#1 – Decolonisation: Foreign aid and Africa with Dr Foluke Ifejola

23 Feb 2021

The world has seen some level of complexities that sometimes go beyond the average human comprehension.

One of such, is the perennial debate of whether or not the rich world should continue to dole out largesse to the seemingly poor world.

The most intelligent minds are outrightly divided on this issue and it’s a ‘yawning gulf’. From Africa’s own daughter and renowned economist, Dambisa Moyo, and her erstwhile economics instructor, Jeffrey Sachs. Philanthropist and Co-founder of Microsoft Inc, Bill Gates once argued that Damibisa Moyo though born and bred in Zambian, doesn’t know much about what aid is doing in Africa, he described the book ‘Dead aid’ as a book that promotes evil.

Aside, Rwandan and Ghanian presidents, who have openly criticized foreign aid, a good portion of sub-Saharan Africa is still in hot romance with the euro-dollar rain.

So, whether or not economic interventions are good or bad, at least the warring sides agree on one thing, Africa’s level of governance needs to come to level up. Sir Paul Collier, Professor of Economics and public policy and a foremost crusader of foreign aid and author of the book ‘bottom billion’ agrees with the argument that pushing money in form of aid to “poor countries’ isn’t just enough. Professor Collier says ‘Donor countries need to get serious’. Professor Collier’s theory sees ‘the threshold of governance in Africa’ as a major bane for African development.

There is a saying in the Yoruba tribe, that “when a child is old enough to hold a cutlass, he should get it”.

The big question is, it’s been approximately 60 years of aid to Africa, be it humanitarian, disaster relief, health or economic interventions, when will Africa come of age? When will Africa run its own affairs?

In the words of Thomas Sankara, “Mister President, we hear about clubs – the Rome Club, Paris Club, club whatever… When will Africa join its own club.” If you are African, and you haven’t read that Thomas Sankara’s speech at the Organization of African conference in Addis-Ababa 1987? Hmmm, let me just say you need to read it.

You know how they say, “the day a mad man knows he’s mad is the day he begins to get well”.

This episode of Pari-Passu is enlightening. And the messenger of this light is a learned member of the University of Bristol law academia. Her scholarship, which is learning-based as well as jurisprudential, examines what happens at the intersection of legal education, law, society and a history of changing ideas of what it means to be human.

Dr Foluke Ifejola Adebisi has a PhD in law. She is the founder of Forever African Conference and Events (FACE), a Pan-African interdisciplinary conference hosted in Bristol.
In October 2018, Foluke was included in the Bristol BAME Powerlist- A list of Bristol’s 100 most inspiring people from Black Asian Minority Ethnic backgrounds.

After managing to put her son to bed, Foluke waited up late at night to join me on a zoom call from her home in Bristol, United Kingdom.

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