By Casey Tesfaye
It's something I see quite often at liberal events: the "aid for Africa"table. A few well-intentioned kids with a poster full of pictures of all of the worst poverty in Africa. We are all very familiar with these poverty pictures and we all know the pleas -- just a dollar a day can save these families who are suffering and have no way of helping themselves.
These depictions make me sick to my stomach.
Yes, Africa suffers from great poverty and realities that are difficult for us to imagine from our secure American perspective. But Africa is, has been, and will be a whole lot more than those
caricatures will ever begin to represent.
Africa the birthplace of civilization. It is the key to many of the values that are quickly vanishing in America today, values that we suffer deeply without. And, lesser known to most, it is the beginning of the next greatest economic frontier.
In her book that is released today, Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa, Dambisa Moyo addresses the impact of aid in Africa and introduces the economic realities and potential of the continent. This NPR interview with Dambisa Moyo is a
great introduction to the book.
It is high time we take a minute to rethink and redefine the way that we view the development needs in Africa, moving away from desperation and pity, moving away from companies that practice modern colonialism, and moving into the creation of a developed Africa that respects and comes in accordance with the rich cultural heritage and values of its inhabitants and natural resources, as well as its needs and infinite potential. And nobody knows the potential and resources of Africa better than Africans themselves.
Oftentimes in American circles African aid is discussed in the total absence of African efforts. This is hardly the case in Africa, where people are fighting, dying, working, developing, training, learning, educating, giving their knowledge and expertise to their continent. It is time to explore and enable the riches that the continent has, and let Africa become a model of proper, sustainable development, in her OWN image.