Simon Allison

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Simon Allison
Posted over 2 years ago
Can first world countries spend their overseas aid budgets more effectively?
The real question is - effective for who? International aid in its current form (with the exception of emergency humanitarian aid) has been shown repeatedly to be detrimental in the long term to the ability of developing world countries to develop systems of governance which can get themselves out of poverty. It has been exceptionally effective, however, in projecting the political power and influence of the countries giving the aid. It's no surprise that in most African countries, DFID and the FCO share premises. And, for better or worse, much aid is tacitly or explicitly tied to various conditions. Malawi is a good example of this - when the government there threatened to legalise homosexuality, suddenly the UK wanted to cut off its aid. This is not necessarily a bad thing (although it certainly can be), but simply illustrates that aid is a foreign policy tool. Another interesting development as far as the UK is concerned is Cameron's recent statement that he wants to use the overseas aid budget to fund British troops' emergency intervention capacity; in essence, using money designated for the world's poorest to fund his own army. Very fishy accounting practises there...