Sponsor an African 2.0

October 20, 2005 at 4:45 am 2 comments

edit: while no one seems to actually read this blog, but regardless
not to sure on this post anymore. if anything Africa does need foriegn aid
and my original comments in some sections might be off. It’s best to send money
directly to people apparently, but anyway, basically taking some of the bits in this back.

When the BBC did it’s coverage of Africa several African business people stepped up and criticized the whle affair. Live 8, after all, was a sponsorhip of Africa not a festival celebrating it’s people. Musicians showed up from Africa to discover they were telling the old tom fool tale of woo are weze, we starving [insert name of african country]. Of course saying such a thing as African aid is kinda misonomer. After all we don’t say “Europe Aid” when an eastern european country needs a loan forgiven and some international aid to keep it’s neuvo-democracy on track, but we’ve grouped Africa into one giant pity-bunch a world where people are flundering for “aid” and the insuation that comes with it. Of course the charity givers would deny such a pronouncement, and are probably quite sincere, how did helping anyone ever hurt them? Well, let’s face it South Africa doesn’t need our money. Nigeria is doing rather well. Kenya has managed to attract Asian electronics manufacturers to build plants in Kenya. Business is booming, cellphones are taking over where landlines stopped. There’s such a thing as motivation, stop giving so much. Bury or recycle your own shirts and let Africans actually build some textiles again, after all we need more cool shirts and I can assure you there are plenty of Americans dying for the latest in thrifted threads as there are Japanese and Europeans wanting for that vintage Motley Crue t-shirt. While the goodwill sells bundles of shirts to the enterprising in Africa it takes away from their ability to build their own businesses, design their own shirts, be essentially whatever nationality, race, or people they want to be. Dress is an important part of who we are. As has been pointed out, subsidides in Europe, Asia, and North America keep farmers in those countries afloat while Africans fail to fetch the optimal price for their crop. Industrialized countries need to work on rural povery as a way of diminishing welfare laced professions like farming (and yes the rural povery act has helped that). Anyway, this microfinance projct called Kiva is sorta a step in the right direction. It lets you provide the business the financing to start their own business. While that’s great and all, why can’t it just be a bank like India’s? It’s touching that my money can go an enterprising individual and again the money is going to the right place, but what are we saying when we deprive Africa of a fully fledged microfinance bank. These things cost nothing, take their money, capital is easy to find for microfinance these days. Why do Africans still have to be tethered even in microfinance to the idea that someone is richer than them, that this person has so much money they can just give them a loan? There’s something addictive about Kiva. You wanna give the person the loan and watch them suceed, you can sit there and watch them through their journals, but why do they have to keep journals? As a sponsor you recieve e-mail updates just like the dollar a day crusades of the 80s. These people need a bank for Africans that takes their money, collects interest, and proceeds to invest it. Savings accounts for the small, cash only credit accounts. I’m rather dissapointed to see that once again we’re pandering even if it is helpful pandering.


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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. andrew  |  October 23, 2005 at 3:33 pm

    for a more positive spin on kiva:



  • 2. Jeremy Frazao  |  February 9, 2006 at 9:38 am

    A few months ago you wrote this great post about a microfinancing website called Kiva that does peer-to-peer lending over the internet. Kiva got a lot of publicity from the blogosphere, and it was a tremendous help in raising money to fund entreprenuers.

    I just wanted to let you know that Kiva has posted a bunch of new businesses up on the site. We’ve got around 20 businesses from three different continents, and we’re hoping that you’re still interested in what we’re doing. We’ve got everything from a Bulgarian chokeberry farmer to a Palestinian carpenter to a group of Senegalese women using solar cookers for seafood preparation.

    If you’d like to write another post about what we’re doing, it would be an incredible help. We don’t have connections to the mainstream media or powerful corporate sponsors, but with a little help we can make a huge impact.


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