Official development assistance

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[edit] Successful example of foreign aid

Jeffrey SachsW has argued that "Virtually every country has needed a helping hand at some point. It's a rule of life."[1] Cases which have been claimed as successful examples of foreign aid include:

  • India's Green RevolutionW depended on international aid in its early years.[1]
  • Malawi, in 2007, has started a program to guarantee vital inputs for the poorest farmers.[2] "Food yields have soared, in a neighborhood of acute food shortages" says Sachs.[1]

[edit] Foreign aid in comparison to other forms of funding

Measured simply in terms of size, official development assistance is dwarfed by a number of other sources of funding, including remittances and domestic savings.

The real advantage of official development assistance, then, seems to be targeting areas of public need and strategic value which are not currently catered to by these larger aid flows.

[edit] Criticisms of foreign aid

Modern foreign aid programs (and to an extent welfare policies in wealthy nations) are often criticized for being ineffective (inappropriate solutions that end up unused) or even causing harm (creating a handout mentality, putting rich foreign aid workers in a poor context and causing envy, supporting corrupt authorities).[3] This happens through a mixture of incompetence but with good intentions, and corruption.

Critics of the aid industry include Kamal Kar (of the no-subsidy Community Led Total Sanitation program) and Dipankar Chakraborti (who led in raising awareness of the arsenic in groundwater problem, both of whom are very critical of subsidies in development. See also the insightful blog by an aid worker on these questions, Pyjama Samsara (filtered feed).

Other critics are Mariéme Jamme of Africa gathering and Dambisa Moyo[4] Dambisa Moyo argues that a campaign to reduce poverty in a developing country should be undertaken by nationals of that country, and if this is not done, it undermines the leadership of the country's leaders.

Problems with aid include:

  • This may also happen with the country's own wealth, in which case it is sometimes argued that this is a more important issue than how much foreign aid is given.
  • Aid money itself may also be subject to theft in this way. However, when the aid is given in the form of goods and services (such as mosquito netsW this is obviously impossible, or at least much more difficult.[5]

Jeffrey Sachs characterized some criticisms of foreign aid, and refuted it, saying:

there seems to be a pervasive misunderstanding, and that is that we're already doing so much, but we're not doing what they want. And this is absolutely not the case, we're doing so little, and also not what they want. That's the point.[1]

[edit] Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Reith Lectures 2007 - Lecture 4: Economic Solidarity for a Crowded Planet - BBC Radio 4.
  2. Reith Lectures 2007 - Lecture 4: Economic Solidarity for a Crowded Planet - transcript, BBC Radio 4. Based on earlier comments in the lecture, "vital inputs" refers to "high-yield seeds, fertilizers, and small-scale water management techniques".
  3. A summary of some of the criticisms, with an aid workers own responses, is given at Customer Review of The Lords of Poverty: The Power, Prestige, and Corruption of the International Aid Business by Graham Hancock - review by Sithara Batcha, May 29, 2006, Amazon.com
  4. Dambisa Moyo
  5. Reith Lectures 2007 - Lecture 4: Economic Solidarity for a Crowded Planet - transcript, BBC Radio 4. Note the exchange between Karl Ziegler (emphasizing the importance of flight capital as the key issue, rather than aid) and Jeffrey Sachs (arguing that flight capital does not negate the need for aid or the effective of aid).
  • Content which is not suitable for Appropedia can be placed at Issuepedia:Foreign aid (not created yet). Please help to ensure that links are placed between relevant pages on the two wikis.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

[edit] Bibliography

  • Emergency Sex and Other Desperate Measures,W Heidi Postlewait, Kenneth Cain and Doctor Andrew Thomson, 2004, ISBN 978-1401359669 - the memoir of three young UN workers, showing the successes and failures of UN work.