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Heavy-Handed Politics

"€œGod willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world
without the United States and Zionism."€ -- Iran President Ahmadi-Nejad

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Aiding and Abetting

By Thomas Dichter

In January 2005 the United Nations issued a massive report calling for a doubling of aid to developing countries between now and 2015 to conquer poverty. This month, it is holding a summit to push that agenda. Despite the noble intent of advocating more aid, developed nations should instead consider a reduction in development assistance funding. Why? Because aid simply does not work to solve world poverty.

I say this as an aid practitioner with close to 40 years experience in developing countries at practically all levels of the international aid apparatus, including the World Bank and the United Nations Development Program.

Like many with long aid experience, I wrestled for years with the evidence of aid's ineffectiveness. For example, community projects that look good while the aid flows, but disappear when it stops; benefits captured by those for whom they were not intended; infrastructure built with aid funds falling apart for lack of a "maintenance culture"; and interventions that look good on paper but turn out to be inappropriate to local customs or beliefs. Reluctantly I have come to believe that the structure of the aid industry is itself one of the obstacles in the development process, with its bureaucracy, and its deeply embedded incentive to get money out the door, usually before the homework is done. Full story.


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