CEEG Seminar: Buying security with charity

IGM Seminar Series

What is the role of security concerns of Western countries in conditioning Official Development Assistance (ODA) in Africa? How have the dynamics of relations between donors and sub-Saharan countries evolved since 1961 when ODA was first defined? What are the main vectors of this dynamic and how has it affected the poverty eradication agenda in these countries?

These are some of the questions that will be discussed by Former Minister of Health and Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Dr Leonardo Simão, and Dr Johnny Flentø, University of Copenhagen, at an extraordinary session of the CEEG/IGM Seminar Series entitled ‘Buying Security for Charity’, to be organized on Wednesday 16 March 2022 at 12:00-13:00 at Hotel Radisson Blu (Zambeze Hall), in Maputo.

The seminar is part of the CEEG Seminar Series, organized under the Inclusive growth in Mozambique (IGM) programme. The CEEG seminars offer a forum to share and discuss ongoing research on topics related to the work of the IGM programme and to foster a culture of research at the faculty and at UEM in general.

The seminars are public events open to everyone. The presentation will be given in Portuguese.

About the study

The study explores how relations between donors and sub-Saharan countries have evolved since 1961 when ODA was first defined, what drives the dynamics and how this influences poverty eradication.

The authors argue that ODA is a multi-purpose vehicle which tries to combine poverty alleviation in poor countries with financing of the foreign policy objectives of donor countries. According to the authors, Western security concerns have influenced conditionality for ODA, affecting allocations and delivery of aid, and have altered its definition. According to them, OECD countries have been buying security with charity and have been able to align their security considerations with the moral of charity as security threats to Western countries have often also been real threats to Africa. This is not the case for migration to Europe, which is neither a security nor a welfare problem for Africa.

The study aims to show that African welfare and poverty alleviation objectives cannot be aligned with Western demands to stem the flow of young people out of Africa. While aid can still help, if the overall envelope does not increase, it will be at the expense of other poor people. When Europe cannot justify migration control as charity, and there is no common security agenda, donor governments risk using aid as a bribe to buy African governments’ assistance to control migration, which is not in Africa’s interest. ODA flows are moving to the north of Africa and to Europe’s neighbours. This is because some countries can offer security alliances to the West, which it can buy through aid budgets if there is a degree of misery in those countries.

Finally, the paper argues that Africa needs unity to undertake well-coordinated trading of services, which Europe is prepared to pay generously for. This would be better for Africa’s welfare than having to accept conditional charity with gratitude and would help European countries to address the real problem and stop treating the symptoms.

Context