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How Africa 'feeds the world'.

A discomfiting image appeared as part of New Africans January 2015 cover story: a map indicating how Africa "feeds the world". The map showed various money flows out of Africa, including those through remittances, tax evasion, company profits and loans.

As the introductory text says: "The money the continent receives in overseas aid pales in comparison to that which flows out of the continent."

Yet, the picture in this one-pager, and the message communicated through it, is one-sided and incorrect for one very simple reason: the only inflow that is mentioned is money coming in via annual overseas aid. However, when remittances, tax evasion or company profits are listed under OUT, why are for example investments, payments to local workers, tax payments and remittances, not listed under IN?

I do see the point that New African and Health Poverty Action, who are the source of the data, want to make. Don't pretend that the world is only "giving" money to African countries, money is also "taken". Yet, this map lacks critical engagement and fails to seek and communicate a proper understanding of the issue it aims to address.

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Title Annotation:By email
Author:Pijpers, Robert
Publication:New African
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Apr 1, 2015
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