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August 29, 2007

Comments

Per Kurowski

Re: “Nancy’s view is that there is no trade-off between doing these other things and giving more aid, and that governments in the rich world can do more of everything.”

I agree but specifically from the angle of “doing these other things”, and not concentrating aid on just some issues, those currently in vogue with the donors. Special monolithic flows of money and know-how tend to des-equilibrate the society receiving the help. It is a little bit like the warnings of those special miracle diets that sure enough will help you to lose some weight fast but that can so easily come back and haunt you, with vengeance. Do no harm? Start by spreading out.

Vukani

In some instances, Relief can be loosely mistaken for Aid (Help). Can anyone clarify just how much of what is termed Aid is actually used in a form relief.

Relief i would argue serve short term purpose and i would even go as far as saying useless. I would liken relief to giving a bagger small change to get him off your site. Dont get me wrong, relief is usefull in some instances but when everybody knows that it is a short term solution.

Peter

Making "aid" the question puts the cart before the horse. From collaborative experience (between people from rich and poor countries) we have some idea of specific programs that can be beneficial in fields like education, public health, infrastructure and social development. (I have worked in the area of child labor, which touches on several of these.) No doubt the design and implementation of these types of programs can be improved, and there are also political barriers to scaling them up. But to the extent that there are financial barriers as well, some form of "aid" can do the job. The point is that well-thought-out and appropriate programs help promote well-being and development, not "aid" as such.

The reason for putting "aid" in quotation marks is that redirecting financial flows does not necessarily imply transfers. The main job is to reverse the forces that each year generate net capital flows from South to North.

Jamal Senouci

Re: “Can anyone clarify just how much of what is termed Aid is actually used in a form relief.”

It is surprising how little is left to directly target poverty reduction.

The Millenium development project estimates that 24% of aid finances poverty-targeting investments.

Official world aid per year totals $30 per African. From this small amount, $5 goes to consultant salaries, $3 for food aid, $4 to service debts, $5 for debt relief operations. the remainder ($13) is left for development aid.

Even worse US aid is $3 per person and out of that development aid accounts for just 60 cents.

An increase in the amount of development aid may help but it won't ameliorate the condition of the inefficient aid structure.
The real problem with aid, for me, is its lack of accountability, poor co-ordination between projects and its tendency to be overly influenced by foreign policies.

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