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Aid and charity is wrong for Africa – Economist

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An International Economist has said “aid and charity are the wrong way towards addressing the systemic challenges and development issues in Africa.”

Dr. Yash Tandon, Executive Director of the Geneva based South Centre, an intergovernmental organisation of developing countries made the statement during the general debate at the conference.

He, therefore, called on UNCTAD to lead the way in finding ways and means of exiting from aid dependence for countries in the South, especially Africa.

Dr Tandon noted that though there were areas of development in the South that gave reasons for celebration “we are still confronted with major challenges at the systemic level of the world economic order that hampered the development of the South despite so much aid from the North.”

He said the independence shown by some Latin American countries from dependence on the North and the growth of the economies of some Asian countries, were examples of positive development in the South.

“Africa however looks more mired than the rest of the South in the quagmire of the past even though there are signs of growth in Africa too,” he said.

Dr Tandon said, in the face of the many serious formidable obstacles UNCTAD will be expected to channel its energies and future efforts into addressing challenges in six major areas to guarantee change towards a more equitable and just world economic order.

He said UNCTAD needed to first recognise that the three pillars formed by the UN reform process- security, development and human rights were interdependent and that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were not simply a statistical game of numbers, or simply one of finding money but that there were difficult political issues underlying them.

“UNCTAD must recognise the Washington consensus is dead and therefore there is a need for fresh thinking on development, financial architecture and climate change,” he said.

Dr Tandon also called on UNCTAD to recognise that, the North could not define development for the South, adding that it was also necessary for UNCTAD to work through the UN in seeking to improve the lot of the South.

He noted that as difficult as the challenges might be, it was necessary for UNCTAD to face them, saying that, inaction was no option for developing countries.

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