Africa Aid Created Army of Beggars, Says Mandelson
Byline: Gerri Peev Political Correspondent
MOST of the aid sent to Africa in the past half century has been wasted and has turned the region's countries into 'professional beggars', according to Peter Mandelson.
The former Cabinet minister gave one of the harshest assessments yet of successive governments' aid policies, warning that Britain had failed to help African economies grow.
Lord Mandelson, a former business secretary, insisted that the money should have been poured into trade rather than handouts.
The Labour peer told The Times Summit on Africa in London: 'Most of the aid we have sent to Africa over the last five decades has probably, in the main, been wasted as far as growth is concerned.
'I'm not anti-aid, but if you ask me where I would put my money, it would go on trade rather than aid as a key to Africa economic development.' His extraordinary intervention comes as many on the Tory backbenches are questioning the wisdom of the Coalition's policy to ringfence overseas aid while making cutbacks elsewhere. Lord Mandelson, who is also a former EU trade commissioner, then said that the elimination of subsidies and opening up Europe's markets was key to helping Africa. 'Far too much EU trade policy since decolonisation has interpreted our responsibilities in Europe as shielding these economies from economic change rather than in a progressive way opening up these economies,' he said. 'This has marooned many African economies, demeaning many African governments by turning them into professional aid beggars. …