Aid strategies or Trade Agreements more likely to relieve poverty in Sun-Saharan Africa?
Please a postgraduate essay. GUIDELINE FOR THE ESSAY LINE. In assessing coursework, criteria: • Relevance question • Sound ordering structuring material • Quality clarity written expression • Effective evidence • Appropriate theory • Demonstration sound understanding topic • Adequacy research analysis • Identification major themes arguments • Critical evaluation judgement • Range sources • Consistent referencing AND page numbers • Insight originality • Grammar language Please aware questions require critical analysis consideration: A] The nature continuity change global politics B] An analysis historical, politico-economic geo-political context C] Use case studies.
The development of African countries has been for decades now one of the most discussed subjects in the international arena, especially in the area of international development. There have been numerous attempts to find the proper solutions to be implemented in countries on the Black continent; however, few have been successful. In the sub-Sahara region, there is a wide predominance of failed attempts for development. This is not necessarily due to the lack of initiative but rather because of the limited means of implementing these initiatives, at the political and institutional levels.
The present research paper aims to determine whether aid strategies and trade agreements, as traditional tools for improving the social conditions in least developed countries are more efficient than development programs and projects. It is rather hard to determine a precise answer to such a question, as both aid strategies and development programs are interdependent. The present paper argues that while aid strategies are crucial for the survival of a country, they are not the only ones necessary for improving the lives of the people living in Least Developed Countries. The development programs undergone by agencies such as UNDP, the United Nations Development Program, are indeed vital for relieving poverty in Sub-Sahara region largely because they provide the sound base of a future economic, social, and political life.
Aid strategies and trade agreement
Aid strategies and trade agreement are some of the tools presented by the international community as means through which Least Developed Countries can achieve the status of developing nations
. This group of countries includes however mostly the Sub-Saharan region. In this sense, there have been extensive efforts to try to determine as many donors as possible to contribute the development attempts of countries in poverty to reach a better level of life.
As of 2008, the amounts raised for LDC was $43.8 billion
. However, as seen in current cases, this money lacked the necessary systemic background to become effective for the society.
Trade agreements as a means of development imply the special agreements made with the WTO and other international organisms and states to determine preferential taxes and quota on the international market. In this sense, "of the 49 LDCs, 32 are members of the WTO. As such, their trade policies are bound by the commitments and obligations of their terms of accession."
Taking aside these two mechanisms, they have proved to be unsuccessful largely because of several reasons. Firstly, because of the institutional legacy they carry as a result of a crippled economic and social background, as a result of colonialism. Secondly and consequently, they lack the local capacity to manage at the national level the financial aid received from donors, the local and regional contractors are unable to compete at the international level and are therefore limited in their ability to use the benefits from the WTO, there is a clear unequal access to information, and an unrealistic time for delivery of the promises made to donors
Why aid and development programs cannot deliver independently
The most important reason for which trade agreements and aid strategies do not provide sound lasting results is the background of the African countries and in particular the sub-Sahara region. The background implies mostly the history and in particular recent history such as that starting from the colonialist era onwards.
The colonial period in Africa marked the beginning of a series of events whose consequences can be seen to this day. These effects are nowadays evident in the way in which the African states conduct their political, economic, and social affairs.
Colonialism as "a form of domination -- the control by individuals or groups over the territory and/or behavior of other individuals or groups (…) colonialism refers to group domination and not to social relations and processes among sets of individuals at the family or sub-clan level"
Therefore, it can be argued that the relationship between the colonial powers and the colonized countries was one of which did not include a certain sense of equality; there were the dominant powers and the dominated peoples. This automatically implied a lack of initiative, and a sense of obedience. However, in such cases, any sense of independence or social or political initiative could not have been properly developed. This in turn determined the local society to lose its interest in becoming involved in its own fate. The results of such an attitude are vivid to this day.
There were situation in which the colonial presence in different regions of the world brought certain sense of prosperity and the education of democracy. Such an example is India where the British Empire created the most populous democracy in the world. Nonetheless, this is an exception, which certifies the rule that colonialism represented a dark period in the history of the oppressed peoples. Especially in Africa, there were no particular political entities that would diffuse the shock of the colonial influence and there were little means through which the indigenous peoples could actually stand against a foreign invasion. This is why the impact of the colonial powers was felt more abruptly in the African countries and had negative effects.
For sub-Sahara, the colonial experience was more or less extreme. In this sense, it should be mentioned the British dominance in the region, especially in Kenya. In this particular case, the economic development was reduced to the minimum in the sense that the British system of colonization did not allow a permanent development and a potential power for independence
. Moreover, this particular means of controlling the economy offered no possible local development but the one imposed by the colonizing forces.
Sub-Sahara has also been a constant source of natural resources and not one of production. More precisely, the African states have a large amount of raw material, especially precious stones. The colonial powers, without exception benefited from the exploitation of these resources without any due regard for the situation of the people. Therefore, the countries on the continent came to be considered practical sources of natural resources, as the population deepened in its poverty. Such cases can be seen for instance in Sierra Leone and other countries where diamonds are nowadays used a trading object for the acquisition of weapons to support the guerrilla wars on the continent. Despite these aspects, there were no investments being made to improve the social aspect of these trades, and thus, the locals were not encouraged to pursue entrepreneurship.
At the same time though, this aspect affected the social situation as well. "The practice of favoring one ethnic, religious, racial, or other cultural group over others in colonial society, or of giving them a higher status, helped to promote inter-group rivalries, and often contributed to the unequal distribution of resources. Favored or privileged groups had access to, or control of, important resources that allowed them to enrich their members, at the expense of nonmembers"
(Marker, 2003) Therefore, it can be argued that the colonial powers, in their attempt to control the situation in the African countries, favored certain segments of the society, an element which led to a great disparity in this sense. These disparities created inside the society different layers of development and at the same time levels of superiority and inferiority. Ultimately, this is translated most often into civil wars, unrest, and even genocide. An example in this sense is of course Rwanda.
For the sub-Saharan states, the military presence is most of the times a prerequisite. However, for countries such as Sierra Leone or Ghana, the military forces were the ones to stir up conflict, confusion, and most importantly lack of coherence for a potential road towards democracy. More precisely, in the case of Sierra Leone, in the late 1960s, after its 1961 proclamation of independence, the changes of the government took place not peacefully, but through military coups. In this sense, in 1967, a "Military coup deposes Premier Siaka Stevens' government"
; a year later, the same prime minister comes back in office after another coup. These uncertainties were by no means useful for the state or for their nationals. However, the strive for power became essential for their rise to a superior function in that state.
An important issue in relation to the constant presence of the military in the political affairs of the Sub-Sahara African countries led to a perpetuation of constant fear and inconsideration.…