NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Africa Needs Trade, Not Aid

May 24, 2002

A consensus is growing among African leaders and their western counterparts that trade and investment in Africa are critical to overcoming poverty. Prior over-emphasis on inter-nation aid has actually handicapped Africa by promoting a mentality of dependency -- leaving the impression that African countries could not compete in the global economy.

Africans who advocate this viewpoint, including many delegates to the Organization of African Unity, also make these observations:

  • African exports of manufactured or processed goods tend to employ more people, at higher skill levels, and generate more subsidiary benefits throughout economies.
  • The African Growth and Opportunity Act, passed in the U.S., resulted in new foreign investment in many African countries and holds the promise of creating thousands of new jobs by giving duty-free and quota-free access to the U.S. market to essentially all goods produced in Africa.
  • President Bush is on the right track in linking developmental assistance to opening African markets to trade, improving governance, and establishing economic and political freedoms.

Source: President Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), "How Americans Can Help Africa," Wall Street Journal, May 24, 2002.


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