Sunday, November 16, 2014

Just say NO to more Africa Band Aids

The very idea that fighting the scourge of disease and epidemic in Africa should fall to the most privileged in the colonist countries is fraught with multiple layers of irony.

Geldof and his celebrity pals may have good intentions, but they are exactly the wrong people to make into the poster boys and girls of the fight against ebola.

Geldof and company are the very people who most enjoy the privileges that come with being on the shiny end of the same stir stick that keeps stirring most of Africa deeper into the mud. Geldof and company come from the countries that have plundered Africa's gold and diamonds and oil for 500 years, all the while bemoaning Africa's "under-development" and throwing back a few crumbs of the booty as "aid."

The reason ebola can spread as it does in Africa, is because of the virtually non-existent health-care infrastructure in the continent. The reason there is virtually no health care infrastructure is because Africa's wealth gets exported to Europe and America instead of being re-invested in Africa.

And not only does the West steal Africa's natural resources, they cream off the human resources too. There are more African doctors practising in New York and Toronto than there are in all of Africa. So no wonder there is no viable health care infrastructure on the ground in Africa.

Nor will there be one after Bob Geldof and his celebrity pals raise a few millions in their do-gooder enterprise. This time round there's more visible resistance to this "aid" coming from Africans. It's about time.

The African continent has more than enough resources, human and natural, to achieve a standard of living and a standard of health care that could be the envy of the entire world. What's been holding them back is the institutionalized paternalism of the West, which loots with one hand and gives back "aid" with the other.


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