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[Published: Tuesday July 13 2010]

 Western links to Africa ‘should not be based on aid’

The overwhelmingly humanitarian interest of Western countries in Africa is outdated, outmoded and a deterrent to serious business interest, said a new Chatham House report. Only private sector led growth will ultimately deliver the development Africa needs: global players that understand this and develop greater diplomatic and trade relations with African states will be greatly advantaged. While aid is a necessary safety net, it is not a springboard. 
The report, Our Common Strategic Interests: Africa’s Role in the Post-G8 World, was released just before last month’s G8/G20 summit in Canada. It found an increasing number of emerging economies– including China, Turkey, South Korea and Brazil - were boosting diplomatic and trade links with Africa.
Its author, Tom Cargill, noted: “Everyone knows about China’s ambitions in Africa, but many other emerging powers are capitalising on new opportunities opening up across this continent of one billion consumers. Yet without a strong Western business engagement, bringing with it a focus on regulation and reform, the result could be a new scramble that reproduces the worst excesses of colonial rule.”

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