150 years of aid to Africa has not helped much — and may have hurt more than it helped — argues writer Paul Theroux in Barron’s. (1) If goods are provided free by foreigners, local small businesses cannot compete, and they go out of business. A cycle of dependency is thus created. (2) Corrupt government is the other major problem — bribery, oppressive regulations, extortion, and theft on a grand scale are endemic.
So Theroux calls for fresh thinking about how economic development occurs: “the self-sufficiency of ordinary people” must be enabled, by getting the politicians off their backs and ask the well-meaning to stop creating dependency.
See also Magatte Wade on entrepreneurship as the fundamental route out of poverty for everyone, not only Africans.