Lavish aid to Africa is turning the continent into a ‘spoilt child’, according to the head of a charity backed by Nelson Mandela.
Mike Kendrick, founder of the respected Mineseeker Foundation, warned that aid often increased the hardship faced by the world’s poorest people.
In a devastating verdict, he told the Daily Mail last night: ‘I sometimes use the analogy of a spoilt child. We have all seen rich parents give their child everything they need, without earning it.
Well connected: Nelson Mandela, left, supporter of Mike Kendrick, right, whose charity Mineseeker Foundation, warns Africa is turning into a 'spoilt child'
‘Africa is a spoilt child of the planet. It is not their fault. It is ours.
‘It is completely pointless and totally detrimental to spend endless billions on projects that are well intentioned but badly thought out and poorly implemented.
‘The current government is apparently determined to repeat the mistakes of the former one.’
Mr Kendrick decided to speak out as David Cameron defended of his controversial pledge to increase spending on international aid by 34 per cent while cutting budgets at home.
He is now seeking a meeting with the Prime Minister to discuss his experiences of the impact of aid on developing countries.
The Mineseeker Foundation was established ten years ago with the backing of Sir Richard Branson to help the victims of landmines in former conflict zones, including many parts of Africa.
Mr Kendrick said he had witnessed the failure of international aid at first hand and his views were ‘shared’ by Mr Mandela.
He said that as well as making people dependent on handouts, aid money often undercut local businesses and initiatives.
‘International financial aid, unless specifically targeted toward practical and ongoing projects, is of little use and should be stopped immediately to prevent yet more suffering,’ he added.
‘We need to change lives permanently, not just whilst funds last, and develop sustainable sturdy economies that will transform lives on a long-term basis.
‘The problem is that aid, when badly directed, actually kills people and this is a matter of fact – not opinion. In the past few decades the West has provided several trillion dollars in aid, yet the average African is now twice as poor as he was before all that started.’
Mr Kendrick said that even well-meaning initiatives, such as Gordon Brown’s project to supply £100million of mosquito nets to Africa, could have damaging unintended consequences.
‘I doubt he realised that in doing so he was committing many hundreds of people into a poverty trap that would possibly reduce them to starvation.
‘Making and repairing mosquito nets is one of the few remaining cottage industries in Africa and by dumping millions of dollars worth of nets in various areas it simply shut all of those local businesses down.’
Mr Kendrick is pioneering a series of ‘aid-free zones’ in Mozambique to attract investors to directly support local businesses. The first project, to create a major coconut plantation, could eventually sustain 50,000 people and is being set up without a penny of aid.
Mr Kendrick said similar projects could transform Africa in the long term, while aid would never be more than a quick fix.