Despite the hundreds of billions of dollars that have been poured into Sub-Saharan Africa over the past century in an effort to propel development, Africa remains by far the poorest continent in the world. Failure has arisen from the problematic nature of the administration of the aid. Traditionally, aid has come in the form of military aid, and large international financial transactions. Although these forms of aid have overall failing track records, targeted developmental assistance has been historically successful. In order to pull Africa out of poverty, the international community should focus on targeted developmental assistance.
Recent military conflicts have broken out all across northern Africa and the sub-Saharan Sahel Region. Most countries in these regions face their own unique violent conflicts. Conflicts stem from a myriad of sources including ethnic differences, political or religious ideologies, low human development, corrupt and oppressive governance, resource disputes, and poor economic performance (Oyeniyi 1). Governments all across North Africa were overthrown in the Arab Spring, and violent conflicts with extremist factions such as Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) have resulted in large amounts of international military aid to this region.
Proponents of military aid argue that the political instability the region currently faces precludes any meaningful economic or political development. Extremist factions oppose development in the region, as this would decrease their capacity to operate with impunity. For example, the name of a Nigerian extremist group “Boko Haram” essentially means “Western education is sacrilege.” Western ideals such as democracy, capitalism, and transparency are essential in development. As long as extremist factions with vested interests in keeping the area underdeveloped have secure footholds, development is unlikely to occur. Arguments for military aid rest on the premise that military aid can stabilize the region allowing it to develop itself.
However, military aid has seen mixed results.
The 2013 French-led military intervention in Mali is one example of successful military aid. The conflict in Mali originated from ethnic tensions between the Northern Tuareg rebels, and the Southern Malians who had long controlled the country’s politics. The Tuaregs in collaboration with several Islamist extremist factions e.g. Ansar Al-Dine, Ansar Al-Sharia, and AQIM, formed the National Movement for the Liberation of the Azawad (MNLA), and seized control of Northern Mali. Once Northern Mali had been compromised, some Islamist extremist factions began implementing harsh Muslim Sharia Law. In response to this, the Tuaregs joined forces with the Malian army and the international coalition to retake Northern Mali. “France deployed a powerful military force in Mali...that easily pounded the separatist rebels and Islamist extremists into hasty retreat....By the end of January 2013 the military...