01 02 03 Africa Expat Wives Club: UK budget, Aid to Africa ringfenced... and a bit of Kenya news 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

UK budget, Aid to Africa ringfenced... and a bit of Kenya news

I watched the BBC news with interest as Chancellor George Osborne announced the emergency budget/proposed Government cuts in expenditure.  Once again, amongst all the hardships that the British taxpayer must endure, foreign aid is to be ring fenced alongside the NHS.  I do not know why foreign aid is somehow immune to an overhaul, we all know that huge cuts and improvements in effectiveness could be made in this area - since I've been expounding on this topic, I discovered that no one agrees more than the recipients of this aid.  I do notice that the Foreign office will experience 24% cuts though, presumably big, swanky embassy houses will be first to go. 

To illustrate the point about African Aid, I'll copy out a letter sent in August to The Daily Telegraph, UK by Andrew Mwenda, editor of The Independent, Uganda and signed by 5 other well respected African academics.  It's very interesting.

"The parlous state of Britain's public finances provides the perfect opportunity for British taxpayers to end their half-century long experiment with 'development aid', which has, since its inception, stunted growth and subsidised bad governance in Africa.

As Africans, we urge the generous-spirited British to reconsider an aid programme they can ill afford and which we do not want or need.  A real offer from the British people to help our development would consist of the abolition of the Common Agricultural Policy, which keeps African agricultural exports out of the European marketplace.

It is this policy, combined with the weight of regulations, bad laws and stifling bureaucracy, subsidised by five decades of development aid, which prevents Africans from lifting themselves out of poverty.

Andrew Mitchell, the Secretary of State for International Development, speaks about a 'moral imperative' to combat poverty around the world.  We could not agree more.

The British have a unique opportunity to cut the deficit and help Africa; please ask your new Government to stop your aid.'

Sadly, it seems that no one was listening...

Last week Kenya had its fair share of scandals, both political and non.  'Will-I-am' Ruto has been suspended from cabinet until his outstanding fraud case is settled regarding the selling of Ngong forest land to the Kenya Pipeline company back in 2004.  (There was also the maize scandal that he was implicated in a year or so ago - not sure what's happening on that one).  Ruto thinks it's unfair to suspend him because there are loads of ministers with court cases related to corruption pending but Raila and Kibaki are fed up with him because he's been politically divisive for ages, the icing on the cake being his leading the 'no' campaign against voting in the new constitution. 

Foreign Affairs minister Moses Wetangula is also in the hot seat this week, having apparently lost 1.1 billion shillings of taxpayers money in a dodgy Tokyo embassy construction fiasco.  He is accused of misleading the cabinet and making bad investment decisions (presumably driven by his personal business interests).  It seems that Kenya's anti-corruption investigators are working overtime at the moment and the message is, new constitution, no tolerance. 

There are some intriguing photographs in the newspapers, of 'men in black'/ICC officials snapped wearing sunglasses and hanging out in Eldoret, apparently there to conduct their investigations into post election violence.  I don't envy their job.

A Kenyan secondary school was razed to the ground by its own students.  The newspaper headline ran 'Not Again'.

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