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African corruption is a crime against humanity

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You'd have to be living in a cave not to know that Martha Stewart got a "five and five" sentence a few weeks ago for lying about her stocks. Chances are, you're not living in a cave, but you still don't know about one of the biggest con jobs of our time: The misuse of foreign aid to Africa.

Perhaps this is because it's not as sexy as Ms. Stewart's trial or as gut-wrenching as the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan. Or perhaps, it is because it has been such an embarrassment to Western governments and private organizations who keep on believing that foreign aid will help Africa.

As long as corruption exists at its current levels in Africa, and as long as donors continue to look the other way, foreign aid will simply serve to keep African kleptocrats in power.

Consider this: Sub-Saharan Africa has received an estimated $114 billion in bilateral and multilateral aid from 1995-2002. Yet African countries have consistently ended up at the bottom of the United Nations Development Program's Human Development report, which measures life expectancy, gross domestic product per person, and literacy.

So you may ask the billion-dollar question: Where did the money go? Perhaps the British high commissioner to Kenya, Edward Clay, was asking the same question about official graft last month when - suggesting donor aid to Kenya could be suspended - he publicly accused unnamed Kenyan officials of behaving so gluttonously at the aid trough that they are now "vomiting on the shoes" of donors.

And sub-Saharan Africa has seen the likes of many gluttons. Some of the most infamous include Mobutu Sese Seko, the former president of Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) who allegedly stole $5 billion, and Sani Abacha, former president of Nigeria, who allegedly looted more than $2 billion. Both former leaders are dead, but their legacy of corruption continues to afflict their nations.


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