Monday, September 26, 2005

Can We Defeat Poverty? - Christianity Today Magazine

Can We Defeat Poverty? - Christianity Today Magazine:
"Fresh help for Africa is on the way. When evangelicals joined U2's Bono this past summer in lobbying the political leaders of the world's richest nations for more trade, aid, and debt relief for Africa, the movement's heavy hitters signed on: John Stott, Billy Graham, and Rick Warren.

Jesus said, "The poor you will always have with you" (Matt. 26:11a). But he might also have cited corruption as another ever-present human condition. In Africa, neither the poor nor the corrupt have been transformed by the $1 trillion in foreign assistance poured over the last 50 years on that continent of 57 nations with 11.7 million square miles of land and 906 million people.

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) study released in June, shortly before the Group of 8 summit, found that there is no correlation between aid and prosperity in sub-Saharan Africa...."
It isn't just Africa that has systemic corruption problems. There are just as disturbing reports out of our own country concerning diversion of infrastructure funding into pet projects of local politicians in one of the states hit hardest by Hurricane Katrina.

The solution, of course, cannot involve disengagement, but rather the solution must address all aspects of the problem, including local corruption where it is found. Debt relief, new aid, and fairer trade are three prongs of an attack on hunger, but many critics of such programs say that they are in vain in the face of corruption.

The Church in Nigeria is setting an example:
In the central Nigerian city of Jos, Anglican Bishop Benjamin Kwashi told Christianity Today, "The only way the church can stamp out corruption is to begin from within. In our diocese, we are mercilessly insisting on accountability to the last penny."
The article concludes with a section titled "Hope, not Optimism." There are 30 elected heads of state, a ten-fold increase from 30 years ago. The Church has been proactive on exposing corruption. But massive poverty still remains and threatens all progress that has been made.


Michael W. Kruse said...

Thanks for this article, Denis. I agree that disengagement is not the answer. Realism, determination, and staying in for the long haul are what is needed.

Denis Hancock said...

The sad thing is that so many people withing the Church are suggesting that we stop throwing good money after bad.

We can start paying more attention to where this money ends up -- both in Africa and in our own back yards.

But if we disengage, then we have lost.