Friday, November 30, 2007

Klaus: Africa, don't rely on foreign aid

It has been ten years since the so-called Second Sarajevo Assassination, a forced resignation of the Czech prime minister Václav Klaus during his visit to Sarajevo that was justified by a financial scandal, one that was later demonstrated to be bogus.

The times are different now. President Klaus who was just nominated for the next term (the only candidate so far, despite many people who are desperately seeking Antiklaus) delivered his
speech in Lagos, Nigeria.
Klaus advised them to rely on their comparative advantages rather than foreign aid that is never really free, whose magnitude and importance is always overstated, and whose structure is always determined by the interest of donors. East Germany was used as a bad example of aid - a whole GDP of the Czech Republic was pumped to East Germany every year and they didn't make more progress than the Czech Republic that was getting no aid. Aid often makes actual useful developments impossible.

Also, the third world should determine its own optimal environmental, social, safety, labor, hygienic, and other standards, rather than to listen to someone else. Moreover, the best thing that the first world could do for Africa is to open its markets. You should see what Nigerian newspapers and their commenters write about the speech. Klaus's speech is accepted kind of enthusiastically and they seem to understand the main points and their power.

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