Walter E. Williams

 Check out the Washington, D.C.-based Heritage Foundation's "Index of Economic Freedom." Heading its list of countries with the freest economic systems are: Hong Kong, Singapore, Luxembourg, Estonia, Ireland and New Zealand. Bringing up the rear as the countries with little or no economic liberty are: North Korea, Zimbabwe, Angola, Burundi and the Congo. It's not rocket science to conclude that economic liberty and the wealth of a nation and its peoples go together, not to mention greater human rights guarantees.

 Some economic development "experts" attribute Africa's troubles to its history of colonialism. That's nonsense, because some of the world's richest countries are former colonies, such as the U.S., Canada, Hong Kong and Australia. In fact, many of Africa's sub-Saharan countries are poorer now than when they were colonies, and their people suffer greater human rights degradations, such as the mass genocide the continent has witnessed.

 One unappreciated tragedy that attests to the wasted talents of its peoples is that Africans tend to do well all around the world except in Africa. This is seen by the large number of prosperous, professional and skilled African families throughout Europe and the United States. Back home, these same people would be hamstrung by their corrupt governments.

 The worst thing that can be done is to give more foreign aid to African nations. Foreign aid goes from government to government. Foreign aid allows Africa's corrupt regimes to buy military equipment, pay off cronies and continue to oppress their people. It also provides resources for its leaders to set up "retirement" accounts in Swiss banks.

 What Africa needs, foreign aid cannot deliver, and that's elimination of dictators and socialist regimes, establishment of political and economic freedom, rule of law and respect for individual rights. Until that happens, despite billions of dollars of foreign aid, Africa will remain a basket case.


Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
 
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