Ironically, the gap between rich and poor is far greater within Africa than it is worldwide. There, more than 300 million—about a third of the continent’s total population—subsist on less than $1 per day while, according to Merrill Lynch’s 2006 “World Wealth Report,” the wealthiest 100,000 have a combined worth of about $800 billion, up from $700 billion just a year ago. “Forget about the gap between north and south,” wrote Aidan Hartley in Britain’s The Spectator (June 25, 2005). “The wealth gap within countries like Kenya is far, far worse than in any other part of the globe.”
The money that has been sunk into Africa is indeed enormous. Hartley remarked, “After joyriding their way through six Marshall Plans’ worth of aid Africa is poorer today than 25 years ago.”
True, the reality of graft and corruption has to be factored in to the management of aid and trade, but this is not just an African problem. As recent multibillion-dollar accountancy frauds and the thousands of illegal kickbacks to Saddam Hussein in the UN’s oil-for-food program attest, corruption and graft blight all societies, not just African ones.