At the heads of Commonwealth meeting in Uganda — where 53 states belong to the former British Commonwealth — UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown pledged 700 million pounds in development aid to the East African country. This adds to the yearly combined giving amount of $26 billion from Europe and recent substantial debt forgiveness by G8 finance ministers.

But aid, more often than not, stifles real development and industrialization in Africa. In fact, it goes further by enabling corruption and putting power in the hands of those who don’t deserve it. This isn’t merely coming from Western policy-wonks. Kenyan economist James Shikwati called for "ending this terrible aid" in an article noting that, on the whole,  aid also hurts trade. And the president of Uganda himself, Yoweri Museveni, once said, "I don’t want aid; I want trade."

Investment capital is a needed component in the fight against abject poverty. Business solutions — in the form of direct investment by responsible, rights-abiding foreign companies — will help deliver slowing economies like that in Uganda and Africa at large from the world’s worst poverty by employing native Africans, paying them relatively good money, and training them in important disciplines.

Foreign direct investment isn’t the only trick in the playbook. The burgeoning microfinance industry, comprised by for-profit businesses and non-profit organizations, will help bring small native businesses to their feet and increase the flow of accessible capital at rates comparatively good for the borrowers.

Development aid has its place — but that’s just it: it has a place. It best assists emergency endeavors by funding medical treatments and food delivery. Development aid shouldn’t be the bread and butter of money going into Africa.

Bottom line: If the world is interested in ending endemic poverty in Africa, leaders should stop sending so much aid and start encouraging more trade.