Welcome to 2045

Before the intervention, we were creating poverty by our own means…

It’s embarrassing to think that the western strategies for development were not only those that created more poverty, but prioritised our own interests ahead of the poor.

Bill Gates praised the autocratic Ethiopian government and donors for setting “clear goals, choosing an approach, measuring results, and then using those measurements to continually refine our approach.”[1]His technical solutions to poverty (with £175m spent on health and development in Ethiopia over the past decade) fitted cosily with autocrat prime minister Mele’s motivation to stay in power. Not to mention the continual repressing of human rights for the poorest people. How could we think that development could happen, whilst praising or even turning a blind eye to these autocratic countries?

bill-gates
Bill Gates on a visit to Ethiopia: A state that violates the liberty of its own people?

When the aid strategy revitalized its plans to spend 50% of the budget on fragile and conflict stricken states[2], it was a seemingly self-destructive method of help. With the government causing much of this conflict in the first place, both our aid and military policy seemingly went hand in hand. Even more disturbingly our foreign policy was another cause for concern. Exporting arms to authoritarian regimes in countries which were on the UK’s own official list of human rights abuses made a contradictory case for development. In 2013, David Cameron hailed the Arms Trade Treaty to be able to “save lives and ease the immense human suffering caused by armed conflict around the world”.[3] Yet only two years later we found that UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia were fueling a civil war in the Yemen.[4]

yeme
Yemenis protest against military operations led by the Saudi coalition

Its 2045, and I am proud to say that there is no more illusion.  We have said goodbye to the secret state and waved in the reformation of direct democracy. Development is now focused on freedom and democratic rights for the people, no longer aid that is built on western support for oppressors and short term solutions. It seemed obvious that to stop the violation of the world’s poorest, we had to look at our own policies. Almost every country in Africa is now a democracy, a reformed structure with no dictators and a thriving economy. Here in the UK, transparency has been the key to how we have managed development. A free press and reformed democracy have helped us shape not only our futures, but those of the world.

[1]  Easterly, William. “Guest: The Flaw In Bill Gates’ Approach To Ending Global Poverty”. The Seattle Times. N.p., 2014. Web. 22 Dec. 2015.

[2] Center For Global Development,. “Is The UK Putting Its Own Interests Ahead Of The Poor In Its New Aid Strategy?”. N.p., 2015. Web. 22 Dec. 2015.

[3] Oxfam GB,. “UK Arms Sales Fuelling Yemen Crisis In Potential Breach Of Law Says Oxfam | Press Releases | Oxfam GB”. N.p., 2015. Web. 22 Dec. 2015.

[4] Bowcott, Owen. “UK Fuelling Yemen Civil War With Arms Sales To Saudi Arabia, Says Amnesty”.the Guardian. N.p., 2015. Web. 22 Dec. 2015.

Images:

http://www.wired.com/2015/01/bill-gates-annual-report-2015-interview/

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/17/uk-yemen-civil-war-arms-sales-saudi-arabia

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Welcome to 2045

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