their colonial masters.

Leadership Is The Key

As pointed out earlier, genuine, mass-based, and all-inclusive development of any nation, whether large or small, can’t and will never be acceptable to the so-called developed countries. Why? Because if the Third World acquires leadership that transforms pauperised human resources, the main engine of all human development and civilisation, to create great educational institutions like the ones operating in the developed countries, then the ruling class of the West will lose their grip over the world economy.

In simple words, it is the empowerment of the people at the grassroot level that is the key to liberation from western profiteering, and consequent development and prosperity, leading to full expression of genuine civilization and human culture.   

The widely publicised slogan ‘freedom of the press’ of western style is designed to conceal this plain and simple truth.

(Dr. Kallol Guha is a geopolitical analyst, educator, entrepreneur, and President of St. James School of Medicine, Illinois, US. He resides in Chicago)

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