Politics

are some big charities doing more harm than good in africa?

June 19, 2013

The Guardian recently published a piece questioning the work of some big charities in Africa, especially Bono’s organization ONE. Check out what they had to say and let us know what you think.
Excerpts:
“Bono’s positioning of the west as the saviour of Africa while failing to ­discuss the harm the G8 nations are doing has undermined campaigns for justice and accountability.”
“It was bad enough in 2005. Then, at the G8 summit in Scotland, Bono and Bob Geldof heaped praise on Tony Blair and George Bush, who were still mired in the butchery they had initiated in Iraq. (…) African activists accused them of drowning out a campaign for global justice with a campaign for charity.” (…)
But this is worse. (…)The [New Alliance] is pushing African countries into agreements that allow foreign companies to grab their land, patent their seeds and monopolize their food markets. Ignoring the voices of their own people, six African governments have struck deals with companies such as Monsanto, Cargill, Dupont, Syngenta, Nestlé and Unilever, in return for promises of aid by the UK and other G8 nations.
A wide range of activists, both African and European, is furious about the New Alliance.” (…)
“Much of the ONE campaign’s primary funding was provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, two of whose executives sit on its board. The foundation has been working with the biotech company Monsanto and the grain trading giant Cargill, and has a large Monsanto shareholding.” (…)
“Bono (…) has become “the caring face of global technocracy”, who, without any kind of mandate, has assumed the role of spokesperson for Africa, then used that role to provide “humanitarian cover” for western leaders (…) while lending legitimacy to the neoliberal project.” (…)
“The ONE campaign (…) claims to work on behalf of the extremely poor. But its board is largely composed of multimillionaires, corporate aristocrats and US enforcers. Here you will find Condoleezza Rice, George W Bush’s national security adviser and secretary of state (…).
Here too is Larry Summers, who was chief economist at the World Bank during the darkest days of structural adjustment and who, as US Treasury secretary, helped to deregulate Wall Street, with such happy consequences for the rest of us. Here’s Howard Buffett, who has served on the boards of the global grain giant Archer Daniels Midland as well as Coca-Cola and the food corporations ConAgra and Agro Tech. Though the main focus of ONE is Africa, there are only two African members. One is a mobile phone baron, the other is the finance minister of Nigeria, who was formerly managing director of the World Bank. What better representatives of the extremely poor could there be?”

Full piece by George Monbiot here.

Photo by by Themba Hadebe / Associated Press

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