London: Billions of taxpayers’ cash is being spent on spurious aid projects through the European Union, including giving dance lessons to Africans who earn less than 70 pence a day.
Britons pay GBP 1.4 billion towards the European Union’s GBP 10 billion aid budget, but much of the money is going to corrupt regimes or projects where no checks are made that it is properly spent, the Daily Mail reports.
The European Union’s Court of Auditors has criticised Brussels for failing to measure the impact of the aid.
It has accused the European Union Commission of randomly selected projects without assessing a country’s needs, and corrupt regimes were getting vast handouts just by filling out paperwork.
In Burkina Faso, where half the population earns less than 70 pence a day, Belgian instructors are teaching people how to dance through the ‘I Dance Therefore I Am’ project. Organisers say: ‘If its music moves, Africa will also move.’
The European Union has given GBP 8.8 million to an immigration advisory centre in Mali, which tells people how to find jobs in Europe. The centre has found work for six people in three years.
A medical store built through aid funds in Sierra Leone, to house pharmacists and distribute free drugs, has been left derelict and is used as a urinal.
Malawi – which recently outlawed flatulence in public and ruled that gay people could face 14 years’ jail – will get GBP 450 million in aid money over five years.
Malawi’s president Bingu Mutharika bought a jet shortly after receiving the latest tranche of EU cash.
Uganda is getting GBP 407 million over five years. President Yoweri Museni, 67, bought a Gulf Stream G550 jet. He has also built a lavish GBP 100 million residence while most of his people live in poverty.
Other funds dished out by the EU are swallowed up by bureaucracy and spin doctors.
Britain’s International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said the controversy ‘underlines the reason why we are pressing for strong reforms of the way the EU spends aid’.