Every year, billions of dollars are spent by Non-governmental Organizations (NGOS) to supposedly fight poverty, disease, wars and so forth on the continent of Africa. Non-governmental organizations are also known as Not for Profit Organizations (NPOs). Many western funded organizations solicit funds under the guise of helping ‘poor’ Africans. But billions of dollars are actually spent on tenders given to Western based companies, high salaries for expatriates and false media campaigns about what is actually happening in Africa.
Many NGOs in African countries are managed by westerners seeking high paying jobs and people who generally have a paternalistic ‘savior’ complex. Every few years celebrities like Bono, George Clooney and so forth will launch some international campaign under the guise of helping Africans who are in desperate need. However, most of these organizations are actually created to fund western interests.
Ever wonder why western governments will readily fund Not for Profit Organizations but will never fund entrepreneurship and business funding projects that actually help up to become economically independent. Since the introduction of Economic Structural Adjustment Programs, western donor agencies have shifted some of their funding from governments to NGOs.
In South Africa, for example, after the NPO Act of 1997 was passed, there have been 136,453 organizations registered. South Africa’s Department of Social Development receives about 98 applications for non-profit registration every day. We wonder how many applications for registering businesses the government receives also.
Kanyinga and Mitullah (2007) discovered about 350,000 registered NGOs operating in Kenya for example. Not surprisingly, the majority of non-profit organizations registered in Kenya operate as self-help groups and women’s organizations. Between 1997 and 2005, the number of NGOs operating in Kenya is believed to have increased by over 1000%. Kenya’s Non-profit sector employs about 2.1% of the active labor force which is more than those employed in manufacturing. If Kenya and Africa want to grow their economies, this has to change. 88% of funding for NGOs comes from external sources and only 6% from their own sources.
If Africa wants to become an economic powerhouse, we have to rethink everything we know and have been told about NGOs and not for profit organizations, especially ones that are western funded.
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