Why Good Governance Matters More in Africa Than Aid

Franklin Cudjoe /

Heads of state from across the developing world arrived in New York last week for the annual United Nations meetings. Heading up the agenda this year was a summit examining the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These leaders – generally clad in expensive suits and heading enormous entourages – again shamelessly moaned and complained over the lack of adequate progress on the MDGs as if they and their governments were helpless bystanders in whether or not the MDGs are met.

There is nothing egregious about the eight MDG targets. Halving poverty, increasing education, and reducing maternal and child mortality are desirable outcomes. The only problem is that in the poorest countries the goals will not be met because they are based on a failed development model of relying on external aid rather than internal policy change to facilitate economic development and growth. And internal policy change is resisted fiercely by the very leaders expressing anguish over the lack of progress because they and their families, friends and allies benefit richly from the current system, which focuses on securing foreign aid from Western nations to be spent on thousands of carefully schemed but wasteful interventions undertaken locally, in apparent pursuit of the MDGs. (more…)