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Nik Gill

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Can first world countries spend their overseas aid budgets more effectively?

On March 20th 2013, Great Britain's government firmly backed a legislation that would ensure that 0.7% (~£11 Billion) of Gross National Income will be spent on Overseas Aid.

With many skeptics feeling that this money is often wasted or better spent in more important areas, how would you like to see this money spent to change the perception that International Aid isn't effective?

Myself and Maddy Nash would love to hear your thoughts!

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    Apr 1 2013: Hello, Nik,
    I agree that there have been lots of successful cases in which people have escaped poverty. But this is exactly the thing. How do you know that they have managed to do so by the use of aid? If you started reading the book, you know that Easterly compares planners and searchers. Therefore, the situation could very well have been improved by searchers, who are driven, in most cases, by profit. I am not saying it is so, I'm just skeptical.

    Second, I know that Bono has been highly involved in charity. To be fair, I didn't know anything about that documentary, but it seems very interesting. My question is the following: why has so little progress been made for Somalia and Congo since all these charitable actions take place? Is it because, although people start all these campaigns, they are not held accountable for a failure?

    Third, to be fair, I haven't even heard of such thing as aid in the Romanian rural areas. The best thing which could be done would be foreign investment, especially in the agricultural sector. I think that would beneficiate both parts the most (both Romanian people and investors), but I'm no expert.

    Thanks!
    Alex
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      Apr 1 2013: Hi Alex!

      I think it's natural that if many initiatives are occuring at the same time, they will all want to claim any successes that follow. However, I guess one way to really know what has had the most impact is to stop some initiatives and see what then happens. I can't see this happening though as all these projects have been set up pretty much in isolation from one another and will continue to work that way no doubt.

      I have a friend who reported on the plight of those in Somalia for a good while a year or so ago so I will get back to you once I hear from him. He is much more aware of what has occurred there having lived there for some time.

      With regards to Romanian Rural poverty, this is also a subject we are just beginning to learn about too. We found this website the other day which seemed dedicated to explaining why poverty is common in these areas...

      http://www.ruralpovertyportal.org/home

      Thanks so much for your thoughts overseas aid so far,
      Nik
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        Apr 1 2013: Hi, Nik!

        I also do not see some projects stopping, so that the actual effects could be evaluated.

        Please get back at me after you talk to your friend as I am so interested in what is happening there and how/if things improve.

        Also, thanks for the thoughts you shared!

        Alex
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          Apr 2 2013: Hi Alex,

          Simon Allison sent me a message overnight as he's based in Asia now... his general thoughts are that while some countries benefit from aid, there have been major failings in both Somalia and Congo from Western efforts and this has served to hinder them rather than help them.

          He doesn't expect much more help to come from the more economically developed countries and his opinion is that there are many problems that need to be resolved within the countries themselves before they will be in a position to reach out and seek aid effectively.

          This goes back to an overlying point we have found that more economically developed countries (MEDCs) can only supply aid effectively by tailoring efforts to what each country is need of. While that remains unclear in certain countries and corruption is rife, it is maybe best to wait until conditions improve to best serve those people.

          This isn't a definitive view on what will happen in future, but more of a a hope from my friend that countries like Somalia will recover from the setbacks they experienced when initially receiving aid from Western countries. There should also be hope that the past failings of aid have not given these less economically developed countries (LEDCs) a permanently negative view on the help that they can receive from overseas.

          Thanks Alex,
          Nik

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