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February edition

Letters to the editor

by D+C | E+Z

Opinion

Harvesting cotton in Burkina Faso

Harvesting cotton in Burkina Faso

Readers' feedback to contributions of Hans Dembowski, Vera Dicke and Peter Hauff in our February edition.

Misguiding goals

D+C/E+Z 2012/02, p. 46, Hans Dembowski: Editorial and p. 60 – 61, Vera Dicke: “New paradigms in a new millennium”

Ms. Dicke refers to a UN document stating that “the MDGs will not be achieved by 2015 unless efforts are stepped up fast”. In this context, I always miss an acknowledgement of the fact that some governments of developing countries are not living up to their responsibilities, and that is the reason why – as is argued in the editorial – development aid is about making risky investments.

The achievement of the Millennium Development Goals is not at risk, rather it is foreseeable that they will not be achieved. They only serve PR purposes for mobilising more and more funds for aid. It is necessary to acknowledge officially that the language in which the MDGs were drafted was inadequate from the start, so the goals themselves are misguiding. The list of goals includes neither good governance nor respect for human rights.

It is telling that proposals for an “Agenda beyond 2015” are being made already. Matters would be different if African presidents did not enjoy quasi-absolute powers and public office was not understood primarily as a source of personal revenue for the dominant ethnic group. Even today, a government job is considered a better way to prosperity in Africa than a solid professional training for a private sector job.

Volker Seitz, former German ambassador, Six Fours les Plages, France