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By Amit Dutt

APMCP Year 15 Online

Are countries in the first world doing enough to end world poverty? The question is hardly a relevant one. What needs to be asked is "are the poor countries helping themselves?"   I think the answer is NO - especially when you observe the widespread corruption and squandering of money in most recipient countries.  My own experience with the UN has shown that a lot of aid money somehow makes a short stop in the country it is intended to help and then continues on to Switzerland or Cayman. What can be done to improve the situation? I believe that the international donor countries must demand that a legal and regulatory framework be put in place before they donate a single penny! Countries should be assigned a foreign aid rating (similar to an investment rating) whereby they are rated depending on how well they implement and utilize the aid and how well they manage corruption and plundering. Other factors should include self-sustainability and efficiency. These would measure how well a country uses its aid to improve its soft infrastructure- an often overlooked component of long-term growth.    The better your country rates, the more trustworthy you are deemed and, thus, the more aid you will likely receive.

Another strategy that will minimize corruption is to self govern the implementation and distribution of aid. I realize that there are social implications to this latter idea (such as self esteem and morale of the recipient peoples), but I dont think these are the most important issues. In fact, Im sure that the helpless mother of a starving child in Africa would agree. Call me insensitive, but I dont think that hurting peoples pride should be a factor when they are dying of hunger and sickness.

 

Amit Dutt