Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

What can we do about Africa's troubles?

A few days ago, I posted about my own view of compassion fatigue -- which I'd call "futility syndrome" -- regarding Western aid to Africa. One of my points was that widespread African government corruption makes all foreign aid ultimately pointless. If I needed any confirmation for my theory, I didn't have to look any further than this story today:

The Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria has suspended its grants to Uganda because of "serious mismanagement" of funds. An investigation carried out for the Global Fund said it found a shortfall when grants in dollars were converted into Ugandan shillings. *** Uganda has received some $45m out of $201m it had been allocated in a two-year programme. The problems allegedly centred on the Project Management Unit (PMU) at the health ministry, the Global Fund said. "The Global Fund is gravely concerned that this mismanagement has reduced the effectiveness of the programme," the fund wrote in a letter to the Ugandan finance ministry, seen by London's Financial Times newspaper.
UPDATE: I still hold to my belief that Africa's troubles seem so insurmountable that the West is simply too frustrated to keep being hold responsible for its needs. However, the story I cited above may not be a good example of this principle. At Cheat Seeking Missiles, Laer examined the story much more closely and reveals that the real problem may not be financial mismanagement, which is Africa's scourge, but the fact that Uganda opted to use an abstinence-based program, which has been quite successful, but which has Christian roots. Read the whole thing here.