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The recent Live8 concerts and the G8 conference in Edinburgh have focused the mind on overseas aid – in particular in Africa. As I write, BBC News24 are showing the ubiquitous Bono of U2 telling us that they are “the saleman of aid in the world.”
Now, obviously saving lives is a good thing, as Michelle and I were discussing last night. There are plenty of naysayers, but I’m reserving judgement. I have a few questions for Bob and Bono before I get behind the whole movement.
One. A whole load of finger-clicking from those Live8 adverts has shown that a child dies every three seconds. How can I check this is correct?
Two. If a child dies every three seconds, and the yearly growth of Africa’s population is rising to 20% a year by 2050 at current rates (source), does that mean that a child is born more rapidly than every three seconds? If so, there’s an awful lot of spare time and carnal knowledge floating around over there…
Three. If there is a child born more rapidly than every three seconds, shouldn’t we be working to lower that birthrate at least as vigorously – if not more urgently – than stopping early death? Lower birth rates would mean food is not dispersed and stretched as much as it is currently.
Four. If we give a load more aid, and a load less people die, won’t the population of Africa grow exponentially (way, way more than the 20% predicted) until there is a population and resourcing crisis?
I’m not a naysayer. I know that there are other countries with higher population growth in other countries – but this demographic-changing aid isn’t going to those countries. I’m just asking for a few answers so I can be entirely happy with the cause. Answers on a postcard please…