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Should you donate to the WaterAid charity?

Last week a charity called WaterAid ran a series of TV ads appealing for money to provide clean water for families in Ethiopia.

I’m sure WaterAid do excellent work and I’m sure they do provide clean water and sanitation for hundreds of thousands of people who wouldn’t otherwise get them. But should we be donating at all?

WaterAid raises and spends about £74m a year, has 684 staff and its chief executive gets a remuneration package of £141,201. That’s about the same as the British Prime Minister, who is responsible for a rather larger budget and rather more people. Moreover, the chief executive seems quite well rewarded compared to the chief executives at some other, much larger, charities. One might wonder, for example, why WaterAid’s chief executive should get £32,000 a year more than the chief executive of Oxfam (£109,000 a year) which has a budget (£386m) five times as large as WaterAid and around 5,000 employees compared to WaterAid’s 684 employees.

But let’s not allow that to dissuade us from helping WaterAid. Instead let’s look at the estimated wealth of Ethiopia’s ten richest people, all of whom appear to be part of or have close relations with the Ethiopian Government:

The 10 Richest Ethiopians in 2013

1. Mohammed Al Amoudi – Controls gold mines and massive tracts of fertile lands that were handed to him by Meles Zenawi, after their owners were kicked out and displaced. Estimated net worth: $10bn.

2. Azeb Mesfin – Widow of the late dictator Meles Zenawi, commonly known as the “mother of corruption” has ownership interests in many of the biggest companies in Ethiopia. Estimated net worth: $4bn.

3. mBerhane Gebrekiristos – The closest and most trust friend of Meles and Azeb; launders their loot out of the country. Estimated net worth: $2bn.

4. Sebhat Nega – His fortune has been declining after he was kicked out of the TPLF politburo and the Endowment Fund for the Relief of Tigray (EFFORT) by Meles and Azeb; he is currently rebounding. Estimated net worth $2bn.

5. Seyoum Mesfin – Current Ethiopian ambassador to China, former foreign affairs minister, used his chairmanship of Ethiopian Airlines and diplomatic status to smuggle illegal drugs between Africa and Asia; he is perhaps the biggest drug trader in Africa. Estimated net worth: $1.8bn

6. Samuel Tafesse – One of Azeb Mesfin’s business partners; their relationship has gone sour over the past couple of years, negatively affecting his construction business. Estimated net worth: $1.6bn

7. Abay Teshay – A senior member of the ruling party, has blind partnerships with many of the big companies in Ethiopia. Net worth: $1.5bn

8. Omer Ali Shifaw – Owner of Nejat International, whose wealth has been declining after TPLF started to compete with his coffee exporting business. Estimated net worth: $500m

9. Eyob Mamo – CEO and Chairman of Capitol Petroleum Group, Washington DC. Estimated worth: $500m.

10 . Suhura Ismail Khan – She has become the biggest khat trader in East Africa by establishing partnerships with TPLF officials and forging a close friendship with the late dictator Meles Zenawi. The TPLF-occupied Ethiopian embassies around the world are her main khat export routes to the Diaspora. Estimated net worth: $200m

It would seem that the Ethiopian elites have more than enough money to provide clean water and sanitation for all their people without WaterAid’s help!

As in so many Third World countries, the aid we give is just allowing the corrupt, kleptocratic elites to steal money from their countries as they know we’ll look after their impoverished people.

And let’s look at the population of Ethiopia:

population re band aid

When Saint Bob did his BandAid gig, there were about 40 million Ethiopians. Now there are 96 million. No wonder they don’t all have clean water and sanitation. No wonder they’re flooding across the Med, headed for Europe.

When asking for our money, charities like WaterAid forget to mention the scale of corruption in the countries where they work and they gloss over the unsustainable rate of population growth.

Likewise, when telling us that Africans drowning in the Med is all our fault, the media and the bleeding-heart opinion-formers also don’t mention the real reason for the tsunami of African immigrants – rampant corruption and unsustainable population growth.

It’s time to stop this foreign aid farce. It’s time to tell the truth:

1. African leaders steal three times as much from their countries each year than we give in aid. If we could just cut the level of corruption in Africa by half, we wouldn’t need to give any aid at all and the countries would still be better off

2. If Africans were to practice just a little birth control, then maybe 80% of them wouldn’t be living in abject poverty (less than $1.25 a day)

8 comments to Should you donate to the WaterAid charity?

  • BaronessBonkers

    Sorry, am I bothered by insufficient water in Ethiopia? No.
    Yes, I am bothered about them and others all coming over here where water shortage is also a (not talked about) problem and getting worse with every immigrant landing here.

  • Bob

    That is one of the most disgusting, selfish, horrible things I have ever heard. No one chose to be born where they are. You should switch places with a starving African person before deciding whether they ‘deserve’ your sympathy. People like you are the problem of the world.

  • How do you know they are starving have you seen them starving? And i dont mean on the t.v when there acting poor to get money from the dumb west. Idiot. The point he is making is that the “starving” people are having children on a massive scale. 11 children+, please tell how the hell this is sustainable??. The british public alone has been providing millions of pounds for over 30 years, but the problems only got worse.

  • JohnBradley

    Wateraid appears to be a job for the boys, possibly a Scam. Advertisers should be made to show the salaries of these so called directors. They raise about 74 million pounds a year, they have 684 employees, therefore after taking out all salaries cost of TV adverts, and other overheads, it does not leave much to fund water projects. Why don’t the very rich people in that country who make 25 billion a year contribute to the cause?

  • Ali Karolia

    And I was just about to donate £500.00. The comments above are very interesting. And funnily enough, the gist of all the comments I agree with. I agree with donating to poor people and helping them live a better life, especially providing clean water. But I also agree with investigating CEO’s of charities who get paid a hell of a lot and where the money donated really goes. Also, I think charities doing the same or similar things should be forced to merge. One CEO to pay instead of ten. Also investigating the countries and using resources to tackle the corruption to redirect funds to the development. A project management approach with various streams doing all the activities at the same time.

  • Helen Dale

    Why are we still being besieged with these appeals? I pay enough from my taxes towards the bloated overseas aid budget to put right problems like this. I’ve just had six years of my (paid for) state pension taken from me so that we can ( amongst other things) support all those who don’t help themselves. I’m sick and tired (literally).

  • John Riggs

    A friend of mine told me recently that he knows someone who worked, briefly, for a water providing charity (I’m assuming it was this one, but not certain.) He was employed in the actual digging of wells, and had intended it to be a lifelong occupation, which, he felt, was a worthwhile one. He returned after just over a year, disillusioned. According to him, it costs, on average, about £5,000 to dig a well. The budget for that period was almost £200,000. After digging two wells, the money had run out. When wells were actually dug and a clean water supply provided, more often than not, the supply soon ran out – the locals simply didn’t seem to understand that it was not an inexhaustible supply and left the tap running the whole time.

  • Eze Ugonne

    AID is a western industry, using (mostly) images of poor africans as bait. If you truly drill down to how the money is spent,you will discover that 5% only goes to the african baits. The rest is spent sustaining the western industry: huge western workforce (they wont even hire local skilled people .. only menial labourers), extensive properties, huge executive wages, expensive tv adverts.

    So, people, wise up and stop pointing fingers at the scapegoat africans. Stop moaning about immigrants who were ripped off on the basis of a ‘commonwealth’ ..

    I guess it’s convenient to bury your heads and refuse to acknowledge the reality of the historical and on-going rip-off of africans by western industry. Africans must keep paying to keep westerners blameless and guilt-free .. yeah, we have begun to understand the score.

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