Wednesday, September 03, 2008

German experts call for a different development policy towards Africa

In a concise appeal (in German), senior experts of German development cooperation have called for a revision of German development policy towards Africa.

They criticize the belief that the West could develop Africa. The fact that development workers take on too much power would paralyze self-initiative and African ownership. Furthermore they criticize the assumption that redistribution of wealth via increased aid would improve the situation. According to the critics, more money tends to have inverse effects and if distributed via budget aid would additionally increase corruption and bad governance.

The authors call for:
  • Decentralization of German aid to country embassies and the liquidation of the current multiple aid structure with various government agencies responsible for development cooperation
  • Strong orientation towards non-state actors
  • Concentration on education, micro-finance and work-intensive infrastructure improvements
The appeal, which was signed by former German ambassadors, high-ranking politicians and scientists, provoked harsh criticism (in German) by Germany’s development community. They accuse the critics of painting a cut and dried picture of a rather complex environment that ignores the importance of good governance and the role of the state as well as international trade structures.

Willing to kick-off a comprehensive discussion on German aid, the authors of the appeal agreed to further elaborate responses on the criticized issues in a second paper.

See the Euforic newsfeed on German Development Cooperation