Saturday, January 16, 2010

Outside overspending...

Another sensible idea: David Cameron has outlined how some of the money intended for international aid would be used by a future Conservatives administration for a new military stabilisation force [Times]. One presumes it would be loosely based on the US approach: USAID provides "Foreign Aid in the National Interest".

Naturally some charities aren't keen: CivilSociety reports that Kirsty Hughes of Oxfam has said that the plans undermine Cameron's 'headline' commitment, a commitment to spending 0.7 per cent of gross national income on aid that all the UK main parties have 'signed up to'...interestingly Crash Gordon wants to make that commitment a law (what is it with this tosser...laws for everything: law to reduce deficit, law to reduce CO2 emissions...) However, as Caroline Boin of International Policy Network [IPN] says "Gordon Brown’s publicity stunt won’t help the poor".

"Measuring the success of foreign aid by how much we spend is ridiculous. Spending more on poorly managed programmes, or even the salaries of DfID’s civil servants, would satisfy Brown’s law—but achieve nothing for international development."

Another interesting report from IPN: "A Closer Union. The Political Abuse of Foreign Aid" [Link: PDF ] The political abuse being the channelling of Foreign Aid to the TUC; I'm sure it's all correctly accounted for...perhaps it's this portion that most interests Brown and his wish for a law.

Bookmark and Share


Paul said...

I have to disagree about USAID projects being a good thing, all they do is make the local government a puppet for Washington. The mission statement on their home page is particularly nauseating, pumping money into a country in return for votes and creating U.S fed sweatshops doesn't help anybody.

The way Coca-Cola has been allowed to expand regardless of either local economics or any sort of regulated business practice through central America I find insulting.

Sorry to be a downer on this but the whole thing stinks. You either help people or you don't.

Span Ows said...

Oh, oh...disagreement! At's not a downer Paul: we can't agree on eveything ;-)

However that's why I posted the motto "Foreign Aid in the national interest." I agree with that statement. Now this isn't always what they do...their foreign aid has done more and been more than any other country and it doesn't always come with strings attached...but when it should (have strings attached) it does. Imagine the state of Africa now if the trillions given in aid had been more controlled. It works on a national level and a small local level: in Haiti I believe most of any aid should come with strings attached; does the sight of those young, fit men and boys chasing after crates dropped from helicopters and then fighting or even killing each other mean that that particular aid with no strings did not really help? IMHO yes it does.

Re Coca cola, if they didn't want it the company wouldn't be there but I take the point re the way, in some countries, it has been handled.

Span Ows said...

P.S. As an afterthought (6 hours later), not entirely unconnected, I read this today:

"The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but to reveal to him his own."

Benjamin Disraeli