And many times I get the impression that they are not really even interested in hearing from Africans who might know. They want to visit us, see what’s happening on the ground, and make a decision. And now I’m maybe being harsh. But I worry because this money is so important. Now, who are they accountable to? Are we on their boards when they make decisions about where to channel money? Are we there? Will we make the same mistake that we made before? Have our presidents and our leaders — everyone is talking about — have they ever called these people together and said, “Look, your foundation and your foundation — you have so much money, we are grateful. Let’s sit down and really tell you where the money should be channeled and where this aid should go.” Have we done that? The answer is no. And each one is making his — their own individual effort. And then 10 years from now, billions will again have gone into Africa, and we would still have the same problems.
This is what gives us the hopeless image. Our inability to take charge and say to all these people bringing their money: “Sit down.” And we don’t do it because there are so many of us. We don’t coordinate. We’ve not called the Bill Gates and the Soros — and everybody else who is helping and say, “Sit down. Let’s have a conference with you. As a continent, here are our priorities. Here is where we want you to channel this money.” Each one should not be an entrepreneur, going out and finding what is best. We’re not trying to stop them. At all! But to help them help us better. And what is disappointing me is that we are not doing this. Ten years from now, we will have the same story, and we will be repeating the same things. So our problem right now is, how can we leverage all this good will that is coming towards our way? How can we get government to combine properly with these private foundations, with the international organizations, and with our private sector.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the first female Finance Minister in Nigeria, speaking on aid versus trade at TEDGlobal 2007. (via theafricatheynevershowyou)