Foreign Aid is a vanity project for the UK political elite and a gravy train for corrupt foreign governments ie all of them. It enables our pathetic politicians to strut on the world stage boasting of how much they are helping the poor of Africa etc whilst providing our elite with all expenses paid foreign holidays, sorry fact finding missions, in the depth of our cold winters As with all political claims the oposite is the truth. Aid does not help the poor and needy because it never gets to them. Worse it creates a dependency culture in their politicians which saves them having to think about economic reform. I would recommend shutting the Dept for Overseas Development down lock stock and barrel and ship out to each country enough copies of the book Self Help by Samuel Smiles to give one copy to each member of their corrupt governments. Smiles published this book in 1859 at his own expense and by his death in 1904 it had sold 250,000 copies,
Click below to read Wikipedia entry on Smiles
It would do more for helping the poor better themselves than all the development economists laid end to end which I believe frequently happens. I quote from Wikipedia to give a flavour of Smiles philosophy.
"Labour is toilsome and its gains are slow. Some people determine to live by the labour of others, and from the moment they arrive at that decision, become the enemies of society. It is not often that distress drives men to crime. In nine cases out of ten, it is choice not necessity. Moral cowardice is exhibited as much in public as in private life. Snobbism is not confined to toadying of the rich, but is quite as often displayed in the toadying of the poor... Now that the "masses" exercise political power, there is a growing tendency to fawn upon them, flatter them, speak nothing but smooth words to them. They are credited with virtues they themselves know they do not possess. To win their favour sympathy is often pretended for views, the carrying out of which is known to be hopeless. The popular agitator must please whom he addresses, and it is always highly gratifying to our self-love to be told that someone else is to blame for what we suffer. So it rarely occurs to these orators to suggest that those whom they address are themselves to blame for what they suffer, or that they misuse the means of happiness which are within their reach ... The capitalist is merely a man who does not spend all that is earned by work."
Perhaps the following will remind you of the no one's fault guff we endure today from our elite.
"When typhus or cholera breaks out, they tell us that Nobody is to blame. That terrible Nobody! How much he has to answer for. More mischief is done by Nobody than by all the world besides. Nobody adulterates our food. Nobody poisons us with bad drink. Nobody supplies us with foul water. Nobody spreads fever in blind alleys and unswept lanes. Nobody leaves towns undrained. Nobody fills gaols, penitentiaries, and convict stations. Nobody makes poachers, thieves, and drunkards. Nobody has a theory too—a dreadful theory. It is embodied in two words—Laissez faire—Let alone. When people are poisoned by plaster of Paris mixed with flour, "Let alone" is the remedy. When Cocculus indicus is used instead of hops, and men die prematurely, it is easy to say, "Nobody did it." Let those who can, find out when they are cheated: Caveat emptor. When people live in foul dwellings, let them alone. Let wretchedness do its work; do not interfere with death.
As has oft been said its trade not aid that poor countries need and which of course the EU opposes to protect its own farmers.
The way out for these countries is education, education, education plus a rigorously enforced birth control programme. The two countries that have follwed these policies over the last 25 years, India & China are now the economic powerhouses of the world with even a fully fledged space programme which we of course cannot afford.
We are Mrs Jellaby a minor Dickens character in Bleak House a "telescopic philanthropist" obsessed with an obscure African tribe but having little regard to the notion of charity beginning at home. We have Bob Geldof today in this role but Mrs J swore less.
The answer to my initial question, "Where does our aid go?" can be seen in the capital of every poor African country, full of Mercedes Benz motor cars and no bread. Our aid supports the German car industry and has created a new tribe in Africa, the WaBenzi..