AUF JOINS CAMPAIGN TO REFORM INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
The AUF is joining the campaign to reform the international aid structures, by requiring donors to be accountable and sensitive to the concerns of aid recipients.
In an internal AUF memo the President of the AUF, Kirimi Kaberia wrote; "....We are in the process of launching this fight against the World Bank and IMF policy of hiring foreigners who do not have much experience in the pretence that they could not find Africans to do work in Africa. We are in the process of calling for economic empowerment through jobs and not aid, through use of African talent not foreign third tier experts..."
Concerning the campaign Kirimi Kaberia added"....we are also about to challenge the African nations to require that any NGO or foreign body doing work in Africa should be required to hire, for all implementation purposes, local people as senior consultants and that any world bank, UN, IMF and ODA project should be evaluated by a local African group that is budgeted and paid for before the project is implemented... and neither of the so called donor bodies have a part in selecting the local reviewers."
The AUF is positioning its instruments to be able to apply moral and political pressure on the IMF, the WB, CIDA and other large donor organizations so that they can end their counter-productive practices towards Africans.
In October 2001 Dan Kashagama, General Secretary of the AUF, spoke to Canadian International Affairs Minister Maria Minna who oversees the activities of the Canadian International Development Agency [CIDA]. Kashagama pointed out that the RBM reports used by CIDA to evaluate aid projects do not reqire input from African implementing agencies. Kashagama also explained that contrary to conventional wisdom, financial remittances to Africa made Africans in diaspora the largest donor, seeing as they account for half of Africa's GDP, and 85% of the corporate investment in Africa. Kashagama said that the most logical way to augment development efforts in Africa is by giving employement to Africans, both those in Africa and those living abroad, and addressing the massive brain drain problem that African communities are facing.
Maria Minna, the AUF, and Africa Direct (the most prominent Canadian organization pushing for reforms in trade with Africa) share a similar position in regards to the short comings of the Canadian development aid regime. However, the reformers are facing a powerful and self-interested lobby of NGOs that continue to protect their privileged employement structures. These NGOs are not accountable to Africans, and most of their staffs have little or no real African experience. Many donor-side NGOs have no Africans in their management structures, and exploit African volunteers in raising funds most of which moneys are spend in the donor countries as salaries for non-Africans.
At a separate education conference organised by Dr. Fikre Girma, African and Caribbean NGO workers repeatedly condemned the contractual and evaluation practices of Canadian NGOs. They pointed out that most of the NGOs discriminate against their African workers, and that they continue to favour inexperienced non-Africans over qualified Africans.
Brain drain costs Africa $4bn/a
News 24: 29/10/2001 Africa has lost a third of its skilled professionals in recent decades and has had to replace them with expatriates from the West at a cost of $4 billion a year, a new report shows.
The so-called brain drain has strangled growth on the continent, leading to poverty and delayed economic development, according to the Regional Industrial Review.
"Some 23 000 qualified academic professionals emigrate from Africa each year in search of better working conditions," the report said.
"The region (Africa) has lost an estimated 60 000 middle- and high-level managers between 1985 and 1990," it added.
The report was presented on Wednesday to an African preparatory conference for next year's World Summit on Sustainable Development, nicknamed the "Earth Summit" and due to be held in Johannesburg in September 2002.
Compiled by Chris Buckley of the Pollution Research Group at Natal University in South Africa, it cites World Bank estimates that 100 000 expatriates from the industrialised countries are employed in Africa at a cost of $4 billion per year.
"[This] is 35 percent of official development assistance directed to the continent," the report says.
Experts say employing expatriate workers, who are often more expensive than African professionals, makes the process of sustaining economic and environmental development even harder.
Buckley's report lists the brain drain as a "major cause of environmental degradation", and it is one of several topics due to be discussed at the conference in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.
Nearly 40 African ministers are attending the conference, which is intended to mould Africa's agenda for the World Summit. The Johannesburg summit is a follow-up to the environmental summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 10 years ago.