Le Commerce, plutôt que l’aide

Le récent sommet du G8 en Écosse, de même que les concerts et l’engagement politique des célébrités, a mis en lumière la quantité d’aide internationale envoyée aux pays et aux peuples d’Afrique. Ceci se comprend très bien quand on connaît la pauvreté chronique du continent, ses conflits incessants et la prévalence des maladies infectieuses, notamment du sida. L’aide internationale peut faire la différence de manière positive, si elle est correctement ciblée et liée aux réformes.

Mais ce n’est pas la panacée. Le fait que tant de problèmes persistent malgré les dizaines de milliards de dollars d’aide et des années d’effort est un triste rappel : l’aide permet aux gouvernements de se lancer dans des investissements déraisonnables qui n’ont que de faibles résultats et qui peuvent facilement être détournés par les responsables corrompus. De plus, l’aide est par définition incertaine et met les Africains à la merci de forces extérieures qui échappent à leur contrôle.

L’effort politique déployé pour l’augmenter est un autre problème né de l’importance prise par l’aide (en plus de la quasi impossibilité de mesurer avec précision l’échelle des flux de toutes les sources), car il absorbe toute l’attention, qui serait bien plus utile si elle se portait sur un instrument plus puissant de développement économique : le commerce.

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