The Anglican Archbishop of Central Africa, Khotso Makhulu, has criticised some international donor agencies for being "neo-colonialist" and power-hungry at the expense of poor developing countries whose raw materials have been exploited by the West.
"Sometimes people have talked about the altruism of aid," Archbishop Makhulu said. Then he added pointedly: "Is it not looking for a niche for influence?"
Archbishop Makhulu told a conference of the International Council on Social Welfare, held in Gaborone, Botswana, in mid-May, that rich, developed countries were "vying in for a place in the sun at all costs" despite the effect on developing nations.
"Development is not about the cuddling of sweethearts - it is the drama of power, where those who are still looking for control want to find new means and ways," he said.
He acknowledged however that there were several genuine donors. The present world order, continued Archbishop Makhulu, was characterised by "plunder, exploitation and war-displaced persons". He said part of the cause was the heavy debt burden carried by sub-Saharan African countries.
Before becoming a Bishop in the Anglican Church, Archbishop Makhulu worked on the staff of the World Council of Churches CICARWS programme.
It was necessary, Archbishop Makhulu said, to question what he described as "this dubious relationship that we have with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund". He urged the financial institutions to cancel the debts owed by African countries.
The Archbishop called for an "integrated and people-centred approach to development," which would only be possible "when the felt needs of the poor are recognised by those who have the means".