Sunday, 2 July 2006

Cheerleaders for international aid

On 29 June 2012, Ian Birrell told us this in The Daily Mail:
“Their visitors included the rock star Bono, who was there in January, together with Jeffrey Sachs, a ‘celebrity’ economist who hangs out with the likes of Angelina Jolie and Bill Clinton. Bono and Sachs are two of the world’s leading cheerleaders for international aid. The reason they visited — with the editor of liberal newspaper the Observer in tow — was to announce that Kpasenkpe had been chosen as their next Millennium Village. ‘You are going to see an improvement in the lives of your people,’ proclaimed Sachs in his usual messianic style.

This UN-backed Millennium Village project, TO WHICH BRITAIN IS NOW CONTRIBUTING MILLIONS OF POUNDS FOR THE FIRST TIME, began in 2004 and encompasses half a million Africans. It is designed to prove that targeted aid can lift such places out of poverty in just five years. But the scheme is facing mounting accusations that IT IS A WASTE OF MONEY, and is doing less to help rural Africans than it claims.

According to the project’s documents, the business plan reveals ‘total direct costs’ are expected to be £17.2 million and that the goal is ‘substantial poverty reduction’ for up to 2,250 households. This means spending more than AN ASTONISHING £7,500 PER HOUSEHOLD… This is 34 times the average annual income of households in the region. THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT — DESPERATE TO FIND WAYS TO SPEND ITS SOARING AID BUDGETS — IS HANDING OVER £11.5 MILLION TO THIS VAINGLORIOUS VENTURE.

Despite the austerity weighing on British families at home, spending on foreign aid, currently £8.8 billion a year — is rising by more than one-third under the Coalition… Indeed, last Sunday International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell insisted THEY WILL ENSHRINE IN LAW THE TARGET OF GIVING 0.7 PER CENT OF OUR NATIONAL INCOME TO GLOBAL AID…

Sule Mantable, 38, a father of four, (said)… ‘It sounds a good idea but we don’t believe it will work… We have heard before all these promises of money for electricity, schools, hospitals and roads. NOTHING EVER HAPPENED. Even if the money does flow from your country, IT WILL END UP IN THE POCKETS OF CORRUPT PEOPLE AND POLITICIANS’…

In Afraso, instead of the promised Millennium Village school for the 1,000-strong community, there was just a pile of bricks…

The British Government’s decision to pour money into the Millennium Villages project could hardly come at a worse time. For the move comes in the wake of a series of damning independent reports which prove THESE INTENSIVE EFFORTS ARE FAILING TO MEET THE GRANDIOSE CLAIMS MADE ABOUT THEM BY THE MILLENNIUM PROJECT’S ORGANISERS… 
So what of Jeffrey Sachs, the man convinced that aid can do wonders for the country’s people?

He is an academic at Columbia University in New York, whose proselytising for aid led to his appointment as special adviser to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.

It also garnered him funding from financier George Soros, produced articles penned jointly with George Osborne, and a documentary on the project with Angelina Jolie, who calls Sachs ‘one of the smartest people in the world’.
But his grand claims for the progress of the villages that have received aid, relying on data from his own organisation, have crumbled recently in the face of painstaking evidence gathered by independent researchers...

More here

The best rated comments underneath the article were these:
“I am fed up of money being wasted in this country!! We have millions going to other countries and its riduculous! I dont trust this country anymore! The banks are corrupt! The goverment is corrupt! Why are we all taxed? The money never does anybody any good! It doesn’t go into making this country a great place to live! It does eveything but that! Why are we still helping Africa? Poverty will never end! There are countless millions raised by children in need and red nose day every year and it never seems to make a mark on anything on Africa!…

Its time to leave them and concentrate on our own country! I heard Bono just became a billionaire so why is he asking us to give money? He could give well over half of his fortune and save us the drama! I’m 19 and I dont have a very good view of this country! Everyone gets screwed over!” (chris, TRUTHLAND - Rating 1019)
“How can someone with two wives complain that he is poor? I can't even afford to have children with the one wife I have, never mind two.” (Daniel Brown - Rating 811)
Here are the first comments I came across:
“Sort out the issues at home before trying to help the rest of the world.”
“Charity should start at home!”
“No chance of them having their house repossessed I bet. Never mind, perhaps all in the UK that have theirs repossessed can get a free one out there.”
“Politicians; You're a total disgrace! Foreign aid is a joke. It's not your money, it's our money that you're squandering! How dare you!”
“Hundreds of ex servicemen are living rough on the streets; Millions are wasted on the fantasies of Bonio and his mates. Let's get our priorities right. Our lads first.”
The Daily Mail doesn’t publish my comments. They have disappeared everything I ever tried to contribute for more than ten years now. Nevertheless, I occasionally bang something off just to keep the censors on their toes. Here’s what I said:

“In 2002, Prince Charles said that 25 per cent of all the homeless living on our streets we ex-servicemen.

When the British people wake up to the fact that those they vote for have been at war with them since before most of our homeless soldiers were born, that’s when they get their country back.”

Jeffrey Sachs, the man behind the Millenium scheme, and his sponsor, George Soros, are Jewish.

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