NGOs and the destruction of local innovation

From Emergent Africa Sat Nov 17 2012, 06:00:00

Jeremy Weate writes in African Arguments:

...the NGO sector in Africa has become a thriving cottage industry. Just as evangelical churches have mushroomed since the dark days of a structurally adjusted 1980s, so too has the NGO sector. In both cases, an opt-out from state failure is on offer: just as you must provision your own security, water and electricity to address practical living needs in many African situations, so too can you opt out of earthly citizenship altogether, via donor-assistance from Monday to Friday and worship on the weekend.On their pernicious effects

Let us take a brief look at the damage they can cause. One specific form the harm takes lies in how donor assistance to NGOs erodes academia and the production of local knowledge and critical discourse. We might wonder how many African academics have been lost to the secluded world of donor-dependent NGOs. What could have been ranks of inspiring lecturers and professors, passing on knowledge and critical insights to the next generation, have been reduced to the bland status of the consultant, forever doomed to crafting 'baseline studies' and 'situation reports', according to terms of reference ...

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