DYNAMIC AFRICA

Set up in 2010, Dynamic Africa is diverse multi-media curated blog with a Pan-African outlook that seeks to create an expressive platform for African experiences, stories and African cultures.



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International Development Secretary Justine Greening is to announce that the UK will stop giving direct aid to South Africa in 2015.

The government’s aid programme to South Africa is currently worth £19m a year.

This funding has focused on reducing the mortality rate among women giving birth, as well as supporting businesses.

The UK’s relationship with South Africa should now be based on trade and not development, Ms Greening will say.

At its peak, the UK’s aid for South Africa was more than £40m in 2003.

Ms Greening will make the announcement at a conference of African ministers and business leaders in London on Tuesday.

"South Africa has made enormous progress over the past two decades, to the extent that it is now the region’s economic powerhouse and Britain’s biggest trading partner in Africa," she will say.

"We are proud of the work the UK has done in partnership with the South African government, helping the country’s transition from apartheid to a flourishing, growing democracy.

"I have agreed with my South African counterparts that South Africa is now in a position to fund its own development.

"It is right that our relationship changes to one of mutual co-operation and trade, one that is focused on delivering benefits for the people of Britain and South Africa as well as for Africa as a whole."

"Africa is more dependent on aid than any other continent and its citizens have had little choice on whether to accept it or not…"

In this first episode of Al Jazeera’s new program South2North hosted in Johannesburg, South Africa, anchor Redi Tlhabi re-ignites the ongoing debate on the true impact on foreign aid throughout Africa.

Tlhabi also looks at the rise in African economies and what these developments mean in a broader global political context.

Very interesting discussion, especially in regards to China’s presence in Africa where Moeletsi Mbeki says that, “the regulations of the African countries are really the problem”, as well as arguing that due to the various levels of development and ‘stress’ that certain African countries face, aid is necessary in some way to establish economic stability in these nations.

Head of ActionAid International Joanna Kerr that outlines the distinctions between ‘real aid’ that does actually tackle issues such as poverty and social development, and aid that is linked to other non-beneficial political gains. She goes on to state the importance of transparency and creating spaces in which both citizens and the media are given both platforms and agency to freely and openly hold leadership accountable.

globalvoices:

TitleThe Next 27 Minutes Are An Experiment: Thoughts On The Fallout from Kony 2012

My aim in this talk is to only briefly summarize their thoughts and my own on the successes and failures of the initial Kony 2012 campaign, but then, more importantly, to explore the way in which Invisible Children has responded to criticism and adapted its messaging, and to ask what lessons can be learned by the human rights advocacy community from Kony 2012 and Invisible Children’s subsequent actions.

Date: February 19, 12:30pm ET
Presenter: Ruha Devanesan, Executive Director of the Internet Bar Organization and Berkman Center Fellow

Many great points raised and expanded upon concerning the impact of KONY2012 both from a social media and activism standpoint.

I think in critiquing the actions of the KONY2012 campaign, it’s incredibly important to note their target audience and they ways in which they were engaged (which Devanesan does in this video), often through very specific language and simplistic narratives and imagery, how the hype and continuous drive created by Invisible Children was both generated and sustained for many years (from grassroots activism in schools to celebrity and political endorsements), as well as the culture in which this campaign was born out of (US imperialistic dominance, capitalistic ideologies, white savior syndrome).

Dear Readers–

I’m writing to ask you all a huge favor. But first, bear with me. I have to first tell you a story.

Meet Lindiwe

During my 6-month Africans for Africa project last year, I met Lindiwe (not a real name), a retired, 60-something year old African woman. Lindiwe had been running an orphanage out of her own home for the past 10 years. The government had agreed to offer her some money every month to care for up to two children, but the amount was no where near what she needed to care for the twenty-seven she’d taken in.

You see, most of their parents had passed away from HIV/AIDS, or abandoned them when they moved away to find more work. Lindiwe could barely afford to replace their tattered clothes, let alone their school uniforms. If not for the charity of a wholesale grocery store that donated canned goods each month, Lindiwe wouldn’t have been able to feed the orphans in her care at all.

But, one day, a young white American couple (that had been backpacking through the region) arrived at her doorstep, and offered to help Lindiwe raise money from abroad. The plan was to set up a non-profit in the U.S. to serve as a fiscal sponsor (i.e. serve as an umbrella organization) to the orphanage, which would enable them to collect tax-deductible donations from their network back in the states. Lindiwe couldn’t believe her luck. And, perhaps she shouldn’t have.

There are Very Wrong Ways to Do Good

Elated, Lindiwe gave the young white Americans copies of her non-profit’s official documents, which, as planned, the couple used to validate their US-based non-profit as an umbrella org for the project. Their website went up, along with photos of the orphans they’d met on their backpacking trip, and then the tax-deductible donations began to come in.

Initially, the couple sent Lindiwe money to pay for school uniforms–a mere two hundred dollars–and promised more would follow as they continued to spread the word. Thus, as they announced fundraisers — a few even hosted by celebrities — on their website, Lindiwe expected the relief she’d been promised would arrive soon. But it’s been three years since then, and not much has changed.

This past year alone, the U.S. organization has raised over $30,000. But, since their launch there years ago, only $3000 has made it to Lindiwe’s orphanage, and this is after Lindiwe has had to keep calling, emailing, and begging to receive the funds owed to the local orphanage to cover basic necessities: food, medicine, school uniforms.

Read the rest of the article here.

(via oludxra)

Changes in Africa and the impact of overseas aid are not being effectively communicated to the public, a recent conference on development messages in Dublin has heard.

Organised by Dóchas, the umbrella group for Irish aid agencies and IDEA (the Irish Development Education Association), speakers addressed the findings of a survey into Ireland’s attitude to overseas aid.

The IPSOS/MRBI poll found while 88 per cent of those surveyed are proud of the general aid programme, awareness of aid and its effect was low.

Many of those questioned (44%) thought Africa had not changed in 20 years (31%) or was worse off (14%). But this stands in sharp contrast to reports from the World Bank, McKinsey and The Economist showing dramatic improvements during this time in some parts of the region.

UN data on child mortality show that under-5 mortality dropped rapidly in sub-Saharan Africa over the last 20 years, and at an increasing rate: the rate of decline doubled from 1.2 per cent a year during 1990-2000 to 2.4 per cent a year during 2000-2010. The fall in child mortality in Africa was described recently by The Economist as "the best story in development".

“This research suggests that, despite clear progress in many developing countries, the good news stories from Africa are not reaching the general public. We now need a broader approach to informing the Irish people about the contribution that we in Ireland are making around the world,” the head of Dochas, Hans Zomer said.

The conference addressed a number of possible reasons for this disconnect according to Zomer.

The first is the survey showed most people learn about developing countries in the news, and news by its nature tends to focus on crisis events such as war or famine. Zomer said this can lead to countries like Somalia dominating headlines while prospering Ghana rarely features.

The conference - C-Cubed: Creatively Communicating Complex Ideas about Development – also looked inwards at the development community itself.

“Much of what the public sees from our members is the fundraising message. And a lot of that can be disproportionally flavoured with a sense of crisis,” Zomer said. “The net result is that we unwittingly contribute to the impression of near-constant crisis in Africa.”

Worldandmedia.com, editor, Frank Humphreys agreed, remarking that some African countries are among the fastest growing in the world. He added that in his dealings with journalists and editors, he had found significant goodwill regarding development issues and an openness to new ways of covering them. Despite their own interest, however, some felt that global development was worthy rather than something the public are interested in. Changing that perception is a challenge both for NGOs and for journalists.

Speaking by phone after the conference, Zomer said one of the problems is that stark images remain in the mind. So even though NGOs typically use a range of positive and negative imagery, the public remembers the traumatic images and associates them with Africa as a whole he said.

Also at the conference, Irish Minister for Development Joe Costello suggested over-simplification of the message as one cause of the problem.

“Too often the messages and images portrayed in fundraising and communications focus on the negative and the simple. We must communicate the more complex picture of international development and portray people in developing countries as active citizens rather than just victims; as agents in their own political and economic change.”

Confusion about funding for aid is not limited to the general public. A report published recently by British MPs on the International Development Committee said European Commission funds directed to countries such as Serbia and Turkey would be better spent on developing countries in Africa or Asia.

However this is a fundamental misunderstanding of the EuropeAid programmes according to the Commissioner for Development. Responding to the report, Andris Piebalgs said:

“An important part of our work is also to provide financial assistance to countries which are classified as developing countries and wishing to join the EU, both to support their reforms and to prepare them for implementing European standards and policies. This is delivered through separate instruments than the ones clearly aimed at fighting poverty.”

If a report commissioned by one of Europe’s largest economies cannot unravel where its funds are going and why, then it would seem the aid community is facing a serious challenge.

UNICEF Presents: Memories of Sahel (Part 1)

Memories of the Sahel is part of a new initiative by UNICEF called #SahelNOW that seeks to raise awareness about the looming food crisis in the Sahel region of Africa.

Going against the grain of traditional ‘poverty porn’-centered awareness campaigns, in this segment, UNICEF interviews Africans living in the diaspora (the US specifically) who give firsthand accounts of what life was like growing up in the Sahel as well as their concerns for future generations of Sahelians.

(Part 2)

You’d imagine that, in a post-Kony 2012 world, it’d be pretty hard to set new standards in the “Patronizing Africans” game. Well, imagine anew, my friends. American “violinist, musician, dancer, performance artist, and composer” Lindsey Stirling has covered Rihanna’s “We Found Love” and she’s shot a video for it in Kenya, all arranged and paid for by “social shopping” site VenTribe.com.

But forget about the awesome Kenyan Kikoys for a second if you can, because this video has implications that are even wider reaching. Namely, that Lindsey’s now competing with Jason Russell for the adoration of American teenagers who think Twitter saved Arabia and know for certain that Facebook will make poverty history. Because, you see, Africa is “hopeless” and the photogenic people who live there must be saved so that they can buy each other clothes online.

Here’s a little guide to Africa’s new hero (read more).

I don’t believe in charity. I believe in solidarity. Charity is vertical, so it’s humiliating. It goes from the top to the bottom. Solidarity is horizontal. It respects the other and learns from the other. I have a lot to learn from other people.
Eduardo Galeano (via thenewwomensmovement)

(via hairy-stargate-lesbian)

AJE The Stream presents - #African aid: helpful or hazardous?

Does foreign aid to Africa do more harm than good?

Britain’s Department for International Development is accused of allowing tens of millions of pounds in UK aid to be invested in Nigerian money laundering fronts, BBC Newsnight has learned.

An equity fund backed by DfID-owned subsidiary CDC Group is being investigated by Nigerian officials.

The accusation is that the private fund invested in companies linked to convicted money-launderer James Ibori.

DfID says CDC carries out thorough checks before investing in funds.

Ibori, a former governor of Nigeria’s oil-rich Delta States, who looted millions from state coffers, is due to be sentenced by a UK court having pleaded guilty to 10 counts of money-laundering and conspiracy to defraud.

As his trial at London’s Southwark Crown Court was about to begin in February 2012, Mr Ibori changed his plea to guilty and admitted stealing money from Delta State and laundering it in London through a number of offshore companies.

DfID spent £5m investigating the case, the world’s biggest money-laundering scam ever brought to justice, and Ibori’s network - which spanned four continents.

Ibori had secret accounts and companies in London, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Mauritius, Polynesia, Panama, the Marshall Islands and South Africa.