Western aid to Africa has absolutely generated dependency and is one of many methods used to influence internal African social, political and economic affairs. Ahead of the US-African Leaders’ Summit which will take place in Washington DC from August 4-6, Africa Faith and Justice Network (AFJN) met with the offices of Senators Barbara Boxer and Ron Johnson, Representatives George Miller, Jim Sensenbrenner and Paul Ryan. AFJN asked them to lead the way in increasing the accountability and transparency of American tax dollars sent to African tyrants as aid.
When we tell American tax payers (who often work long hours and multiple jobs to get by) that their money is being embezzled to oppress Africans and keep dictators in power, they are outraged. Many African bureaucrats are living the high life with American aid money: lavish shopping trips in Europe, vacation homes in the US, and many luxury cars.
The US has made financial support of long-standing African leaders a centerpiece of its foreign policy for far too long. The American people are demanding that Congress account for every dollar sent to African leaders. Click here to view US Aid by country
Africa’s problem is not a financial one, but one of leadership. Evidence shows that corruption and embezzlement of public funds are major threats to Africa’s development and political stability. A 2002 African Union report estimates that every year the continent loses about $148 billion to corruption, an estimated 25% of Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
AFJN insists that development aid only be given to accountable governments. Most importantly we urge the US government to support civil society groups to help them build their capacity to push for change. In the meantime we call on every member of Congress to oppose any funding to Africa’s strong men and turn this policy into law as we move forward.