"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)

1.20.2010

africa's response to haiti

A Bombastic Element has an excellent roundup of various African governments' responses to the earthquake crisis in Haiti. In addition to those on that list, Monday we learned that the Democratic Republic of Congo has pledged $2.5 million to relief efforts in the country. From the BBC:
Some Congolese have criticised the offer. After years of conflict, which is still raging in the east, millions of people live in poverty.

The country depends on foreign aid and civil servants frequently go unpaid.

But Information Minister Lambert Mende told the BBC that DR Congo would contribute within its means.

"Congo isn't bankrupt, our own problems shouldn't prevent us from helping a brother country," he said.

But political scientist Ntanda Nkere from the University of Kinshasa told the BBC:

"It's a contradiction to see a country which is facing serious financial problems giving away $2.5m but at the same time, it's a purely diplomatic reaction, the Congolese government wants to appear like any other government."
Political, indeed. I'll add two remarks to Professor Ntanda Nkere's excellent point:
  1. Pledging aid isn't the same as giving aid. Western governments pledge to give money to poor states all the time and very often fail to follow through. (See, for example, money that was pledged, but not fully given to Haiti by donor states before this crisis.) File this one under "things I will believe when I see the cold, hard, steel suitcases full of unmarked, crisp dollar bills."
  2. In the grand scheme of corruption and graft that is the Congolese budget, $2.5 million is just a drop in the bucket. Is it too much to hope that those in the upper echelon of power might convince their wives to skip this month's Parisian shopping excursions in the name of giving that money to Haiti? Probably, but one can dream.
Then there's Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade's weekend offer to allow any Haitians to resettle in his country and to give them parcels of land, along with the promise that, if enough Haitians come, they could have their own region of fertile land. After facing some intense criticism for his comments, Wade has since scaled down the original promise, saying that he instead will take the question of African land for Haitians to the African Union.

I'm curious as to what specific land Wade had in mind for the Haitians before politics got in the way of his idea. Surely he wasn't thinking of resettling Haitians in the rice-producing, Creole-speaking, separatist-tending Casamance region. Right?

3 Comments:

Blogger Brendan said...

I'm not 100 percent, but I don't believe Creole (in whatever version) is spoken widely in the Casamance. I remember a lot of djiola, but that's about it. It is a nice place to live though (in spite of some somewhat stale separatism),
Brendan

Wednesday, January 20, 2010 2:49:00 PM

 
Blogger texasinafrica said...

Interesting. I looked it up (which is where I got that info), but maybe the source was wrong.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010 5:28:00 PM

 
Blogger bunmi oloruntoba said...

Aww... thanx. we are big fans of TiA.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010 7:19:00 PM

 

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