South 2 North questions the idea of foreign aid

Last Friday on South 2 North, Al Jazeera’s new global talk show broadcast from Johannesburg, Redi Tlhabi questioned the idea of foreign aid.

“Most people would agree that donating money to a good cause is a positive thing,” says Redi. “But, looking deeper into aid and development, a more complex picture emerges. In some cases, foreign aid has been more damaging than helpful – undermining local economies, prolonging wars and triggering corruption.

On Friday’s show, we’ll explore the different facets of giving and find out why international aid, as we see it today, could become a practice of the past.”

Moeletsi Mbeki

Moeletsi Mbeki

Redi’s guests this week are Dr. Oliver Stuenkel, assistant professor at The Getulio Vargas Foundation in Sao Paolo; Joanna Kerr, international chief executive of ActionAid International; and Moeletsi Mbeki, deputy chairman of The South African Institute of International Affairs and author of Advocates For Change: How To Overcome Africa’s Challenges.

“As leaders from five of the world’s leading emerging economies, also known as the BRICS group, meet here in South Africa to discuss how South to South partnerships can free developing countries from the shackles of aid and western economic dominance, I want to discuss all the issues around giving,” says Redi. “Africa is more dependent on aid than any other continent and its citizens have had little choice about whether to accept it or not. Is it possible that we could see Africa taking charge of its own future instead of being the passive recipients of aid?”

What exactly is BRICS? Why is this year’s summit about Africa? What role will the BRICS Development Bank play in Africa? Are there parallels between BRICS countries in terms of aid reliance? Considering the legacy of colonialism in Africa, do the colonisers not have an obligation to redress some of the wrongs without strings? How is international aid contributing to corruption and war in Africa? Is aid from BRICS countries like China any different? Is aid addictive? Can aid be provided in a more constructive manner? Will we see the end of aid to Africa in our lifetime?

Watch Redi ask the important questions on this week’s episode of South 2 North, premiering at 19:30 GMT on Friday, 29 March 2013 and also screening Saturday at 14h30, Sunday 04h30 and Monday 08h30.

For more information, visit aljazeera.com/programmes/south2north/, where all episodes are available to watch online.

You can also tweet your questions, comments and opinions to @AJSouth2North or find South 2 North on Facebook: facebook.com/pages/South-2-North/255419671252120.

Catch up on last week’s episode, where Redi explored the plight of refugees:

Kevin Kriedemann

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