Friday, May 15, 2009

Should all foreign aid be banned?

EuAsiaNews reported recently that, in 2008, while the European Union officially claimed that it allocated 0.40% of its gross national income (GNI) to aid, the "real" figure might be much lower. At least that was the argument of a report by the European confederation of Relief and Development NGOs (CONCORD), which claims that, out of almost 50 billion euros provided as aid in 2008, close to 5bn euro went to debt cancellation, 2bn euro to hosting foreign students and close to 1bn euro to hosting and repatriating refugees. "Real" European aid amounted to only 0.34% of collective GNI. Javier Pereira, a spokesperson for CONCORD opined that European governments are therefore falling short by nearly 40bn euro on their aid promises.

Well, what should be counted as aid, and what should not be counted as aid, is a fine theoretical argument.

From my point of view, what really matters is: how much of whatever money is given by governments actually reaches the poor.

By all accounts, the proportion is rather small, much (or most) of it ending up in the pockets of corrupt rulers, politicians and officials.

The question therefore is: should one of the rules of the new global framework be to ban all aid that goes from donor governments to recipient governments?

Donor governments should only be allowed to give through NGOs or through their own channels in such a way that the money bypasses inept governments and their corrupt cronies in order to reach the poor themselves. Sphere: Related Content

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