IN October this year, I attended the eighth Pan African Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Each continent holds these conferences every fourth year. The seventh Pan African Conference was hosted by the South African Red Cross Society in Johannesburg in 2008. When all the continents have had their turn, an international conference or General Assembly is held, the next one scheduled to take place in Australia in 2013. First, there is a realisation that foreign aid-based investments continue to fail to deliver the expected returns. Instead, foreign aid increases dependency and compromises local capacities to seize new development opportunities brought about by increased private sector investments in Africa. Sadly, without this foreign aid, African Red Cross Societies cannot provide humanitarian services.